Military exercises return to Lake Jackson May 29

Published 11:46 am Saturday, May 18, 2019

Lake Jackson in Florala will be closed on Wednesday, May 29, but there’s still plenty of reason to visit that day.

The Florala Council agreed Monday night to close the lake so that it can be available for a military exercise.

Mayor Terry Holley said members of the 6th Ranger Training Battalion from Eglin will parachute from helicopters into the lake. Eglin is arranging for buses to transport troops and their families to Florala, and the helicopters will stage from the airport.

Holley said the military welcomes spectators for the exercises.

This will be the second straight year the unit has visited Florala for this training event. Last May, large crowds turned out to watch, and CSM Eric Buonopane said it made his soldiers feel really good to see the public interest.

Buonopane explained that those training at Eglin are in the final phase of Army Ranger School. At Eglin, Rangers complete the “swamp phase” of their training, which is designed to give soldiers the skills needed to operate in a rainforest or swamp. They also learn how to deal with reptiles and how to determine the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes, according to Army Ranger Training Brigade documents available online.

Rangers parachute into Lake Jackson in June of 2018.