Camp Merrill soldier arrested with stolen explosive devices

Jack Murphy
September 14, 2020 - 9:41 am
Camp Merrill

Photo by Patrick Albright

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Sgt. Jesse Phillips assigned to Camp Merrill in Dahlonega, Georgia was arrested while in possession of stolen explosive simulators, police say.

Police officers with Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Unit searched Phillip's residence and found M115 artillary simulator devices. Instructors at Camp Merrill commonly use these devices to simulate ranger students coming under indirect fire in training. Police officers also found Phillips in possession of smoke grenades.

The Sheriff's office was responding to an anonymous tip, Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

Officials said that they have no information that would lead them to believe that Phillips was planning an attack, but that the devices he allegedly stole from the Army were, "extremely dangerous if mishandled." Smoke grenades and the M115 device are no more dangerous than common fireworks, however stealing controlled demolition devices from the military is a violation of federal law.

Phillips has been released on bond.

Camp Merrill is the home of the mountain phase of the U.S. Army's Ranger School in which students train by patrolling the mountains of Dahlonega, conducting ropework and perfecting climbing techniques, before moving on to the third and final phase of Ranger School at Eglin Air Force base in Florida.

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.