Tina Demers says she received no prior warning. So when her West End house began shuddering late Friday night and her neighbor’s plastic lawn furniture flew about the yard and the thunderous dark aircraft crept over the treetops, there was a moment of terror.

“Initially, I was very scared,” said Demers, 70, of 95 Harrison St.

Eventually at least two Army helicopters landed in Dexter Field two blocks away. They were part of nighttime military exercises that began around 10 p.m. in several locations around the state — including in Pawtucket and Newport — that rattled the nerves of those without prior notice.

In Providence the exercises included special operations soldiers on the ground around the Cranston Street Armory, just south of Dexter Field, and simulated weapons explosions that neighbors described as sounding like loud compression grenades.

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