Things got choppy in Forest Park last night between 8 and 9:30 p.m. as five helicopters from the U.S. Special Forces participated in training exercises that involved landing and taking off from the village-owned property behind the Altenheim.
The City of Chicago Emergency Management Center issued a press release on their website warning residents that military personnel would be conducting mandatory training “in and around the Chicagoland area” to “prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.”
Participating were Special Operations military personnel from multiple branches of the military, said a U.S. military spokesperson, who declined to give his name. “We had some multiple tactical scenarios for upcoming mission deployments these units all have. We landed helicopters at the Altenheim,” he said.
The spokesperson declined to mention any specifics about where overseas deployments are planned.
The exercises were “not tied to the NATO visit in Chicago in any way,” he said. “These exercises have been planned since February, 2011.”
Military helicopters were also spotted near U.S. Cellular Field on Tuesday night during the White Sox baseball game.
The spokesman said the military works with local police departments for support, for example, to “close streets if necessary,” for the exercises. He said the environment of Forest Park allowed helicopter units to practice in an “urban environment.”
The mission was run out of U.S. Special Operations Command from Tampa, Fla., which coordinates helicopter trainings around the country to “meet mandatory training certifications,” according to the CEMC website.
The training in Chicago will end Friday, according to CEMC.