POULSBO — It is unlikely that even if they should choose a North Kitsap beach for shoreline training, you will ever see the Navy special operations teams in action.
That’s kind of the whole point.
The Navy announced it will use select areas of Kitsap County shoreline to conduct special operations training scenarios. The Navy is seeking to educate residents and obtain public feedback about the proposed training at an open house from 5-8 p.m. May 2 in the North Kitsap High School Commons, 1780 Hostmark St.
There will reportedly be no formal presentation or comment session, though Navy representatives will be on hand to discuss the proposal. Written feedback can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org until May 18. Visit www.navfac.navy.mil/NSOEA to learn more.
The training could occur on any of a number of selected areas of private, public, state and Department of Defense-owned lands along stretches of Puget Sound and the southwestern Washington coast, with permission from property owners or managers.
The majority of Kitsap County shoreline is among the potential sites, including the east side of Hood Canal, the stretch along Puget Sound from Kingston to Suquamish, all the northern beaches of Bainbridge Island and most of the eastern side of Kitsap from Poulsbo to Manchester.
This is all nothing new. According to the Navy, special operations training has been taking place in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years.
“Puget Sound, including Hood Canal, and the southwestern Washington coast offer unique conditions which create opportunities for realistic and challenging special operations training in a safe, sheltered, cold-water environment,” the training proposal reads.
Some of the specific training slated to take place in the area includes: diver and swimmer training, insertion and extraction training, launch and recovery of watercraft, unmanned underwater vessel training, over-the-beach drills (wherein trainees exit the water and advance inland while remaining hidden), special reconnaissance training, simulated building clearance training (wherein trainees conduct area/structure clearance to secure a site or engage in threat scenarios, including use of simulated munitions), high-angle climbing and rescue techniques and unmanned, low-altitude aircraft systems training.
The proposal specifically lists some activities as off-limits during the training sessions, including: the use of live-fire ammunition, explosive demolitions, manned air operations, off-road driving, vegetation cutting, digging, tree climbing or the building of campfires or infrastructures.
The intent of the training, according to the proposal, is to “teach trainees the skills needed to avoid detection, and not leave any trace of their presence during or after training activities.”