Military training exercise leaves residents concerned

Military training exercise leaves residents concerned

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The sound of gunfire, sirens, and helicopters circling Wednesday night left some people in Biloxi and D'Iberville wondering if the cities were under attack. Turns out it was an attack - a simulated one for military training.

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller told WLOX News Now the training took place at the old Beauvoir Elementary School on  Lawrence Street.

"It did get louder than it normally does," said Miller, going on to explain that private training companies have used the closed school for training exercises for several years.

Miller said previous training sessions were to train the Navy Seals and the U.S. Marines. Wednesday night's training was for the U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees various special operations for the Army, Marines Corps, Navy, and Air Force.

They landed some Blackhawks and some simulated gunfire," said Miller. "We didn't realize it was going to be that loud, so I can understand people wondering what was going on."

Miller said the city council approved the use of the school a few weeks ago. Wednesday night's training was a one-night session. City officials say they originally approved military training be allowed in Biloxi between April 18 and April 28, however, Wednesday night's training was a one-night session.

According to the City of Biloxi, the exercise lasted around two-and-a-half hours and involved around 20 service members.

"It's all done with the approval of the city and Biloxi Public Schools," said the police chief in an online statement. "Training of this sort has been done numerous times, even at this site, in fact, and they're usually in and out before anyone even notices.

Miller said city officials did not realize this training session would be so loud or else they would have put out an alert to residents to make them aware of the exercise. No further training exercises have been announced.

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