File this under WTF: "Warplane Strafes a School in New Jersey," the Times says.
It sounded like somebody running across the roof of the elementary school in a New Jersey township Wednesday night, said the cleaning woman who called the police. No prowler was found. But yesterday, what had seemed a minor item in a police blotter touched off state and federal military investigations after it was disclosed that an F-16 warplane had strafed the school with cannon fire.The Air National Guard warplane, flying a night training mission out of Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, fired a burst of 27 rounds from its 20-millimeter cannon shortly before 10:15 p.m. as it streaked over Little Egg Harbor Township, 20 miles north of Atlantic City, New Jersey military officials said last night.Col. Brian Webster, commander of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard, said that the pilot, who was not identified, fired the cannon inadvertently just as he turned into a dive to strafe a target at the Warren Grove firing range in Ocean County, a sprawling military reservation in the Pine Barrens that has been used for bombing and strafing practice since World War II.The pilot was to have fired the half-second burst of shells well into the dive, at about 5,000 feet, the colonel said, but instead the cannon went off at an altitude of 7,000 feet, and at least eight of the bullets - non-explosive lead slugs more than 2 inches long - crashed through the roof of Little Egg Harbor Intermediate School, three miles south of the target range. No one was hurt, and the damage was minor.