Bragg comes to Bertie

Published 7:29 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

WINDSOR – The 97th Civil Affairs Battalion from Fort Bragg will be conducting a training exercise in Bertie County.

Monday night, Captain Bill Adams briefed the Bertie County Commissioners on the possible exercise that will be conducted jointly in Bertie County, Brunswick County, Carteret County, Onslow County and Pamlico County.

“We go overseas and operate the civil component,” Adams said. “We do humanitarian assistance and determine where aid and assistance can best be applied.”

Capt. Adams said the training will be held January 19-23 when the Battalion deploys to the five coastal counties. The teams will conduct civil reconnaissance focusing on local leadership and local infrastructure.

The battalion will look at such things as police, fire, emergency management, sanitation, public health, public works and public education.

“At the end of the week, one of the five counties will be chosen to receive a follow up element to conduct more in-depth assessments,” Capt. Adams said. “This choice will be based on information gathered by the five teams during their assessments.”

The second phase will be held January 26-30 at the site of the county chosen. The C Company will conduct their planning process and conduct telephonic coordination with the county prior to arrival.

The final phase will be slated for February 2-6 when C Company will deploy to the selected county. They will divide into five teams and work in five different municipalities.

The conduct of the operation includes:

All soldiers will be in civilian attire;

No weapons will be carried;

No tactical vehicles will be used;

No tactical or covert training will be conducted;

Soldiers will stay in local hotels;

Teams will always conduct prior coordination for assessments or meetings, they will not show up uninvited;

Teams will obey local laws and will show the utmost courtesy to local residents and county officials; and

Units will notify the sheriff’s department and/or other designated county points of contact of their presence immediately upon arrival.

Commission Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. asked what interested the Battalion in Bertie County.

“Many of the areas we go to are coastal areas and we tried to pick geographic parallels,” Capt. Adams said. “We wanted an urban, semi-urban and rural area.”

Cherry asked if any commissioner had an objection to the training and no commissioner voiced opposition.

“It seems there is no opposition to your request,” Cherry said.

Commission Vice Chairman L.C. Hoggard III asked if the group would work with local fire departments, police departments and the like and was told they would.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry then asked if a written assessment would be provided. He was told a written assessment and debriefing would be available to the board if Bertie County was chosen for the second and third phases.

“If Bertie County is chosen, we would like that,” Cherry closed.