Camp Pendleton Marines To Conduct Training In Downtown LA

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — Residents in and around downtown Los Angeles could hear helicopters or other military aircraft over the coming days as Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton train in preparation for a deployment.

The training is part of a two-week military exercise that starts Friday and extends through Dec. 16 and involves about 2,400 members of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to the Associated Press.

While residents could see as many as six military helicopters buzzing over the downtown area over the next week, raids being held at several undisclosed locations in the city will be off limits to the public for safety reasons, Capt. Brian Block told the Associated Press.

“It’s not going to look like ‘Apocalypse Now’ by any stretch of the imagination,” Block said.

Dozens of Marines will raid buildings and shoot paintballs from modified M-15s as part of the exercise, but no residents live in the spots where the pseudo-combat will take place, according to Block.

The military worked closely with the Los Angeles Police Department and notified property owners so no one will be caught off guard, Block said.

Commander Blake Chow with the LAPD’s counter-terrorism unit told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the exercise was not linked to any local or regional terrorism threat.

“There’s no terrorism threat out there that would be the reason that these exercises are being conducted, this is something that’s been kind of ongoing for a while,” said Chow. “This is one location amongst many that the Marines are gonna be kind of exposing their people to.”

Similar exercises will also take place at various California military bases, at a site near Las Vegas, and another site outside Flagstaff, Ariz., according to officials. Block said the Los Angeles portion will take place over a couple of days next week.

A notification announcing the exercise was sent out Friday morning on the LAPD’s official Twitter account.

The LAPD teamed up with military special operation forces in January 2012 to conduct multi-agency tactical exercises in the skies above downtown that included a Black Hawk helicopter and four OH-6 choppers.

At one point during that exercise, choppers were seen hovering just above the US Bank building downtown and later flying low over the Staples Center as the Lakers played inside.

Marine Corps has held similar training in recent years in Atlanta, Memphis and other cities.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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