U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hech
An Army infantry battalion from Fort Drum, New York, just back from Afghanistan faces lockdown while leaders and authorities search for a missing pair of night vision goggles, according to local press reports.
The unit — 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment — cannot account for a pair of night vision goggles valued between $2,000–3,000, according to a report in the Watertown Daily Times, the local newspaper for the town outside of Fort Drum.
The unit was placed on lockdown the evening of Friday, Feb. 26, after the night vision goggles were discovered missing.
The newspaper interviewed one anonymous spouse of a soldier who said many soldiers were recalled as late as 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, leading many to leave their families or find rides to the installation, as they were out drinking.
The entire battalion of about 500 soldiers spent the weekend through Tuesday morning confined to their workspaces. They slept on cots and were fed Meals, Ready-to-Eat, according to the local Fox affiliate in upstate New York.
“I can’t imagine a worse time for an accountable item to go missing than when our soldiers and families are reuniting after a successful deployment,” Julie Halpin, a spokesperson for Fort Drum, told the Watertown Daily Times.
Fort Drum public affairs did not immediately return Task & Purpose’s request for comment.
The local Fox affiliate reports that late Tuesday morning, the lockdown was lifted for most of the battalion, all except the members of Company B, where apparently the night vision goggles were issued.
So while the majority of 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, can finally reunite with their families after a four-day lockdown, the roughly 130 soldiers of Company B remain totally confined to their workspaces, eating MREs, and sleeping on cots.
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