SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — A lockdown has been lifted for more than 450 Schofield Barracks soldiers who spent the holiday weekend on base looking for a sensitive piece of missing equipment, the Army said.
The missing item hasn't been recovered, Hawaii News Now reported. Military police have opened an investigation.
Army officials didn't identify the missing item but soldiers' family members say the soldiers were looking for a night vision device, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Soldiers from the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment were on lockdown at the central Oahu Army post from last Wednesday until 10 p.m. Monday, said Lt. Col. Will Griffin, a spokesman for the 25th Infantry Division.
A similar situation took place last February when soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 2nd Brigade at Schofield Barracks were on lockdown to search for a missing sensitive item at the end of a training exercise.
Chris Hayes said he and his wife, who is signing out of the unit Tuesday and leaving the Army, were expecting movers Wednesday to ship their household items to Arizona. The lockdown made their departure more complicated.
"I can understand holding soldiers that are suspects, but the rest of the 450-plus soldiers should not be punished for something they have nothing to do with," said Hayes, who didn't want to identify his wife.
Hayes said the squadron was looking for a $20,000 experimental night-vision sight that can take pictures and video.
The device was in an equipment room with soldiers responsible for it, but others were allowed in the room, and the gear was gone about two weeks before commanders realized it was gone, Hayes said.
Jessica Eby, the pregnant wife of an Army soldier stationed at Schofield, said in an email that soldiers who live in the barracks were allowed to sleep in their rooms, but married soldiers slept on the floor. Multiple searches of barracks rooms and personal vehicles were also conducted.
She said the lockdown went beyond a regular investigation and would more accurately be called "mass punishment."
Griffin said the lockdown over Valentine's Day weekend was unfortunate and was never meant to be a form of punishment. He said the situation called for standard protocol for accountability.