Soldier who went AWOL with stolen Humvee found hours away from base

Soldiers training at Fort Hunter Liggett, on July 12, 2018. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Spc. Sean McCallon)

A California-based US Army soldier who stole a HMMWV and went AWOL around the time 22 soldiers were injured by a helicopter-related accident has been captured, according to sources at Fort Hunter Liggett.

The soldier that left Fort Hunter Liggett with a military vehicle was part of the combat support training exercise that involved a helicopter blowing over a tent network on July 18, leaving 22 soldiers injured.

According to the Fort Hunter Liggett Twitter page, the soldier was apprehended by the San Mateo Sheriff’s Department on July 24, several days after the incident.

“At approx. 10AM, a Soldier participating in the Combat Support Training Exercise was reported absent without leave (AWOL),” one tweet read. “The Soldier left post with a Humvee without authorization at an unknown time. He was apprehended this evening by civilian law enforcement in San Mateo.”

Local station KSBW reported that the driver was detained without incident by the SMCSO and the California Highway Patrol at about 5:45 PM, approximately 165 miles away from the installation and around three hours worth of driving. Given that the HMMWV can’t go over certain speeds, the drive time may have been longer.

It is unknown whether or not the AWOL soldier was involved in the aviation-related incident on the 18th, when sleeping tents of the 228th Combat Support Hospital were blown down by helicopter rotor wash.

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