Columbia County won’t be under attack for the next few days, but at times it might sound like it.
Students from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command’s Marine Special Operations School, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., are scheduled to conduct a 20-day training exercise across a five-county area that includes Columbia County and portions of South Carolina through Feb. 12, according to an email announcement from the Marine Corps.
The exercise, called Derna Bridge, will be conducted in or near Columbia County, along with the South Carolina counties of Richland, Sumter, Edgefield, Saluda, McCormick, Greenwood and Abbeville, around Sumter Naitonal Forest, the announcement states.
Students from the special operations school and about 270 service members from throughout the military, along with local volunteers, will simulate an active military engagement and could include “blank gunfire and occasional flares,” the announcement said.
“Residents who encounter any difficulties associated with this training should contact local law enforcement officials,” who have coordinated with the Marine Corps in planning the exercise, the report says.
Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said the agency has held discussions with the Marine Corps about the exercise, and said most of the operations are expected to take place inside Sumter National Forest away from populated areas.
Columbia County won't likely see any of the activities until possibly Feb. 5, when the operation is scheduled to be around the SC&G dam on the Savannah River at Stevens Creek.