Monday, October 19, 2009

Hey, You Want This Thing Back Or Not...?

This is what happens when you try and do the right thing!

This story came right out of the Houston Chronicle...believe me, I couldn't make this stuff up!

By JOHN TEDESCO San Antonio Express-News

Oct. 15, 2009, 9:24AM

John Tedesco San Antonio Express-News

Jarrette Schule found an old missile launcher on his rural property in Comal County near San Antonio.

Jarrette Schule was cutting down trees on his rural property Tuesday in Comal County north of San Antonio when he noticed a green metallic tube on the muddy ground.

“I had never seen it before,” said Schule, a 34-year-old Web developer. “I looked at it, and it kind of looked like a missile launcher.”

Schule took a closer look. It was a long, forest-green metal tube. A decal on it read: “Guided Missile and Launcher, Surface Attack.”

The discovery was the start of a surreal journey for Schule. Somehow, an unarmed anti-tank weapon — or a very good fake — wound up on his land at Beck Road and Kirk Lane in the Hill Country, miles away from a military installation.

The launcher was deep in the wooded property far from the road, in an area he was familiar with.

“I don't know if it fell out of something or if somebody just dumped it,” Schule said. “There's some crazy whitetail hunters around here. Maybe they're going overboard?”

Schule's property in Comal County is vacant, and he didn't want to leave a missile launcher unattended. So he loaded it in his truck and took it to his house in the North Side neighborhood of the Ridge at Lookout Canyon.

Touching and moving the launcher was a mistake, even if it was unarmed, a spokesman for Fort Sam Houston said. Old military ordnance can be dangerous.

But Schule spent Tuesday afternoon calling the FBI, Homeland Security, the Sheriff's Department — every agency he could think of. He was stuck in a bureaucratic limbo.

“Everyone was handing it off to everybody else,” Schule said.

He was surprised at the amount of work it took to get the military to pick up its lost missile launcher.

Schule initially was nervous when he found the weapon. But as the hours passed, he did what most guys would do — marvel at the mind-blowing awesomeness of finding a missile launcher. He posted photos on Facebook and called his buddies, saying: “Guess what I found?”

Schule called the military police at Fort Sam. But their jurisdiction doesn't extend off the post. Schule's information was passed along to an Army criminal investigator, who visited Schule on Wednesday morning — about 19 hours after he started making phone calls.

The special agent walked into the house and saw the launcher sitting on the dining room table.

“She said this is the first time she ever encountered anything like this,” Schule said. “I got the impression it was kind of a big deal. Doesn't happen every day, I guess.”

The decal on the launcher has a 13-digit “National Stock Number,” which is used to identify military equipment. The stock number is a match for launchers that fire Dragon surface-to-surface missiles, according to a database maintained by the U.S. Defense Logistics Information Service.

The launcher was built in December 1996. The Dragons, first manufactured in the 1960s, last were used in combat in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. They were replaced by the Javelin missile system and finally discontinued in 2006.

Military officials were unable to say Wednesday who last had the launcher and when it was lost. The launcher has a serial number that can be used to track the chain of custody. That will be part of the military's investigation, said Phil Reidinger, spokesman for Fort Sam.

At Schule's house, he and the Army investigator had to wait for about three more hours for an ordnance disposal team from Lackland AFB to confiscate the weapon.

The team arrived at about 1 p.m. Wednesday and retrieved the device, ending a crazy experience for Schule.

“I thought just driving down the road, someone would just know that I had a missile launcher in my truck,” Schule said, laughing. “You think that way about the government.

“But really, you have to make an effort for them to come get their missile launcher.”

Now, probably what's going to happen is that this poor guy will be found to be one of those "domestic terrorists" we keep hearing about! At the very least, you just KNOW he made every major watch list the government has!

Maybe he should have just kept it and sold it on Ebay, ya reckon?

Now, let's get some coffee and sit outside in the cooler weather, my friend...we can discuss how the military can manage to lose one of these things! Gee, I feel secure...don't you?


Kyddryn said...

Good grief, Mister Hermit, sir...this is hilarious and frightening at the same time!

Shade and Sweetwater,

HermitJim said...

Hey K...
Sort of rattles your faith in the prompt action of the people that should be interested, doesn't it?

The poor man was, after all, just trying to do the right thing! Red tape just never ends, I guess...!

Thanks for coming by this morning, Lady K...!

