NATO’s biggest war games in 13 years hit a speed bump in Portugal this week, with hovercrafts and Humvees embarrassingly getting stuck in the sand. The incident happened during a training exercise as journalists watched.
It all began when two hovercrafts were released from the USS Arlington amphibious transport dock. They were unable to make it to shore as planned, and managed to do so only on the second attempt, El Observador newspaper reported.
An order was then given to release two Humvees, which also got bogged in the sand. Troops were ordered to assist in freeing the vehicles, but they simply sank deeper. Video footage shows tires spinning as a group of soldiers attempts to release one of the Humvees from the sand.
Despite the obvious setback, NATO representatives put on a professional demeanor, implying that the experience was a positive one for the troops involved.
A NATO amphibious vehicle arrives to the seashore during a NATO military exercise at Raposa beach, near Setubal, Portugal. © Rafael Marchante
A NATO amphibious vehicle arrives to the seashore during a NATO military exercise at Raposa beach, near Setubal, Portugal. © Rafael Marchante / Reuters
US Marine Corps Lt. Col. Eric Hamstry said, as quoted by El Observador, that the Marines did a good job and the exercises became a great opportunity. He added that when cars get bogged in the sand, the Marines will now know how to get them unstuck.
The training exercise took place in the Portuguese city of Grandola on Tuesday. Several media outlets were invited to observe the drills.
NATO’s massive Trident Juncture 2015 exercises are the biggest war games to be hosted by the alliance since 2002. A total of 36,000 international troops from 30 countries, including non-NATO nations, are involved. The drills are taking place at sea, in the air, and across the territories of Italy, Portugal, and Spain.