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Marines to invade LA, but don’t panic

A U.S. Marine engages a target during Realistic Urban Training at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2014. Military units will be involved in an urban training exercise in Los Angeles, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.

ANNA ALBRECHT/U.S. MARINE CORPS

By VERONICA ROCHA AND TONY PERRY | Los Angeles Times | Published: December 6, 2014

(TNS) — Downtown Los Angeles might look like a scene out of “Call of Duty” next week, but military officials say don’t be alarmed. It’s a drill.

Military helicopters will be buzzing over the downtown skyline. Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton armed with chalk-firing nonlethal rifles will converge at undisclosed locations in Los Angeles — all in an effort to get “urban realism” training.

Military officials will not disclose exactly when the training will occur in Los Angeles, hoping to dissuade potential spectators. But they don’t want people to panic.

“The last thing we want is for people to see Marines in Ospreys and think that World War III has begun,” said Capt. Brian Block, spokesman for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

To prepare the unit for its 7-month-long deployment to the western Pacific and Middle East next spring, Marines and sailors are training Friday and through Dec. 16 at locations throughout California, Nevada and Arizona — and soon the streets of L.A. for urban military operations.

In Los Angeles, Marines will be training on how to assault a building to either rescue innocents and/or eliminate enemies.

Urban training scenarios are not found on military bases, Block said.

“We are trying to keep our footprint as minimal as possible,” Block said. “We will do everything as safely as we can.”

The unit provides “rapid-response force” operations from the sea, land and air.

“Realistic urban training allows the Marines and sailors of the 15th MEU to exercise vital skills to better prepare them for what they may face while forward deployed,” Col. Vance L. Cryer, the 15th MEU’s commanding officer, said in a statement.

“Bringing together the entire Marine Air-Ground Task Force in an exercise such as this one allows us quality, realistic training that is essential for unit readiness.”

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©2014 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
 

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