Army soldiers mistakenly raided Bulgarian olive oil factory during training drill

Army soldiers mistakenly raided Bulgarian olive oil factory during training drill
© Twitter/@dgaytandzhieva

U.S. soldiers accidentally raided an olive oil factory in Bulgaria during a larger NATO exercise last month, U.S. Army Europe and Africa revealed Tuesday.

During Exercise Swift Response 21 - a drill across Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania meant to deter Russian military aggression - soldiers assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade simulated seizing and securing the decommissioned Cheshnegirovo airfield in Bulgaria by entering and clearing bunkers and structures.

But during the course of the exercise on May 11, soldiers “entered and cleared a building next to the airfield that they believed was part of the training area, but that was occupied by Bulgarian civilians operating a private business,” according to an Army statement. “No weapons were fired at any time during the interaction.”

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Army officials “sincerely apologize to the business and its employees,” and said they are “fully investigating the cause of this mistake.”

The statement added that the Army would “implement rigorous procedures to clearly define our training areas and prevent this type of incident in the future.”

A video of the mistaken seizure was posted to Twitter by Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva, who reported that the factory owner had filed a lawsuit after the mix up.

Swift Response is part of the larger, annual exercise Defender Europe 21, which began in early May and will finish later this month.