Students from the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command’s Marine Special Operations School, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., are in the midst of a 20-day training exercise across a five-county area that includes Columbia County and portions of South Carolina through Feb. 12, according to an recent announcement from the Marine Corps.
Most of the exercise, which involves students from the school and about 270 service members from throughout the military, has been taking place in remote areas of Sumter National Forest, but county officials had been told to expect today’s activities at the South Carolina Electric and Gas hydroelectric facility, said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
The exercise Tuesday night around 9 p.m. will include blank gunfire, said Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker in an email.
“There is absolutely no need to be alarmed,” she said. “It’s just an exercise.”
The exercise, called Derna Bridge, is being conducted in or near Columbia County, along with the South Carolina counties of Richland, Sumter, Edgefield, Saluda, McCormick, Greenwood and Abbeville, around Sumter Naitonal Forest, according to the announcement from the Marine Corps.