Wyn Boniface said...

People buy this crap in surplus all the time. You should see inert ordnance forums.

Did it MY way said...

Put a dummy next to it in a uniform, and ride around in the pick-up. I bet the response would be sooner...wait a minute..all the dummies are in government already.

See Ya- coffee time

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. They'll get rid of the guys he called. They'll be transferred to the healthcare dept.

Enjoy the coffee and cool weather.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. They'll get rid of the guys he called. They'll be transferred to the healthcare dept.

Enjoy the coffee and cool weather.

Ben in Texas said...

I don't know how you find all these great stories, and links, But , thank you!!! Again, I am posting a link from my blog to yours this morning. Well done in finding that story.

Anonymous said...

What a way to start your day though...sheesh.

Funny post!

Ken said...

...kinda makes ya wonder huh?...these are 'the only ones' we keep hearin' about !?!?...i feel safer already...

JoJo said...

Good Morning Special One, I am not surprised by the trouble he went through. He should have used it for yard art, then they would have come running.
So it is cooled down on the patio? Great they are telling us this is the last day for the 90s we should start cooling down again.
So lets enjoy your patio for coffee.

HermitJim said...

Hey Wyn...
I didn't know you could get these i surplus! That idea alone is a bit unsettling, isn't it?

Hey, thanks for coming by!

Hey Tony...
Want one of these to take to the range next time you go? That would make short work of a paper target, I think!

So THAT'S where they all wemt! Should have known...!

Thanks for coming over today, buddy!

Hey Kris...
The cooler weather is pretty nice, isn't it? I'm gonna enjoy it while I can, for sure!

Thanks for coming over today.

Hey Ben...
I'm glad you like the story...and more than proud to have you post a link to my neck of the woods!

I sure do thank you for stopping by today! I appreciate it!

Hey Ranger...
Probably would do more to wake you up than coffee, if you know what I mean? I can't imagine finding one of these in the woods!

Only in Texas, my friend, only in Texas!

Thanks for the visit today, Ranger!

Hey Ken...
Wonder what else is missing that we don't hear about? I think security is out the window!

Thanks for the visit, mu friend!

Hey JoJo...
I am enjoying this cooler weather, for sure! It's a good way to enjoy the morning coffee, without a doubt!

I'm so glad to see you this morning, sweetie! Thanks for coming!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

I don´t think I would recognise a missile launcher even it stood printed on it :-) :-) Strange that it was so difficult to get rid of it?!
Yor´re right, he should have sold it on Ebay :-) :-) :-)
Have a great day now!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
No one must have wanted to admit that one could get lost! Poor guy had to go through a lot of red tape, for sure!

Hey, thanks for the visit today!

Dragon said...

It's a Dragon anti-tank missile launcher...It's basically a scaled down TOW. 11-bullet stopper MOS
inert training model...
You can get them at about any surplus outlet...
They sucked, were heavy to carry and were generally know to dragon gunners as a death sentence...Thats nothing , someone in Fla. traded in a TOW missile tube for reboks during one of those weapons collection drives. The tube was worth about 3 pair of reboks.
TOW stands for tube launched optically tracked wire guided missile
that was an 11 Hotel MOS-Heavy anti-armor weapons crewman. Wait till the DHS boys catch up with the jack a$$ who stole my inert ordinance collection. I had frags from every country in it and some of the were quiet rare. I had to demill half of them myself.
Around here that thing would have brought out the swat teams from 2 counties and The Local EOD.

Dragon said...

I just recalled seeing one for sale at the local gunshow...It was too expensively priced for a fiberglass tube and bipod...they are non-reloadable. I called them a death sentence because your target could dust you before you finished him...You would be better off with an AT4. You don't have to keep a track on the target with one of those like you did with the Dragon.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dragon...
Thanks for the information! I guess what both concerned me and seemed strange, is the apparent lack of concern by the authorities that this might have been something dangerous.

If he had been quiet about it, thay probably would have swarmed all over him!

Sort of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Hey, thanks for passing on the info...and for coming by!

Anonymous said...

what u do is wrap that thing up, and set it in front of someones house you dont like wait across the street and watch them unwrap it and touch it. call homeland on them anonymously and watch as they get a free gitmo vacation.

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 6:49...
Now that's an idea that I had not thought of! Might just work, too!

Thanks for the visit today!