Unspecified military training was planned to begin earlier this week in Santa Cruz County, according to a scarcely discussed item on the County Board of Supervisors’ meeting agenda.
The item specified discussion and possible action to “support military training within Santa Cruz County from November 4th through the 14th and authorize the county manager to sign the letter.”
Citing confidentiality concerns, County Manager Jennifer St. John declined to give further details on the training last Friday when the agenda was first released to the public, and directed any further inquiries to Maj. Michael Barth of U.S. Special Operations Command.
“Unfortunately, due to the sensitive nature of the training we conduct in Army Special Operations, we will not disclose locations, times or the nature of our operations,” Barth wrote in an email. “Training outside of Fort Carson, Colo., allows our teams the most realistic environment to train and prepare for contingencies around the globe.”
He added that organizers had been in contact with local law enforcement agencies to ensure minimal disruption, and promised that more information would be available for disclosure once the training is completed.
Supervisor Manuel Ruiz, who attended the meeting telephonically, and Supervisor Rudy Molera approved the action during Wednesday’s meeting. Supervisor Bruce Bracker was not present.
After audience member Steve McEwen of Rio Rico stood at the podium to ask for more information on the military training, Molera interrupted to say there was no additional information available for public disclosure.
“It’s secured, sir. It’s secured,” Molera said.
Speaking to the NI after the meeting, McEwen said his curiosity was sparked from his own military experience.
“I’m interested in any military activity that’s going on in our area. I live in Rio Rico and get a lot of spotter planes and such atop of my house, for obvious reasons,” he said. “I’m not opposed to it, just curious as to what they wanted.”
As for the board’s response to his question during the meeting: “It’s typical,” he laughed.