U.S. Special Operations troops were attacked and wounded by a sword-wielding suspect dressed as a ninja during a training event on September 18 at the Inyokern Airport in California, reports first revealed this week.
The Stars & Stripes first reported on the incident on Thursday after a Reddit post shared on Wednesday showed a portion of a related incident report. The incident report stated a staff sergeant Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) was taking a smoke break “when an unknown person wearing full ninja garb to include a katana sword” approached him. The man in the ninja garb asked the soldier “Do you know who I am? Do you know where my family is?” before slashing at the soldier.
According to the incident report, the staff sergeant fled from the attacker and hid in an “admin building” where he and a captain with the unit began locking all of the doors and calling police. The sword-wielding attacker reportedly began punching and kicking doors and windows of the building before grabbing an asphalt block and throwing it through one of the windows, striking the captain.
The suspect then fled and was arrested by responding authorities.
The incident report states the staff sergeant had to receive multiple stitches to the legs, where he was slashed. The captain had to receive multiple stitches to the head. Both soldiers were later cleared to return to duty.
Records kept by the Ridgecrest Police Department confirmed some of the details of the case, including the report of a sword-wielding “male subj in a ninja costume” and victims “hunkered down in a hanger wondering where help is.”
U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command spokesman Maj. Jeff Slinker initially confirmed the events described in the Reddit post did occur but said unit officials did not have any additional information to provide about the incident.
In a later statement to Task & Purpose, 160th SOAR spokesman Maj. Chris Lancia said, “We were pleased with the restraint shown by our people, and for letting the authorities handle it. Could they have done something? Probably. Would it have made the situation better? Probably not.”
While a suspect has been arrested, their identity and the motive behind the attack remain unclear at this time. It is also unclear whether the suspect is a true practitioner of the ninja arts, or just a man with a sword and a ninja costume.