An army spokesman confirmed on Tuesday that a soldier struck an Apache helicopter during an OPFOR training scenario.
An OPFOR, also known as opposing force, is a military unit tasked with representing an enemy force during a training exercise to make it seem more war-like. The soldier was supposed to be firing blanks at the helicopter during the training exercise in Fort Irwin, California.
“The soldier, with 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, was augmenting the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment for the exercise,” Fort Irwin spokesman Ken Drylie said, ArmyTimes reported. Drylie then confirmed that the incident occurred last Friday.
There are two training situations at Fort Irwin and one of them requires blanks while the other requires live ammunition. In the phase of training where the incident occurred, no one is allowed to have live ammunition.
An investigations is currently underway to figure out how the soldier was able to come across live ammunition.
Luckily, no one was injured in the incident and the Apache only received superficial damage. Drylie said that the Apache was hit with “about four rounds,” and then was quickly grounded as a part of a full stop of the training exercise, which is standard procedure.
ArmyTimes reported that Drylie said there was one live round left in the weapon used to shoot at the Apache and the blank fire adapter was blown off after the first live round was shot. The following rounds were heard and a cease-fire was called.
Army Criminal Investigation Command found that there was “nothing criminal in nature” about the incident, according to CID spokesman Chris Grey via an email.