A soldier at Fort Drum, New York, was injured Thursday while subduing a man who attempted to steal a military vehicle from an installation training area, Army and police officials confirmed.
Nathan J. McElhone, who was unarmed, reportedly insinuated he had a weapon while attempting to brazenly steal a Humvee in front of a group of soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division’s 7th Engineer Battalion, according to releases from Fort Drum and the New York State Police.
He was “thwarted by the Soldiers[,] who subdued and detained him until Military Police and Fort Drum Emergency Services personnel arrived,” the Army release said.
The soldier who was hurt during the scuffle suffered “minor injuries,” per the release, and was treated on the scene by the unit’s medics.
Police say McElhone possessed stolen shooting targets and a wooden shelving unit at the time of his arrest.
An Army WTF Moments Facebook post included a screenshot of messages seemingly discussing the event. Army Times was unable to identify any of the individuals involved in order to independently verify the authenticity of the messages. The redactions applied to the messages made it unclear how many individuals were participating in the conversation.
“I’m still at the range, we got attacked and got our humvee stolen...[by] some crazy local,” said one person. “Guy tried to get into our ammo shack and attacked Sgt.”
“He rolled up in a truck that has a magnet saying range maintenance,” said another message. “We’re all good[.] Sgt [redacted] is a little cut up but we have [McElhone] held down. Waiting on the MPs.”
Maj. Gen. Milford Beagle, the 10th Mountain Division’s commander, commended the restraint of the soldiers involved.
“I’d like to thank the New York State Troopers who responded quickly, assisting our emergency services personnel on the scene,” said Beagle. “And I’d also like to recognize the Soldiers of 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. During a high-stress situation, they used their training and responded quickly and safely to detain the individual. They prevented the theft of Army assets but also prevented a local citizen from being injured, despite his own best efforts.”
According to the New York State Police, McElhone faces several felony and misdemeanor charges — second degree felony robbery, first degree felony reckless endangerment, misdemeanor possession of stolen property and misdemeanor criminal trespass.
McElhone remains in the custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, police said.
Army Times could not reach court officials before deadline to inquire about his arraignment date because the town court in Antwerp, New York, is only open on Tuesdays.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.