“Dragon” launcher found by Texas landowner

Search begins for origins of abandoned launcher.

October 20, 2009

If you lost a Dragon Guided Missile Launcher near San Antonio, Texas, you might want to know that it has been found. 

The San Antonio Express-News (http://www.mysanantonio.com/) reported last week that landowner Jarrette Schule was cutting down trees on his rural property Tuesday in Comal County when he noticed a forest-green metallic tube on the ground.

“I had never seen it before,” Schulze, a 34-year-old Web developer, told reporter John Tedesco. “I looked at it, and it kind of looked like a missile launcher.”

He loaded the mystery gadget into his truck (fortunately, it was not live), took it home and started contacting authorities: every agency from the FBI, to Homeland Security to the local Sheriff’s Department, all to no avail.

“Everyone was handing it off to everybody else,” Schule said.

Finally, his path led to an Army criminal investigator in the military police unit at Fort Sam. An ordnance disposal team from Lackland AFB arrived Wednesday afternoon to confiscate the weapon.

The San Antonio Express-News further notes: “The decal on the launcher has a 13-digit “National Stock Number,” which is used to identify military equipment. The stock number is a match for launchers that fire Dragon surface-to-surface missiles, according to a database maintained by the U.S. Defense Logistics Information Service.

“The launcher was built in Dec. 1996. The Dragons, first manufactured in the 1960s, last were used in combat in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. They were replaced by the Javelin missile system and finally discontinued in 2006.”

It is unknown if the launcher fell out of something or was intentionally abandoned on the property. Military officials will use the serial number to track its chain of custody.

Schult had a sense of humor about his adventure.

“I thought just driving down the road, someone would just know that I had a missile launcher in my truck,” Schule said, laughing. “You think that way about the government.

"But really, you have to make an effort for them to come get their missile launcher.”

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