Video from that day, recorded by soldiers on the ground, shows a patchy blue sky interrupted by the blotches of drab, olive-colored parachutes gently descending to the green fields below. The only interruption to this oddly calming scene happens at the 20-second mark, when the first of three High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles begin their hurtle toward the earth. Unimpeded by their parachutes, the vehicles’ unfortunate journeys are eulogized by jeers from soldiers on the ground.
The video contains two lines that, some might say, indicate a successful training exercise:
1.) “It’s on fire.”
2.) “Hey, do we need to call that up?”
According to the Army Times, the April 11 exercise involved dropping 150 supply bundles. During the course of the drop, three Humvees slipped their parachute rigging and fell hundreds of feet to the ground. No one was hurt, and the Army has begun an investigation into what went wrong.
“The specific malfunctions that occurred on this day are under investigation,” Army spokesman Maj. Juan Martinez told the Army Times. “There were multiple rehearsals and inspections of the equipment prior to mission execution. We cannot speculate on what went wrong until the investigation is complete.”
Humvees, depending on their armor configuration, can cost upward of $200,000. They have been in service since the mid 1980s.