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Destruction of Government Property

A 173rd Airborne Brigade Soldier is facing a court martial for destruction of government property and making a false official statement. His Article 32 hearing was recently completed by the Army. If convicted, the Soldier could face up to 15 years in confinement.

The destruction of government property offense stems from an airborne drop where three Humvees slipped from their parachute rigging and plummeted hundreds of feet to the ground. A video of the incident was subseqently published on a Facebook page that received more that one million views. The estimated damage from the loss of the three Humvees was in the neighborhood of five hundred thousand dollars.

The Soldier is being charged with the damage because he was responsible for making sure that parachutes were rigged properly for the air drop. The air drop was from a C-130 over the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany. A key question in his court martial will likely be whether the incident was due to negligence or was a willful destruction of government property. If the loss was due to negligence, the maximum punishment for the destruction offense would be one year instead of ten years for willful destruction.

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