Today’s award goes to several embarrassed members of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force.
Japan’s military officials may be feeling a bit sheepish after their troops accidentally fired dozens of live rounds at one another during a military exercise – though no one was hit by the stray bullets.
Nine members of the country’s Ground Self-Defence Force (GSDF) reportedly shot as many as 79 live rounds at one another during the military drill in northernmost Hokkaido after mistakenly loading assault rifles with the wrong ammunition.
Two people sustained minor injuries – a sergeant in his 30s and a leading private in his twenties – although to the force’s relief no one was shot by bullets during the incident on Monday, according to Kyodo News.
. . .
Bullets are typically handed to each troop just before the drill, before being loaded into their rifles, according to Kyodo News.
Confusion reportedly surrounds how such a mistake could take place as troops generally understand the difference in appearance between life and blank rounds.
There’s more at the link.
I’m still mind-boggled at this news. During my military service I had plenty of opportunities to fire ‘blank’ rounds. There was never any doubt, visually or by feel, how to differentiate them from ‘live’ ammunition. How the hell did these soldiers not know the difference? And after the first injury, why did they continue using the real stuff? Was this a case of, “Because I said so! The Army doesn’t pay you to think, private! Get on with it!” ?
However it happened, there’s egg (or should that be egg drop soup?) on several Japanese faces right now . . .