Local leaders and the public had an opportunity Wednesday to meet U.S. Special Operations soldiers who have been using rugged terrain around the city of Bluefield along with parts of Mercer County and neighboring Tazewell County for an intensive training exercise.
Elite teams are conducting their third training exercise in the region this week. Bluefield City Manager and retired U.S. Army Col. Dane Rideout introduced the U.S. Special Operations personnel to the public during a press conference at the Commercialization Station along Bluefield Avenue. Operating in populated areas is one of the things soldiers in such units train for. Rideout introduced Lt. Col. Kent Solheim and spoke about the exercises’ benefits to the region.
“If they can operate in Bluefield, they can operate just about anywhere,” Rideout told the guests. “And that’s not kidding. Not his unit, but another unit, within 30 minutes they were compromised in the sense that somebody knew they were there. Second thing is, they have to train someplace, and Uncle Sugar has a pretty big budget and they could spend their federal dollars here. They could send them other places, but why not Bluefield? We’ve opened up our doors and I appreciate my board of directors letting me do something a little creative and think outside the box.”