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US Pilots Escape Serious Penalties

Military Justice

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Posted 27 June 2003 - 12:21 PM


Eviltree: We have a contradictory statement here. However, since I do not have a copy of TF Rakassan SOP (and I was not able to ask questions to my sources due to OPSEC, I cannot compare the SOPs to Capt. Jasper's statement.

I would suggest you read the Article 32 then since it goes into all these details.  I find it very dubious that the Canadian report and most Canadian sources gloss over totally failing to mention that the IFF strips were covered.  It suggests to me that in their own haste to hang theses pilots they either neglected to investigate the claim or they made the choice to ignore it to detract from their own culpability.    


Eviltree: Also, cite your source concerning lack of ground lights by Canadians.


Article 32 Testimony: Capt. Jasper

Q. The governing range regulation is Army Regulation 385-63, "Policies and Procedures For Ammunition For Training, Target Practice and Combat," requires that a blinking red light be shown during night hours on a small arms range.  Was a blinking red light operating at Tarnak Farms on the night of the accident?
A. Not that I can recall.
Q. The regulation provides that the scarlet streamer during daylight hours, substituted by blinking red lights during night hours, will be displayed from a prominent point for a range complex and at all times during fire.  No firing will take place unless these conditions are met.  Would it be fair to say that you cannot say whether or not those conditions were met on the night that your unit was firing?
A. I would say they weren't met.  With respect to that though --


Eviltree: I have no information to the first time IFF misidentification occurred with the Canadians. I require a source.
Atually apparently there was two incidents prior to this where the same Canadian unit was nearly attacked after being ID as hostile.


Article 32:

Q. There was an aircraft of some type above; it was going to strafe part of your unit, but a Canadian liaison officer, somewhere wherever it was, got information to prevent it?
A. That is actually a different story from what Iím talking about, but I had heard of that one happening as well.
Q. Tell me about the one that youíre talking about.
A. I donít think I should be giving details of that operation.
Q. And, I wonít ask you for that.  So, there were two prior to April 17th of something that was a potential safety?
A. Two incidents that happened on operation hairpin that Iím aware of and, again, thatís secondhand information.
Q. But, youíre not aware of anything that was done to change or correct or put into place procedures to prevent that from happening again?
A. Not that I can specifically recall.


Jasper: Q. Did you ever become aware, it has been reported that Lieutenant Colonel Stowgrin indicated -- that a unit of 3 PPCLI in mid-March before this incident happened  -- there had been an aircraft that nearly strafed them and they were called off at the last minute by Canadian liaison?
A. I had heard that from Operation Air Coons.


Eviltree:Tarnak Farm was used by Coalition forces since late 2001. Say the farm was used from Dec.01 to time of incident it would have been used 4 and half months, with the Farm being used almost everyday. 2 IFF mishaps in what, 135 days gives something like 2% chance of IFF screw up. Perhaps luck of the odds? .

It would be about a 1.5% chance for a misidentification.  Then you add in the fact that these two incidents happened to the same unit and you have astronomically unlikely odds that it happened to be pure coincidence.  Iíd say more likely it was because this unit failed to employ proper IFF techniques when on the range.      


Eviltree: I'm assuming that choppers do come to the farm both for the Americans and the Canadians.
If the strobe lights bothered the chopper pilots, it is assumable that the chopper pilots request both the Americans and the Canadians to... tone it down a bit.

I would have suspected that the the Article 32 to address this point to counter the supposition that the Canadians were acting outside of normal procedure.  I have yet to see implication at all that the Canadians had received a request from the choppers to tone down their IFF. I see references to the Canadians either knowing or perceiving that it was interfering with the vision of choppers but no indication that a request was made.


Eviltree: The pilots screwed up by the numbers, yes? That does not merit punishment?

Their careers are effectively over and they can kiss their wings goodbye.  More than likely theyíll be booted from the service ASAP.  Then they have to live for the rest of their days with the information that they accidentally killed several friendly troops and that those men had families.  For the rest of their lives they will be carrying that burden with them. These me will be punishing themselves for what they did for the rest of their lives and honestly I wonder how they will live with themselves.  Now at least one of them is going for a Court Martial.  So to top it all off shall we just string them up while we are at it to satisfy the needs of some Canadians who want vengeance rather than justice?      


Eviltree: Your own American BoI came to similar conclusion as the Canadian BoI.

I never said our Air Force is above stringing up American soldiers to pacify an ally who is out for blood.  Come on how would Canadians have reacted if the American BoI had printed the facts about the Canadian screw-ups when it came to IFF when the Canadian report neglected to mention those facts?  I can just picture the accusations.    


Eviltree: CF is looking at ways to improve IFF, however, it'll take some time.

They arenít even following proper IFF procedures now.  This after they were all most attacked by planes twice before because of misidentification.  


Eviltree: Perhaps if American pilots bother to ID the target properly, perhaps less FF would happen.

Perhaps if Canadian troops followed proper IFF procedure this incident would have never happened.  The danger of fratricide is much lower if proper IFF procedures are regularly utilized.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 27 June 2003 - 12:21 PM.

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#42 EvilTree


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Posted 27 June 2003 - 03:49 PM

I'll concede that there is reasonable doubt that Canadian IFF procedures were not satisfactory to US standards.


Perhaps if Canadian troops followed proper IFF procedure this incident would have never happened. The danger of fratricide is much lower if proper IFF procedures are regularly utilized.

Perhaps if the American pilots bothered to follow procedures there wouldn't have been an incident?

I don't think this incident was an accident. I find it that there is enough evidence that the pilots were careless themselves or had... other motives.

Why would Schmidt want to strafe with 20mm cannon when he had two bombs available he could have dropped from safe height from supposed AA fire?

Why did the flight stay in the area instead of disengage and assess the situation per doctrine and engagement rules?

Why didn't they bothered to ID the target properly?

As I said, even if the Canadians had ZERO IFF precautions, you don't just go ahead and bomb stuff. A Top Gun instructor should know better.

Whatever. Let's see what the court martial says.
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#43 tennyson

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Posted 27 June 2003 - 06:18 PM

He was an instructor at the naval air combat training center? I thought he was an air force pilot, wasn't he in an F-16?
"Only an idiot would fight a war on two fronts. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would fight a war on twelve fronts."

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#44 Kevin Street

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Posted 03 July 2003 - 07:00 AM

Friendly fire pilot faces one charge

From the National Post:


Maj. Schmidt's arraignment, expected to take no more than 10 minutes, will be bittersweet for the families of the four dead paratroopers, who learned on Monday the man who bombed their loved ones will face only a single charge of dereliction of duty -- a crime that carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison.

Justice is served. :sarcasm:

#45 Kosh


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Posted 03 July 2003 - 07:15 AM

If they charge him with something major, and it comes up in the trial, that he was effected by the drugs the military has pilots on then it could get very messy for the military, and they will try their best to avoid that outcome. I believe that it played a big role in this matter, and cost the Canadian troops their lives, and our military should be held accountable.
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