A United States Army soldier at Fort Polk, Louisiana, has been detained after setting off explosives and possessing other bomb making material. Chlorine tablets were reportedly part of one explosion, with more found in the detained soldier’s vehicle.
The incident began on Wednesday, April 12th, when local residents described hearing the sounds of explosives coming from the Rosepine Training Area, a part of the Kisatchie National Forest and common training site for soldiers at Fort Polk.
Business owners in the area described seeing an anxious looking man with a military haircut afterwards inside their establishment. Shortly after the explosion and resulting fire in the training area, first responders from local law enforcement were called, and an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Polk was detained. The soldier’s name has not been released.
After locating the suspect’s vehicle on Fort Polk outside the education center, bomb making materials and chlorine tablets were discovered, prompting HAZMAT procedures. Some first responders were brought to the hospital for further evaluation after exposure to the substance, but were cleared and released that same day. The education center was closed down and blocked off as Fort Polk authorities conducted a further search.
Later that evening, the Mona Lisa apartment complex was evacuated as police searched the soldier’s residence. Residents were reportedly standing outside for six hours until they were cleared to return to their homes.
After the first search, the apartment was deemed clear. But after a second search around midnight, a pipe bomb was located in the soldier’s apartment. Members of a Fort Polk explosive ordnance disposal team along with members of the Louisiana State Police and FBI safely detonated the pipe bomb in a wooded area nearby.
The soldier remains in custody and the investigation is ongoing.
Unfortunately, soldier’s possessing explosives illegally is not without precedent. In fact, it almost occurs with regularity. In 2015, a former soldier outside of Joint Base Lewis-McChord was found with a live AT-4 anti-tank launcher in his home, which he claimed had been a “gift” from his unit as a departing award. In 2011, a soldier stationed at Fort Campbell was arrested and found with bomb making material that were allegedly to be used in a jihadist terror attack on Fort Hood.
As SOFREP reported in 2012, charges were eventually dropped against Green Beret Trey Scott Atwater after it was discovered he had C4 explosives in a backpack as he passed through airport security in Midland, Texas.
Image courtesy of the US Army