A U.S. Army soldier has been reduced in rank to the E-1 grade and given a Bad Conduct Discharge after a panel of soldiers and officers ruled he deliberately destroyed three Humvee vehicles being airdropped during an exercise by cutting the straps to their parachutes.
The issue has been covered closely by the Military Times and the site reported Wednesday that Sgt. John Skipper, a Germany-based cavalry scout, was convicted of destruction of government property and making false statements.
The event happened in 2016. Skipper was found guilty of three instances of destroying military property worth over $500 and lying.
Military officials said Silver was not a parachute rigger, but a scout who was told to help the Italy-based parachute riggers for the exercise.
Video of the incident went viral on the web, and showed the vehicles exploding on impact after they were dropped during the Saber Junction exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany.
A soldier on the ground, making the video, can be heard cheering and laughing and using very offensive language.
The video (be forewarned of offensive language contained in video):
The court-martial judge found Skipper, who was responsible for verifying that the parachutes were rigged and strapped correctly, “had intentionally cut their straps,” linking the vehicles, which can cost up to $220,000 apiece, to the chutes.
The defendant was part of B Troop, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, which is a part of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Italy.
The Times reported another soldier was reprimanded. He was the one who made the video.
Christian Marquardt, of the 7th Army Training Command, reported the second soldier, whose name was withheld, got a letter of reprimand.
“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,” Marquardt said earlier.
The three vehicles slipped through their parachute rigging and plunged to the ground. No one was hurt in the sabotage.
The military said the maximum penalty would have been 10 years in jail, a dishonorable discharge and loss of all pay.