Just as Echo Park recovers from the barrage of Fourth of July fireworks, residents have been advised to prepare themselves for another noisy assault, this one courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps. The office of Congressman Xavier Becerra sent out an email notifying residents that a helicopter landing area near the LAPD Academy in Elysian Park will be used for training in urban combat later this month:
The Marine Corps will be conducting Realistic Urban Training by the Marine Expeditionary Force from July 8* to July 22 2011 in various areas of California, including a helicopter landing zone located at the LAPD/SWAT Academy parking lot. The appropriate approval letters from the property owner have been signed. Additionally, liaison with local law enforcement and emergency service agencies has been made and will continue during the training event.
The skies over Echo Park are no strangers to helicopters, primarily of the police and news variety. Residents have also seen and heard previous aerial military maneuvers, including sighting of a “Stealth Chopper” in the summer of 2009 that turned out to be joint training exercises between the military and the LAPD. But some Echo Park residents are already complaining about the potential for more noise from those Marine choppers, which also might be heard in Solano Canyon, located down the road from the police academy. Echo Park Patch reports the subject came up at Thursday night’s meeting of the Echo Park Improvement Assn:
Association Secretary Andrew Garsten was concerned that the U.S. Marine Corps would be using the Elysian Park Police Academy for training and that use of the helipad would create undue noise.
* Update: Capt. Roger Hollenbeck, a spokesman for the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said the flights from the “Camp Snoopy” landing field near the L.A. Police Academy won’t begin until July 14. The helicopters – including the UH1 Yankee, AH-1 Cobra, and CH 46 - will be using the field intermittently from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.and then from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The Marines will refrain from using their largest helicopters but it can still get noisy.
“They are larger and got more power than the average news chopper,” Hollenbeck said. “We are flying smaller aircraft … we don’t want to cause too much unrest among the civilian population.”