Some booms people hear across the USA remain mysterious but one in Johnsonville, North Carolina has been explained. A military cargo described as being a three ton Humvee vehicle from a parachute drop gone wrong recently fell out of the sky and landed with a boom in someone’s back yard garden. The military came and retrieved the cargo which landed off course due to an early release from a C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft. The High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) was designed as the replacement vehicle for the common military M151 series jeeps. According to globalsecurity.org the final version of the HMMWV was accepted from proposals in 1983. AM General, a contract automotive manufacturer based in South Bend, Indiana, was awarded a $1.2 billion contract to produce 55,000 vehicles over a 5-year period (eventually increased to $1.6 billion for 70,000 Humvees).
A Humvee military vehicle was pushed out of an equipment transporter plane and landed in a residential area – seven miles away from the target. The three-tonne vehicle came down in an area frequently used by children to play, according to neighbours in Johnsonville, North Carolina.
It landed in the back garden of a property and between two houses, but no one was injured.
Witnesses reported hearing a “boom” as the Humvee landed, before the parachutes designed to slow its fall came down around it.
One eyewitness, Orie Blue, told NBC affiliate WRAL: “I was walking, next thing I know I see one parachute right there and then I heard a boom. I just took off, and didn’t look back.”
… Another told ABC11: “After the big bang I turned and looked and saw these big balloons coming towards the house here.
“I panicked ’cause I thought it was going to cover the house or cover me up. I didn’t know what it was.”
“This is the place where our kids play and run,” resident Shatwana Ross told WRAL. “Luckily, they were in school when this happened because that’s normally where they’re at.”
The vehicle had been dropped by a C-17 cargo plane as part of an exercise by soldiers from the Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate. The aircraft was based at Joint Air Force Base Charleston and the drop zone was supposed to be in Fort Bragg. A Fort Bragg spokesman blamed an early release at 1,500ft and said the incident was under investigation.
“A load of some kind was released early and we’re looking into how it happened,” said Michael Novogradac, a spokesman for the US army’s Operational Test Command.
Fort Bragg spokesperson Tom McCollum said: “Everything went as planned except for the early release.”
An army ground crew was sent to the scene to recover the vehicle.
A US military transport plane on Wednesday, October 24, accidentally dropped a Humvee vehicle into a rural area near the town of Cameron, miles away from the intended drop zone on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.The US Army used an Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to test a new heavy-drop platform loaded with a Humvee, Fort Bragg spokesman Tom McCollum said. He also said the parachute opened and the vehicle landed in a wooded area between homes between the Johnsonville and Spout Springs communities in Harnett County, about 7 miles north of Fort Bragg’s drop zones. The C-17 flew out of Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, the Air Force said. This video, shared on October 24, shows the Humvee being recovered on site, still attached to its parachute.
The vehicle that fell in Johnsonville was promptly retrieved by the military. Depending on armor and additions, some humvee variants may cost up to $600,000 each according to a 2011 MarketWatch article. Others put the price tag at around $220,000 each for standard models. In this case the good news is that no one was hurt, the parachutes worked as intended and there was no property damage.
The Hohenfels Incident
Years ago, in 2016, a video was released of three humvee parachute drops failing during a drill in Germany, resulting in significant damage to the vehicles and more vigorous impacts. (Video on military.com – Language warning and also on DailyMail) In this drill, three of the expensive vehicles were destroyed in two minutes.
According to a comment on YouTube regarding the 2016 event which took place over the Hohenfels Training Area, in Germany, a Sargent (1st Battalion, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Vicenza, Italy,) “was found guilty of deliberately cutting the straps to these 3 humvees” and was given a “Bad Conduct Discharge.” (See ArmyTimes) The penalty was stated as “up to 10 years in prison, dishonorable discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.” The soldier laughing in the video was reportedly given an administrative letter of reprimand for laughing about the damage.