In 1974, an Army Solider Stole a Helicopter and Put It On the White House Lawn

Task and Purpose

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Here are 5 other military "joyrides" you need to know about.

In 1974, an Army Solider Stole a Helicopter and Put It On the White House Lawn

The joyride has been a fixture of American culture ever since before first Model T rolled off a Ford assembly line.

In August 1908, a chauffeur was sentenced by a New York City judge for absconding with his employer’s automobile for 30 hours of unadulterated freedom, the first known instance of a “joy ride” in modern history. And while unauthorized excursion ended on a down note — those 30 hours added up to 30 days in prison for “willful or malicious destruction of property — but it birthed a wholly American tradition. The wind in your hair, open the road ahead of you, lack of financial investment (it ain’t your vehicle!) — nothing screams freedom more.

But while too many joyrides often end in death or injury, history offers one unusual exception: the case of the military joyride, the purest and safest form of automotive freedom known to man. Perhaps only U.S. service members have the good order and discipline to joyride safely; perhaps it’s just a matter of good training. Either way, the history of military joyriders proves that you can feel the need for speed without wrecking (too much) havoc on the world around you — even if it’s an aircraft you’re stealing and not a car.

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