- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Large-scale military exercises scheduled to take place in seven southwestern states from July 15 to Sept. 15 has made one famous Texan highly skeptical: Chuck Norris.

Operation Jade Helm 15 will involve roughly 1,200 special operation forces, which will train them for deployments in hostile territory.

Concerns raised by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the nature of the training exercises prompted White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to say “I have no idea what he’s thinking,” but Mr. Norris said Sunday that the exercises are no laughing matter.

“Gov. Abbot was right in writing Maj. Gen. Gerald Betty, ‘During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.’ Abbott is demanding ‘regular updates on the progress and safety of the Operation,’ said the famous actor and veterans advocate to World Net Daily on Sunday.

Mr. Norris added that the American public must “never check our brains or blindly trust, especially the government. Rather, we must fight until our dying breaths for liberty, especially when it appears those in power are trying to knock down Old Glory.”

Advocates for the training say that while the size and scope of the training is large, it is by no means a threat to public safety or civil liberties.

SEE ALSO: White House downplays concerns of military training exercise in Texas

“The terrain is very challenging and it’s going to make our soldiers sweat, and sweating in peacetime is what we want because it’s going to reduce the bleeding in wartime,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria in response to local concerns, The Washington Times reported April 29.

All four branches of the military will take part in the training, although special operations forces will wear armbands during the exercises. Operation Jade Helm 15 will take place on private and public property.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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