Sgt. John Skipper will face a court martial on charges of making a false official statement and destroying government property, a decision made by 7th Army Training Command (ATC) head Brig. Gen. Tony Aguto.
Skipper, 27, was based in Grafenwoehr, Germany, where he was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Vincenza, Italy.
In April 2016, three humvees plunged to the Earth after coming loose from their parachutes at the Hohenfels Training Area in Bavaria during the annual Saber Junction exercises.
Skipper was reportedly responsible for ensuring that the parachutes were properly secured for the airdrop of the vehicles from a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
The incident was captured on cellphone video, and a sergeant first class who worked as an "observer trainer coach" to the 7th ATC’s Joint Multinational Readiness Center was given an administrative letter of reprimand after he was heard laughing and cursing in the video, which has accumulated more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.
7th ATC spokesman Christian Marquardt told the Army Times in July that "the reprimand addressed the unprofessional comments the soldier made during the video, and the fact that he shared the video with others, which resulted in it being posted to social media by an unknown individual."
The 7th ATC said that no arraignment date has been set for Skipper, who was charged in May. Officials have not clarified whether the incident was intentional or accidental on Skipper’s part.
The maximum punishment for negligent destruction of government property is a yearlong prison term, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a bad-conduct discharge; a ruling of willful destruction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a bad-conduct discharge and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.
Whether willful or due to negligence, the destruction, loss or damage of government property is an offense under Article 108 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, according to Stars and Stripes.