Update: Air Guard says convoy was unrelated to Mrs. Petreaus’s visit to Westhampton base

03/03/2012 10:15 AM |

COURTESY PHOTO | One of several armored personnel carriers spotted across the North Fork on Friday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Holly Petraeus, assistant director of Servicemember Affairs for the new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, visited the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton on Friday during a day of visits to New York military facilities.

Congressman Tim Bishop was on hand for her Westhampton visit.

Ms. Petreaus is the wife of retired General David Petreaus, former commander of allied forces in Iraq and now head of the CIA. Could those armored military vehicles seen on East End roads yesterday have had something to do with her visit?

No, according to a spokesman for the Air Guard unit in Westhampton.

First Lt. Michael O’Hagan, the public relations officer there, said on Saturday that Mrs. Patreaus’ visit was unrelated. She was at Gabreski Airport to talk about security and fraud. The Air Guard knew nothing about the convoy seen on the North Fork, he said. He guessed it may have been related to training exercises.

News 12 yesterday reported “mystery solved” and said the vehicles were here because of a military funeral. Just whose funeral it was, and why it would have brought military combat vehicles to the area, was not reported.

A representative pf Congressman Tim Bishop’s office on Friday said the lack of communication about the series of U.S. Army Reserves armored vehicles that inexplicably rode around the North Fork Friday was  “unacceptable.”

“Somebody should know what’s going on here,” said legislative aide Oliver Longwell, who was unable to get an answer from military officials about what the vehicles were doing. “Those are military vehicles riding around on public highways and there’s a guy in the turret.

“We’re definitely going to get to the bottom of this.”

Neither the News-Review nor Mr. Bishop’s office could confirm Channel 12′s information.

Multiple M1117 Guardian armored security vehicles were spotted driving through Riverhead and Southold towns Friday morning, according to several eyewitnesses. Between six to seven vehicles were spotted around 9:40 a.m. traveling east on North Road in Mattituck. The ASVs were also spotted around 12:30 p.m. in Calverton, traveling westbound.

Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said he saw four or five armored vehicles pass him on Main Road in Southold on his way to work this morning. Southold Town police have been trying to identify where the vehicles came from, he said.

Riverhead Police officials also said they didn’t know why the vehicles were in town.

“They’re just sort of zipping around,” Mr. Russell said. “Nobody knows what they’re doing. It’s just another day in Southold.”

Officials at the U.S. Reserves could not be reached to explain the military vehicles’ presence. The Riverhead Police Department said they were also unaware of any military activity.

The military is required to notify police departments that they will be using public roads for training exercises or other functions, but no town officials were notified there would be activity on Friday.

Early reports from eyewitnesses also describe a submarine spotted off Orient Point.

Coast Guard officials at the New London station in Connecticut said a U.S. submarine sailed through the area this morning on a routine trip to be resupplied. The submarine docked at the Naval Base in New London at around 9:30 a.m. and left the base at approximately 10:30 a.m.

“It’s a frequent thing for them to come in for supplies,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer Jeff Murphy. “That’s a very normal occurrence to have happen.”

Did you see one of the armored personnel carriers? If so, tell us where you saw them in the comment section below.

With Tim Kelly and Jennifer Gustavson

psquire@timesreview.com