Did dozens of military tanks arrive in San Diego on or about March 20, 2020, and does it signal martial law is coming in the following week? No, that's not true: Video posted on Twitter showing a train loaded with military tanks on a track in downtown San Diego does not mean there is a U.S. Army invasion of Southern California, and there are no indications that martial law would soon be declared in the area.
The U.S. military routinely uses the port of San Diego for delivery of military equipment destined for the nearby Camp Pendleton, which is home to Marine training, and for the National Training Center near Barstow, California, where the U.S. Army's cavalry units, using tanks, train in the desert. The tank-loaded training is headed north, out of San Diego from the port - not into the city.
The video and claim originated in a tweet (archived here) posted on Twitter under the title "Tanks have arrived in #SanDiego." It was followed by another tweet from the same account that read:
I've been hearing about the potential that we'll be under Martial Law next week ... friend sent me that video just an hour ago but I'm unsure about much else
This is what social media users saw:
Tanks have arrived in #SanDiego pic.twitter.com/j2M0WLMn3a-- Elizabeth Sanders (@gelizabeths) March 21, 2020
The original poster of the video then tweeted:
I've been hearing about the potential that we'll be under Martial Law next week ... friend sent me that video just an hour ago but I'm unsure about much else 🤷🏼♀️-- Elizabeth Sanders (@gelizabeths) March 21, 2020
A train loaded with tanks traveling north out of San Diego is not the same thing as tanks "arriving in San Diego." The person who shared the video eventually admitted that a friend sent her the video, and that she was "unsure about much else." Still, the video was viewed more than a million times over two days.
There are two major military installations nearby, where tank training is conducted: Camp Pendleton for the Marines and the National Training Center for the U.S. Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin near Barstow.