Camping & Survival

Jade Helm 15—What if Martial Law Was a Reality?

Mag of Jade Helm 15 military exercise depicting Texas as a "hostile" state

There is a saying here in my great state that I relate to, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could”… and one thing I quickly learned after getting here, was brisket is barbecue, Dublin Dr. Pepper does taste better and in particular, you don’t mess with a Texan and their Blue Bell ice cream. Before I convinced my parents to join me in the Lone Star state, my dad used to tease me about liking another brand better. I always responded, “You can’t be a true Texan if you don’t love Blue Bell!” He has since come to his senses and loves classic Homemade Vanilla just as much as I do and both him and I have carried on the tradition of having a scoop—or three—every night before bed. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this… Don’t worry, I’m fixin’ to tell y’all…

This story is lighthearted and sweet until it becomes tragic.

On what now has become the darkest day of spring 2015, On April 20, Blue Bell ice cream announced an entire recall of all of its products and immediately pulled all its ice cream off the shelves. Due to findings of the listeria bacteria in the company’s “Scoops” ice cream, Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches, Great Divide Bars and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, dating back as far as 2010, it was advised to throw out any Blue Bell you had in the freezer, as well as the company voluntary recalled every. Ice cream. Product. Ever. As of this writing, Blue Bell is still off the shelves. (Testing of products in the Alabama factory began in July—meaning, the nightmare will soon be over!) I have jokingly deemed this sad state of affairs “The Summer Without Ice Cream.”

Sale ends July 28, 2019

Sale ends July 28, 2019

But when I found out that some were theorizing that the shutdown was related to the U.S. Military’s large training operation called Jade Helm 15, the joke wasn’t so funny anymore.

Mag of Jade Helm 15 military exercise depicting Texas as a "hostile" state
In the Jade Helm 15 military exercise, Texas is labeled as “hostile.” Does that sound like “routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces” to you?

Announced in late March 2015, Operation Jade Helm—which began earlier this week—is a large military training operation which will last about two months involving at least 1,200 troops spanning all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and at least seven states on private and public lands. The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) claims they picked the seven states, including Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado because the terrain in those areas match the types of terrain special forces face in the battlefield, with an emphasis on “overseas” diverse terrain. Though the military issued a press release announcing Operation Jade Helm, the training exercises aren’t completely transparent. When some plans and maps of the operation were made public, many people got speculative of what the training was all about. Texas, Utah and a very small part of Southern California are labeled “hostile” in the map. After reviewing the maps and plans, it isn’t far-fetched to think the military is practicing for what essentially could be martial law or military take-over of our country after a government overthrow or coup or similar massive civil disturbance.

Things became even more suspicious when without warning, Wal-Mart closed five of its stores in Texas, California, Oklahoma and Florida—all states slated for Jade Helm 15 operations—for at least six months due to “plumbing problems,” despite the fact none of the closed stores have filed for permits for construction. Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria, an Army Special Operation Command spokesperson who has fielded questions for months about Jade Helm now says that the Wal-Mart closings were due to labor and pay disputes. Spawned by rumors surrounding the quick closings and possibly from talk show host and Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, the citizens of Bastrop, Texas increasingly became concerned.

Is the military preparing to take over Texas?

Even Chuck Norris has something to say about it, “What’s under question are those who are pulling the strings at the top of Jade Helm 15 back in Washington. The U.S. government says, ‘It’s just a training exercise.’ But I’m not sure the term ‘just’ has any reference to reality when the government uses it.”

Operation Jade Helm 15 has become such a big deal that Texas Governor Greg Abbott called on the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm operations. In a letter to Major General Gerald “Jake” Betty, Gov. Abbott wrote, “I am directing the Texas State Guard to monitor Operation Jade Helm 15. During the Operation’s eight-week training period from July 2015 to September 2015, I expect to receive regular updates on the progress and safety of the Operation. During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed.”

It has also inspired the founder of Defense Techniques Academy to start a group called Counter Jade Helm. The group, who reiterates their support for the United States Military, will be watching and reporting on everything members see in relation to Jade Helm. The Counter Jade Helm website says, “Counter Jade Helm, aka CJH, is a training exercise for the people. In response to the military’s multi-state training, called Jade Helm 2015, citizens will participate in an unofficial fashion to practice counter-insurgency, organizational and intelligence gathering and reporting skills…The objective is not to stop or countermand the military’s training, but to practice our own skills.”

In other words, if you want to practice, assess or improve your bug-out or survival skills, Operation Jade Helm 15 is the perfect opportunity.

Soldiers standing by white buses
Is the military preparing to take over Texas? (Photo taken in Ferguson, MO during riots.)

Martial Law

Is it crazy to think that the government is training for nationwide martial law? According to Stars and Stripes, Lt. Col, Lastoria says, “This exercise is routine training to maintain a high level of readiness for Army Special Operations Forces because they must be ready to support potential missions anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice.” It is safe to assume our country’s military does in fact have a plan if Congress or the President declared Martial Law. After all, it is the military’s responsibility to be in charge during Martial Law.

The legal dictionary defines Martial Law as “The exercise of government and control by military authorities over the civilian population of a designated territory.” During Martial Law, citizens can be stripped of their basic civil rights and civil liberties, including Habeas Corpus, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, as well as the freedom of movement. Only Congress, the President or a state Governor can declare Martial Law. In the history of the United States, it has only happened on a national level once during the Civil War. However, local authorities have declared Martial Law numerous times, including after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, during the 1914 Colorado Coalfield War, the entire state of Hawaii from 1941 to 1944, Alabama in 1961 and in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. During Martial Law, there is the possibility of mandatory rationing of food, gas and other essential supplies and services, confiscation of firearms, ammo and other weapons, and forced relocations, curfews or lock-ins.

I don’t see much hope in this frightening scenario. If you are forced to leave with only the clothes on your back—good luck. Or perhaps you are lucky enough to have an excluded and extremely secure location you can bug-out to in anticipation. If bugging-in is the only option, not only do you need to have plenty of long-term food, drinking water and survival supplies stored, but a high level of OpSpec skills.

Now is the time to ask yourself these questions:

  • How secure and fortified is your house?
  • Do you have a ham radio or other form of alternative communication plan to talk with other patriots?
  • Could you survive completely under the radar?
  • Are you too open about your preps?
  • Do you have a secured/hidden location for water, food and other supplies?
  • Do you pay for everything on credit card or cash?
  • How self-reliant can you be with your current preps?
  • Do you live in a state where your firearms must be registered? Remember that in many states it is legal to buy from an individual without filling out a Form 4473.
Hurricane Katrina survivors
Do your preps include a plan on what you and your family will do during Martial Law? (Photo taken during Hurricane Katrina)

Preparing for Martial Law is scary and difficult. Even the greatest survival experts don’t have much to offer except for elaborations on making sure you have all the above suggestions covered. I wish I could close this article out on a high note, but I can’t. I haven’t quite reached for my tin foil hat yet, but I’m definitely taking this time to monitor my surroundings, pay close attention, and take stock of all my survival inventory to see where I’m lacking and how I can improve.

What is your take on Jade Helm? Are you preparing for Martial Law? Share your theories, thoughts and suggestions in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (385)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.