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Trinity neighbors in the middle of ‘Robin Sage’ gunfire, explosives

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TRINITY, N.C. -- For the past several weeks, residents in multiple counties in the area may have heard the sounds of gunfire and explosives as Fort Bragg's annual Robin Sage training was in full swing.

"It sounded like a war zone in our backyard," said Jarod Norman, who lives in Trinity. "Definitely automatic weapons, rapid gunfire, loud booms. We weren't sure if it was explosions or not. But it was definitely very close."

The Special Forces training occurs for two weeks at a time in fifteen North Carolina counties, including Alamance, Davidson, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph and Rowan.

According to a Fort Bragg Public Affairs news release,  the military runs the exercise eight times a year, once for each class of Special Forces candidates. There are approximately 100 students training at a time.

This round ran from October 13 through the 24th.

Dennis Lowery who also lives in Trinity say its like living in a battlefield.

"The windows were rattling the home. Literally, the ground vibrates, it's big. Bombs going off and you hear automatic fire. It's like you're in Vietnam,"  said Lowery.

The point of the exercise was to simulate warfare as realistically as possible before the soldiers receive their first official Special Forces assignments.

Lowery and his wife heard what sounded like bombs Tuesday night.

"My wife was hollering, 'What is that, what is that?' There was a vibrating kind of thing going on. And it was our windows vibrating because they were bombing back here, I guess," Lowery laughed.

Lowery and Norman agree the training might be startling at first, but they feel it is necessary.

"Training the military to keep people safe," explained Norman. "Wherever that may be in the world -- I definitely think that is a good thing."

Norman added, "Anytime, all the training they can get. I'm all for it. No problem with it. They're not hurting anybody or anything."

The Public Affairs office says all local public safety personnel are notified ahead of time about the exercises, both in writing and in person.

"Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares. Controls are in place to ensure there is no risk to persons or property," said the representative in a press release.

Robin Sage has operated in the imaginary land of "Pineland" since 1974. More than 200 support members are also involved. Some are military personnel from Fort Bragg and others are civilian volunteers.