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Training facility apologizes for loud noises of ‘warfare’

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The numerous reports of gunfire, explosions and other sounds of “warfare” being heard west of Roswell aren’t posing an actual danger to civilians — but is rather an unintended consequence resulting from training members of the military in Chaves County under unique conditions.

Mark Fischer, director of plans at Matrix International Security Training Intelligence Center (MISTIC), recalls one night when the sounds were more apparent.

“The other night, it was a unique area that we were in, and it was a unique atmosphere condition, which really channeled that noise directly to the east,” Fischer said. “It was very unfortunate — we’re not happy with it. We’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Fischer told the Daily Record Wednesday the training facility has already taken additional measures to help mitigate some of the noise.

Both the Roswell Police Department and the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office had received calls from residents inquiring about the sounds.

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According to Chaves County Sheriff Britt Snyder, MISTIC trains specialized military personnel from all over the world.

“They have a group of 100 Canadian military people in here right now, and they’re using some property as a shooting range out west of town, so that’s what all the racket is,” Snyder said. “They’re shooting machine guns — they’ve got mortars — they’re doing all kinds of crazy things out there, and that’s the first time they’ve used that piece of property.”

“I’ve spoken to them to alert them that we’re getting lots of calls and complaints about the racket. They’re not really close to town — I mean — they’re over the top of Six-Mile Hill, and they’re a couple miles west of any houses, but, obviously, people are still hearing it all the way back in town.”

Fischer explained that MISTIC offers multiple training facilities that offer a real setting for members of the military and NATO allies to train.

“We’ve been doing it for quite a few years, at different locations in the state — even out of state, we support our armed forces,” Fischer said. “We do that by providing a safe environment, and role-playing, opposition forces, to help hone their training activities so they can go out and help defend us from the bad guy.

“We bring hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, last year, about a million dollars we brought in to the Roswell area through employment, vendors that we hired, property that we leased, and this year, we expect to bring maybe $2 million.

“So, we bring a lot of economic vitality to the area, and we want to continue to do that.”

The sheriff agreed that the training is beneficial for the local economy.

“It’s good for the economy,” Snyder said. “We want our businesses to have business, and they’re very upset about the racket, they never dreamed that the noise would carry that far.”

Fischer confirmed the training will continue through Feb. 21. In reference to those who have called with concerns about the noise, Fischer said he understands.

“We respect that,” Fischer said. “I guess my message would be, we’re sorry, and we will try to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

“I just hope people understand we think we’re a real asset to this part of the country, to this part of New Mexico. We appreciate the support we get from the community very much.”

Fischer said, in hindsight, he believes MISTIC could have done a better job of informing the community.

“If people would have been able to anticipate, perhaps it wouldn’t have been so shocking,” Fischer said. “‘Oh, so that’s MISTIC? Got it. No big deal.’”

Fischer said he believes next time, they’ll do a better job of communicating.

“We want to be good stewards of the environment and of our neighbors because we are your neighbors,” he said. “We live here.”

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.