The United States Army She has thousands of weapons missing from her inventory.
Missiles, landmines and other explosives have been reported from the armed forces. Many of these missing items are categorized as thefts, with forces falsifying records to cover them up. One such case concerned a Marine demolition specialist who stole 13 pounds of C4 plastic explosives in order to prepare for a theoretical civil war.
“I had one thing on my mind and one thing only, I am protecting my family and my constitutional rights,” the unnamed specialist wrote in a statement to the authorities.
The military is taking action against these alleged thefts. Although they admitted that the number of soldiers stealing this equipment was low, they still did not want the weapons to fall into the wrong hands.
“We want the number to go to zero, so there is no loss, but that does not mean that we do not take seriously the losses that have occurred,” he said. pentagonal A spokesman for Lt. Col. Uriah Orland told the Associated Press.
Outside of theft, the report said poor record-keeping and oversight are key factors in the growing number of missing explosives and firearms. Such was the case for a criminal investigation in Quantico, Virginia, which saw canisters of explosives and detonators disappear from stockpiles.
As for specific military bases, the Associated Press received data from every service branch regarding IED thefts from 2010 to 2020. The military recorded nearly 1,900 missing explosives, mostly TNT, more than half of which were eventually recovered. . The Marine Corps data was too blurry to accurately measure, while the Air Force reported that about 50 pounds of C4 were missing. Finally, the Navy reported the loss of the least amount of explosives with only 20 grenades stolen, 18 of which were found.
For more reports from the Associated Press, see below:
In August, an artillery shell exploded at a recycling yard in Mississippi. Chris Smith was taking a break from the heat, drinking water, and chewing tobacco. Suddenly he found himself embracing his co-worker, who was bleeding profusely from his legs. The man died there.
“No reason at all,” Smith said in an interview.
Two days later, an intact shell was found in the scrap yard. The local police department said the projectile was of the type used in a howitzer, a long-range artillery weapon.
Investigating authorities suspect the shells came from Camp Shelby, an Army National Guard base about 40 miles away. Mississippi National Guard spokeswoman Lt. Col. Deidre Smith said she knew of no evidence that the shell originated there.
Federal authorities have reported that salvage thieves have targeted Shelby before. A man was injured in an explosion at his home in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 2012 when he tried to open one of 51 AT-4 anti-tank shells taken from the impact area of Shelby’s training field. Five people have pleaded guilty to the federal charges.
Explosives were found in homes and storage units, inside military barracks and along roads, even at a US-Mexico border checkpoint. These weren’t rusty war prizes thrown from grandfather’s attic. They came from shipments or military bases. Many were taken in by military insiders.
An Associated Press investigation of guns showed that poor accountability and internal thefts have led to the loss of more than 2,000 military firearms since 2010. Some of the guns have been used in civil crimes, found with criminals or sold to a street gang.
as a response, Congress The military is set to be required to submit detailed loss and theft reports to lawmakers each year.
One thing these fixes won’t do: make stealing explosives like the C4 more difficult.
Although at least two people are supposed to sign the consumption reports, it’s an honor system. If explosives were not used and they disappeared, only the thief might know. Explosives may not have individual tracking serial numbers, and plastic explosives can be easily hidden because, like Play-Doh, they can be cut or shaped.
Not all explosives lost along the way need to be reported to the army bureaucracy. These reporting gaps mean official casualties and theft numbers collected by the Office of the Secretary of Defense understate the full scale of the problem. For example, services do not have to tell the Pentagon about losses or thefts of less than 10 pounds of C4, even though each branch can have stricter internal regulations.
“The numbers are too small for explosive losses,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told the Associated Press in June.
The AP also revealed dozens of investigations into explosives conducted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Army Criminal Investigative Command, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service. In the majority of these 63 cases, the military didn’t realize any explosives were gone until someone got them back where they shouldn’t be.