The U.S. Army Reserve made good on its promise to hold an “open house” on having some of its soldiers marching through Hayden one Sunday morning in almost full gear as part of a training exercise.
The “house” was open Wednesday night, but it was reminiscent of that old ‘60s poster: “Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came?”
A half-dozen men in camouflage BDUs showed up at the Hayden City Hall and occupied the council chamber on Wednesday night, and waited for anyone wanting to question them about an exercise last month which involved several platoons marching along neighborhood streets. As reported earlier in Spin Control, it didn’t cause much concern in town, but pictures of troops in full packs and M-16s began circulating on the Web, with some comments about how this was all a prelude to the government declaring marial law or coming to take away personal firearms.
The event was planned with minimal notice, and the good folks of Hayden either didn’t know or didn’t care. Other than someone from the Hayden city staff who let the soldiers in and out, and a janitor to clean up afterwards, the only person not connected with the military in some manner was a reporter.
And the Army Reserve couldn’t have been happier…
Major Bruce Townshend — public affairs officer for the 416th Theater Command, who had travelled from Chicago to handle the meeting — said they were ready to answer all manner of questions, up to and including whether they were, as the conservative blogs suggest, practicing maneuvers for martial law. (The answer, by the way, would have been “No.”)
They do plan to give more notice to local city and law enforcment officials for any future exercises that involve uniformed soldiers out in the neighborhoods. And they aren’t going to be carrying their weapons, in any case. (The M-16s weren’t loaded last month, by the way. Not that the average person would know that.)
Beyond that, the Army Reserve is happy to let the whole thing slip quietly out of memory, Townshend. After about 20 minutes standing around in the council chambers with no one to ask them any questions, let alon to offer up any opinions, the reservists declared victory and pulled out.