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    US army soldiers roll a tyre from top of a stryker armored vehicle during a stop of his convoy in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Spectacular Blunders of the US Military

    © AP Photo / Petr David Josek
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    The US military may be one of the most powerful fighting forces in the world, but its personnel are more than capable of blundering in a truly spectacular fashion.

    Perhaps it’s caused by being in the spotlight, as such a mighty military organization inevitably attracts considerable media and public attention, but the fact remains – US servicemen possess an uncanny ability to commit headline worthy failures.

    Earlier this month, a pair of US marines decided to take a little R&R after training at the Ramstein airbase in Germany by travelling around Europe. One can only hope that the rest of the US Marine Corps have better navigation and orientation skills, as instead of reaching their intended destination – Liechtenstein's capital Vaduz – these two ended up in the German town of Lichtenstein, veering some 600 kilometers off target.

    Earlier this year, in April 2016, a US military airdrop exercise at the Hohenfels training range in Germany went south as three Humvees apparently slipped out of their parachute rigging and crashed into the ground instead of landing safely.

    It should be noted that in terms of blunders the US military logistics is in a class of its own. For example, in 2014 an AGM-114 Hellfire missile used in a NATO training exercise in Spain ended up in Cuba instead of being safely shipped home. Ooops.

    US Army soldiers load Hellfire missiles.
    US Army soldiers load Hellfire missiles.

     

    Also, in 2015, a military laboratory in Utah shipped anthrax spores to several government and commercial addresses in the United States and abroad via FedEx.

    And it turns out that up until recently Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri had employed some rather interesting 'teaching material' during Operations Security (OPSEC) training classes.

    A picture taken by a servicemen stationed at the base clearly shows a slide labeled 'Who is the Threat? Insiders' containing images of US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Ret. General David Petraeus. And who are the other people featured in this slide, you may ask? Only the two of the most famous whistleblowers in the history of the US, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, and two perpetrators of shooting sprees at US military facilities — Army psychiatrist Nidal Hassan, who shot 13 dead and injured 30 others during a mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas; and Aaron Alexis, who shot 12 and injured three during a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

    At this rate, one thing is clear – these are unlikely to be the last US armed forces’ blunders that we will hear about.

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    blunder, mistakes, failure, US military, Liechtenstein, Germany, United States
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