HURLBURT FIELD — For the 10th year in a row the Emerald Coast will play host to Emerald Warrior, a joint military exercise that prepares war fighters for the modern world of combat.
Scheduled for Feb. 27 through March 11, Emerald Warrior 17 will give members of the Air Force Special Operations Command the opportunity to train with a wide array of military forces.
“We’re expecting to have about the same number of participants as last year — roughly 1,500,” said Ciara Travis, a spokeswoman for AFSOC, which will host the event. “We will have participants from at least three partner nations as well as from the Army, Air Force, and the conventional Marines.”
Travis said the exercise will allow participants to take part in “advanced tactical scenarios” and to strengthen their relationships with other forces and prepare them for future deployments. This year, the scenarios will include operations involving inserting and removing troops from combat situations, direct assaults, military freefall, live-fire events and Forward Area Refueling Points, where aircraft are fueled during combat.
“The intent of the exercise is to apply lessons learned from past and current operations,” Travis said.
In addition to the activities in Northwest Florida, Emerald Warrior-17 training will be conducted at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, Melrose Range in New Mexico and Fort Knox in Kentucky.
Residents may notice more aircraft overhead than usual during the two-week exercise, and might hear live munitions fire coming from Eglin Air Force Base’s test ranges. Last year, the exercise involved the use of Seahawk and Apache helicopters, AC-130s, a KC-130, F-16s, T-45s and an unmanned MQ-9 Reaper.
“While there will be more aircraft in the skies, residents shouldn’t notice any unusual military vehicles on our roads,” Travis said. “None of those vehicles will be used off-range.”