Soldiers remain on lockdown over missing equipment – chicagotribune.com

Some 100 soldiers and unit leaders remained on a restricted lockdown for a sixth day at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state on Monday while Army investigators probed the theft of sensitive optics equipment, a base spokesman said. The missing gear includes hundreds of night-vision goggles and missing weapons accessories worth about $630,000, said Major Chris Ophardt, a spokesman for the U.S. Army’s I  Corps at the base, about 9 miles south of Tacoma.

Ophardt said base confinement is an extreme measure 0f punishment meant to elicit information.

via Soldiers remain on lockdown over missing equipment – chicagotribune.com.

First, I hope that MAJ Ophardt was misquoted. I’d expect a field grade officer to realize that punishment may not be imposed without  action under the UCMJ.

Restricting a unit to barracks is a perfectly normal, and perfectly legal step to take during the investigation of missing equipment.  My company returned from Pinon Canyon training one time for a weekend break. We’d left the vehicles there, but returned with all our weapons, optics and sensitive items. Well, almost all. One of the other platoons somehow managed to leave a Dragon missile night sight behind. It was locked up in its Bradley, but no one was going anywhere until we had it in hand, and secured in our company arms room. So off went the absent minded soldier, and his platoon sergeant in the CO’s Humvee. A five hour round trip later, the night sight was accounted for, and locked up with the rest of our gear. And we finally were released for the weekend.

Thankfully, I’ve never been part of a unit that lost a weapon, but it’s not unheard of for a company to spend up to 30 days under lockdown until the weapon is recovered.

Via War News Updates. 

8 thoughts on “Soldiers remain on lockdown over missing equipment – chicagotribune.com”

  1. My former son-in-law’s unit at Fort “Stupid” (Stewart for the uninformed) spent 6 days in hack at the motor pool when an M-4 went missing. One absent minded Spec4 misplaced it and it took awhile to find it.

    They found it packed in his TA50 in his Engineering Vehicle that he was forced to sleep in while they were restricted. That was one hot Battalion when it was over. My daughter was reduced to smuggling cigarettes to a number of senior NCOs and her husband during the ordeal.

    Such things *are* normal when sensitive items are lost in the military.

  2. Ahh, lockdown. Always fun. Also at Fort Stewart, we got locked down while in civvies over a missing PVS-4 from HHC (later recovered from a trash dumpster in downtown Hinesville). I don’t recall why we were in civvies. My platoon sergeant called home to get his wife to bring him a uniform and she somehow managed to grab two left boots which he actually managed to squeeze his right foot into but it sure looked odd! Lockdown turned out okay. Not only did the company get their site back but the whole battalion knocked out hours of mandatory training… (there is always a silver lining).

  3. An empty pubs locker was being transported without a guard from Forrester to Kinser, not a big deal. The driver got into an accident, and he was closer to kinser than to forrester, so we were gonna send out a driver to pick up the safe, thing is that once we took posession, it was a security asset. Our SNCOIC came to the barracks to find someone to escort the safe back to the vault.

    Everyone who worked in the vault were my friends so everyone was in my room. we were all drinking, but it was early. “I need one of you to pick up the safe.” One friend, “I’ve drank a little too much.” and the rest of us never got our pistol qual, so the only person who could escort that commsec asset was my SNCOIC, and my PltComm.

    Only time I didn’t regret not having my pistol badge.

  4. Wow. Glad I was not in the Army. 21 years in the Navy and I never heard of something like this. I have seen the ship locked down for a couple of hours during a drug investigation or liberty secured for the crew because of an upcoming inspection, but not for six days becasue some piece of high value equipment was missing.

    You are of courese correct in that punishment must be awarded at NJP or courts martial. Anway how can “hundreds” of night vision goggles turn up missing all at once?

    1. All of our high-value gear was bolted down. If an SLQ-32 could fit in a pocket … I’m just sayin’ …

    2. Our optical equipment were the only things I had to worry about sprouting legs. Even then a sextant isn’t likely to walk away as very few know anything about what it does, or how it’s used. We had a first gen starlite scope for the flying bridge which we got out exactly once, looked through it, said “wow, that’s kewl,” put it away and never got it out again until we turned it in in NORVA 6 months later.

      When I was on Courtney, we had a couple of Garands on the bridge (this was ’72-73) with 4 clips of ammo. That was just SOP as it was unlikely we would have anything we needed to shoot.

      When we brought the ship back to decommission here, we burned up quite a bit of ammo and pryotechnics just to play so we would minimize the amount we had to turn in. Did you know it’s pretty hard to shoot down a parachute flare? Or shoot a flying fish? The Boatswain’s Mate of the watch and the Captain each bet a case of Chevas Regal on who could shoot more flying fish. The Captain lost 🙂

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