A static display helicopter was reported stolen at Fort Hood, Texas, following the long weekend, sparking social media posts and even an quick investigation by Army Criminal Investigation Command, but officials said Friday that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
After looking into the incident, Army CID special agents determined the light helicopter was simply moved for scheduled maintenance.
“The out of service, demilitarized, display helicopter was initially reported stolen, but after further investigation, it was determined that the OH-6A was not stolen and was never out of Army control,” Army CID spokesman Chris Grey said.
“It was moved from one brigade to another to execute a contract to repaint the helicopter for future display," Grey added.
A Facebook post from a private group focused on Little Bird helicopters was shared over the Army Reddit forum with a U.S. Army WTF Moments watermark, indicating it was shared there first. The post called for assistance in locating the missing OH-6A Little Bird helicopter.
Pressure from Saudi Arabia to increase pilot training led to an Army aviator being rushed through qualifications and ultimately dying in a crash.
A separate post on the same Reddit forum included a picture of the missing aircraft on the back of a truck bed with the caption “Little Bird has been found," closing the mystery once and for all as the rogue OH-6A arrives for its paint job.
The tail number mentioned in the posts for the missing aircraft was 65-12962. That number is listed on aircraft heritage websites as being last located and photographed at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum on Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Several soldiers browsing the Reddit forum did have the right idea early on in the case.
“I have a feeling no one stole anything, and this was scheduled to happen but someone in charge of it forgot or lost the paperwork for it,” wrote one user’s account.
“Occam at work,” a separate account added in a reference to Occam’s razor, a problem-solving principle that essentially means the simplest solution is the one most likely to be correct.