The Special Forces Qualifications Course known as Robin Sage took place at the Elizabethtown Airport, where trainees engaged in a simulated combat scenario in the fictional country of Pineland. The two-week exercise, held four times annually, is the culmination of the training held by the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Various volunteers and veterans, such as Harnett County military veterans Patrick O’Kelley and Bert, took part in the exercise, enhancing the authenticity of the training scenario.
- Robin Sage, which began in 1974, serves as the final test for the Special Forces Qualifications Course and simulates operations in a fictional country named Pineland.
- For this particular exercise, about 16 different teams trained across 30 counties in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
- Veterans and volunteers, including O’Kelley and Bert, took on the roles of opposing forces. O’Kelley, a seasoned Army veteran, and Bert, who retired in 2011, became involved in the exercise about four years ago.
- During the exercise, if candidates couldn’t exit an area within 10 minutes, O’Kelley and Bert would intervene with O’Kelley’s British Ferret armored car, aiming to simulate the real pressures of guerrilla warfare.
- Throughout the Robin Sage exercise, candidates learned about unconventional warfare, team cohesion, planning, and other specialized skills essential for Special Forces operations.