(October 1982) In the New Zealand Army, the staff was having a discipline problem with four cadets posted at Waiouru Camp. The group had been confined to barracks for a day as punishment, while the rest of the unit participated in a training activity.
The four cadets decided to abscond, and set out on a jaunt into the training area, heedless of the consequences. How bad could another day of rest be? After walking some distance, they found themselves on the range used as the training grounds of the M203 Grenade Launcher. As they sauntered around the range, they came across several unexploded rounds.
From Day One, Army recruits are told to never touch anything even remotely resembling unexploded ordnance. Indeed, there are signs surrounding every range the Army uses, stating the rule again. It is incessantly drummed into every brain in the Army. But not everyone learns...
The ringleader of this group picked up two grenades and held them at arm's length, while his mates egged him on. According to the survivors, he uttered the famous last words, "Hey fellas, look at this!" Those are words to make seasoned men duck and cover.
The cadet cracked the two grenades together, causing one or both to explode in his hands. The M203 grenade has a lethal blast area of five meters, and left little for the medics to recover. The other three miscreants were injured by shrapnel, but survived to be disciplined in a far more lenient fashion than their fallen fellow.
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Submitted by: Geoff Crowhurst