Air Force struggles to remove Humvee left on muddy remote road in Montana

The High Mobility Multipurpose Utility Vehicle, also known as the HMMV or Humvee, boasts 37-inch tires, climbs up to a 40 percent grade and when properly outfitted can ford up to 60 inches of water. But in one instance this spring the rugged vehicle was no match for a Montana dirt road.

A HMMV belonging to the United States Air Force security forces charged with patrolling Minuteman III missile sites near Grass Range was abandoned by its crew last week after it got stuck in a mudhole on Fairview Road.

The Air Force tried to remove the HMMV three times in the last several days but the muddy conditions made the attempts unsuccessful. Crews will work to remove the vehicle again Tuesday with a tow truck, said Connie Hempel, public affairs chief at Malmstrom Air Force Base.

Hempel said the airmen in the HMMV were driving either to or from the missile site on Fairview Road when they became stuck. They had to walk out of the area carrying their weapons and other equipment, leaving the vehicle in the mud. The stretch of road they were on was not a usual route, but it wasn’t an unauthorized area.

The stuck HMMV was positioned about two miles southwest and facing away from the missile site. A log had been jammed through two front tow bars and another large log was resting behind the rig. The vehicle has more than 17 inches of ground clearance and on its driver’s side was buried in mud up to the bottom of the door. The remote roadway is gravel leading to the missile site but is unmaintained dirt shortly after.

The gravel ends at Ed Evans’ farm, where he’s lived for the past 17 years. Evans said he’s never seen military personnel using the dirt section of Fairview Road between the missile site and Surenough Road.

“It’s not possible six months out of the year because they don’t plow it for snow and in spring it’s a mudhole,” he said.