Special Forces cancels exercise here, budget
cutback cited as reason
Carbon County residents won't have to worry about seeing U.S. Army Special Forces parachuting into areas of the county for a training exercise. It was canceled late last week.
Nick Tatton, Price City community director, said he received a phone message on Friday afternoon informing him that the training exercise had been canceled due to budget cuts and other factors.
The exercise would have seen of a number of Green Berets parachute into Carbon County and others including Emery, Sanpete, and Sevier for exercises that help freshen their skills. The training includes non-battlefield tactics such as covertly cultivating relationships with citizens in the area and training resistance forces trying to liberate themselves from oppressive governments, according to Col. Robert Dunton, a special projects officer for the Utah National Guard. The Guard was helping to organize the training exercise.
Areas in Utah including Carbon County were chosen because of its desert and mountain terrain which were thought to be places that soldiers would benefit the most from working in. Other factors in picking certain areas to do the exercise included working in areas dominated by religious faith.
When Dunton presented the information about the exercise to the Price City Council last fall, council members welcomed the idea of having soldiers come to the area to train. Price Mayor Joe Piccolo said the city's close relationship with the National Guard was a key part of the community and suggested that the council and the city was willing to help out in whatever ways they could.
"I hadn't heard anything the exercise being canceled until this morning," Piccolo said during a phone interview early Monday morning. "I'm shocked to see that happen because we were in full support of helping them (Green Berets) out in any way we could."
The exercise was originally scheduled to take place in July but Tatton said it was moved to early June so the training would not interfere with community events, including International Days.
The training exercise was not entirely welcomed in other areas. A group of residents in Manti brought up several concerns to their local city council last week with some fearing that the exercise would scare members of the community and possibly be training to simulate a takeover to impose martial law.
While some residents in Manti may have been concerned about the possible plan, Piccolo said he didn't think the exercise would have caused problems in Carbon County.
"Nope," he said, "not at all."
In fact, Piccolo and Tatton both agreed that the exercise would have provided a benefit to the local economy and helped residents learn more about the training that Special Forces go through to better protect the country.
"It would have had a fairly substantial impact on the community," said Tatton noting the supplies, fuel, shelters and many other things the Green Berets would have needed from local businesses and residents.
While the exercise may be canceled for now, Piccolo said the city would welcome the opportunity to host troops for a training exercise in the future.