I saw this the other day over on the B-arfcom. As you can see in the video above, the guy is hanging a round at the muzzle then drops it and forgets the number one rule of using a mortar. i.e. don’t leave your hands over the muzzle. Or maybe the number one rule is don’t get hit by a mortar? Either way he broke both those rules.
Curious if he lost both the hands since it looks like two pieces of flapping skin after the oopsie, I tracked down an article about it.
“an 88M truck driver who had hauled the ammunition to the range, wanted to take advantage of this unusual opportunity. However, he had never received training on the proper steps and procedures for dropping a mortar round into a tube. In addition, he had never been provided the appropriate level of primary instruction in firing a mortar system or received a safety brief. He was given a five-minute block of instruction on how and where to hold the round and to sweep the tube upon dropping it. Just five minutes of training …
The Soldier observed a couple of rounds being dropped for additional hands-on training. Then it was his turn. He approached the tube and base plate and received his instruction from the senior mortar man. The Soldier secured the 81 mm mortar from the gunner and was told to lift the round over the tube and drop it. What followed was chaos.
The Soldier performed every step of the task correctly except one: He failed to sweep the tube. The Soldier left his hands over the opening of the tube. When the round fired, it pushed through the opening of his hands. The fins on the bottom of the ammunition ripped through his hands and caused two large lacerations, one completely splitting his right hand in half like a hoagie sandwich bun, almost amputating his thumb. The Soldier was wearing gloves, which probably saved his left hand, but he lost all functionality in his right and eventually had his thumb amputated.“
This incident resulted in a preventable Class B mishap. The major contributing factors include:
– Failure to recognize the risks involved with unqualified Soldiers firing ammunition
– Pressure to fire off every opened round to prevent a lengthy turn-in
– Failure to provide adequate training
– Failure to provide a safety brief to the injured Soldier
– Pressure to conduct a CALFEX in front of some of the top brass in the Army
There are commanders at all levels who are only focused on readiness, achieving Objective T and impressing the bosses to get that above-center-mass rating. Safety is not their primary focus. Until leaders at every echelon understand the importance of safety and implement it into all aspects of their training, mishaps will continue to degrade our readiness and impact our formations. Remember, readiness first, safety always! “
Ok. Good tip, army.mil. Safety first. Seems like they got a handle on the problem and it won’t happen again.
You know, I’m no 4 star general and have never fired a mortar, but even I knew you drop the round then run your empty hands down the tube to prevent this sort of thing. At least he didn’t lose both hands. Stupid does hurt though. I know this because I am really stupid and hurt myself an inordinate amount of times in any given week.
If you are like me and always want to see more grue, this link to the live leak version of the video has a shot of the after results at the end.