The internet has been showing videos of three HMMWVs burning in after equipment failure to the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany. If you haven’t, here it is…
Yes, it IS hilarious to watch. However, plenty of other equipment on the heavy drop made it to ground just fine.
Initial signs point to strap failure as the one paratrooper I asked about it said that the trucks were rigged by completely different rigger teams. This makes the case of getting a bad lot of straps a pretty high possibility. The 15-6 investigation will take some time though, and if it comes back that any rigger was negligent then the cost of the equipment lost may be partially recouped from that poor bastard’s pay.
The point that everyone seems to be missing is that the 173rd jumped in, to fight an OPFOR armed with tanks. Think about that for a moment, the 173rd is training to jump into an area, with no reinforcements beyond their organic brigade assets, to fight a mechanized battle group.
Had those three HMMWVs not burned in, more people might be talking about how interesting that is. As it stands, the Sky Soldiers took the loss of equipment in stride and continued mission. And yes, they had a hard rotation (the OPFOR at Hohenfels don’t pull punches, they want to win just as much as anyone). But the lessons learned in Germany will be pushed back to Fort Bragg, and Alaska, and you should expect this type of training to become the norm for our airborne brigades. Jump in with what you’ve got, and fight tanks. I expect that this will happen again at NTC and JRTC in those environments, and that the lessons learned in being the ground force for a Joint Forced Entry operation will get relayed to the Air Force and Navy so that they can refine their training requirements to ensure that a pissed off 19 year old paratrooper has the joint firepower on call to keep the fight going forward as he wears the same pair of socks for a week on end because he chose to hump more ammo, batteries, and chow instead of creature comforts.
The Bayonet Brigade did something that we haven’t seen in a long while. And yes it’s hilarious when a truck burns in (the old joke goes, “everything is air droppable….once”) but in the grand scheme of things, the hundred thousand dollars in lost equipment is a drop in the tens of millions of dollars spent on the complete training exercise. Money well spent in my opinion.