Special forces units from across the globe descended on Tampa, Florida Wednesday in a large-scale training exercise.
The special forces units conducted a mock rescue mission on a large yacht docked near the Tampa Riverwalk. The event was the featured spectacle of the Special Operations Forces Industry conference, which took place Monday through Wednesday of this week.
Operations began quietly enough, with a team impersonating opposition forces raiding the Starship yacht at 1:30 pm. Tampa’s citizens were likely none-the-wiser, that is until the show went into full swing with dozens of operators assaulting the ship via helicopter and speedboat — firing hundreds of blanks from their weapons all the while. The city’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn played the role of a captured hostage.
After the rescue team swept the ship and secured Buckhorn, they brought him aboard one of their rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB). There, they allowed him to squeeze off a few rounds on a forward-mounted 50-caliber machine gun.
“You can never really appreciate what they do every night when they’re deployed, doing the work we’re incapable of doing for ourselves,” said Buckhorn to Tampa Bay’s local fox affiliate, “and they’re the best in the world.”
Tampa Bay is home to the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM), the organization responsible for all U.S. special operations forces.
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