In the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit central Indiana this week, including one that greeted a contingent of Marines from North Carolina newly arrived at Camp Atterbury, we Hoosiers seem to have missed an important question: Why are U.S. Marines training for urban warfare on the streets of Indianapolis?
U.S. Marine helicopters will land at the old Eastgate Consumer Mall, Brookside Park and other Indianapolis locations when the city becomes a mock battlefield next week.
About 2,300 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will conduct urban warfare training from Wednesday through June 19 in and around Indianapolis.
Most of the troops will be deployed at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the Raytheon facility on Holt Road, said Debbi Fletcher of the Indianapolis/Marion County Emergency Management Agency.
“We don’t want anyone thinking that there’s an invasion happening or that we declared martial law or something like that,” Fletcher said.
No, we wouldn’t want that. But again, the question needs to be asked (bearing in mind that I believe in a strong military and strongly support American soldiers and their families): Why are the Marines training inside a U.S. city? How many American-style malls are in Baghdad?
Are these exercises to train our soldiers, or to train civilians that it’s normal to see armed soldiers in our cities?