The summer military training exercise called Jade Helm 15 begins today. The exercises are common and extend across seven southwestern states. In Texas, it consists of about 60 soldiers and two Humvees near Bastrop.
The announcement of the training several months ago lead to conspiracy theories, mostly on the Internet, about President Obama planning to instigate martial law and confiscate firearms from citizens.
Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus is working to calm nerves.
"I don't expect a bunch of people to show up to protest. I don't expect to see tanks riding down the street," he said. "We know they stand between us and harm's way. We know that training is necessary for them to do an effective job. We wanna support that."
Some have accused Governor Abbott of fanning the flames by calling on the Texas State guard to monitor the military activities. But Abbott claims the guard is serving as a communications facilitator to give his office updates.
Civilian volunteers say they'll also shadow military movements.