Marine Corps urban training in Phoenix spotted in Paradise Valley

(file photo)

Paradise Valley residents were surprised to see and hear dark, military-grade aircraft hovering around the mountains in their quiet neighborhood on a Saturday night.

A Paradise Valley Independent reader wrote the publication early Monday morning, describing helicopters circling over the Town of Paradise Valley for nearly two hours between 9-11 p.m. Saturday, March 10.

“It was really loud and many residents were nervous not knowing if it was the police searching for an intruder or what,” resident Karen Monson wrote.

Local police officials say the helicopter can be attributed to United States Marine Corps units conducting training in the Valley, although Paradise Valley Police Department wasn’t aware of any training specific to their town.

“I don’t know much about the incident, but I did have an officer report to me that he saw two military-looking helicopters circling around Mummy Mountain about 12 times on Saturday close to 2100 hours,” PVPD Lt. Freeman Carney said in an email.

“The helicopters were flying low and did not have lights on. It is unknown what they were doing, I do know that the military has been doing some night training around the Valley as I have seen them near my house in the west Valley. I did not see a call for service generated on the incident.”

According to Scottsdale Police Department officer Kevin Watts, Marines with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit were conducting “Realistic Urban Training” in the city of Phoenix.

“Marine Units were conducting training in the Valley last week in preparation for future deployment,” Mr. Watts said in a Wednesday, March 14, emailed response to questions. “Though none of the training was conducted in Scottsdale we did have aircraft fly over the city at different times. This training was announced and covered by most of the Valley media outlets last week in an effort to notify the public.”

Mr. Watts forwarded a notice provided by the Marine Corp. Public Affairs office:

“Marines with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit are conducting Realistic Urban Training in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. This training allows them to build proficiency in training in unfamiliar, urban environments as they prepare for their upcoming deployment. The training will be conducted in a precoordinated site in the city of Phoenix and will include use of various aircraft such as helicopters and tiltrotor aircraft, residents may experience and increase in noise from the hours of 10:00 pm to 1:00 am on Saturday, March 10.”

News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be reached by e-mail at or follow her on Twitter at

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