Grice Connect has been receiving messages from followers concerned about low flying military aircraft in the Brooklet and Stilson area over the past few months. The first inquiry was on April 15, 2021. At that time they were filming a movie at the Statesboro airport. As part of that filming, they were also filming flight formations using military aircraft.
Our assumption was this was the reason for the low flying aircraft. However, the calls and messages have continued and sightings have increased since the filming ended.
We reached out to Brooklet Mayor, Joe Grooms and he did confirm seeing the aircraft which he described to be Apache and Chinook helicopters. He had also received inquires from citizens in the Brooklet area. He assumed it was training missions and was not alarmed by the sightings.
No Reports Received by 911 or BCSO
Sheriff Noel Brown was not aware of the sightings and also checked with Bulloch 911 and they had not received any calls regarding the military aircraft. Sheriff Brown did want to encourage citizens to call 911 to report any suspicious activities or situations like this that alarm them or seem out of the ordinary. These calls will allow deputies to respond while the activity is occurring so they can make a report. With these reports, Sheriff Brown can then make formal inquiries to military representatives. He reminded citizens if you See Something, Say Something.
Eyewitness Accounts and Video Helped
Monday morning students and faculty at Southeast Bulloch Middle School saw the helicopters near the school. One of them was able to video the helicopters. They shared the video with us.
Grice Connect sent the video and eyewitness accounts over the past few weeks to Kevin Larson, Chief, Public Communications officer at Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield.
Mr. Larson confirmed that these are indeed military training missions conducted by the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade with their new Apache helicopters from Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield.
“The Statesboro and Brooklet area are outside of our jurisdiction in terms of air space. However, the new Apaches the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade recently received have been conducting instrument flight rules operations to areas throughout the southeast, including Bulloch County,” said Kevin Larson, Chief Public Communications. “The flights are routine training flights and not part of any bigger exercise.”
Mr. Larson has requested the airfield operations team to send a message to the safety and standardization officers of the 3rd CAB, the 3-160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the Georgia Army National Guard with a reminder of their Fly Neighborly commitment.
The Fly Neighborly program requires pilots to operate about 500 feet over populated areas. The airfield operations team will also remind the pilots at the safety council and aviation executive summit of the correct procedures when flying over populated areas.
Fly Neighborly is a voluntary noise reduction program that seeks to create better relationships between communities and helicopter operators by establishing noise mitigation techniques and increasing effective communication.
Report Concerns in the Future Directly
In the future, anyone that wishes to report an aircraft or noise complaint can do so by Mr. Larson directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mr. Larson asked that we share his email for citizens to have a direct way to contact him if there are further concerns.