Air Force completes Kabul shooting investigation

  • Published
The Air Force completed its investigation into the April 27, 2011 shooting incident at the Afghanistan air force Headquarters located in Kabul, Afghanistan, in which eight U.S. Air Force Airmen and one civilian contractor were killed in the line of duty while serving in a combat zone.

The incident occurred when an Afghanistan air force officer, Col. Ahmed Gul, entered the Afghan Command and Control Center in the Afghanistan air force headquarters, North Kabul International Airport, and shot and killed the eight Airmen and one civilian contractor. In addition to the U.S. personnel killed, two Afghans were shot and three other Afghans were injured in the attack. The attacker died of wounds received during the incident.

The investigation report concludes Gul acted alone and discusses factors that may have played a role in the incident. While the investigation did not determine a conclusive motive for the killing, the attack appeared to be pre-meditated and there were multiple witness statements in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations report that indicated Gul may have had personal issues that were possibly compounded by alleged financial problems.

The OSI findings do not support initial media coverage of the event that reported an argument may have occurred earlier that day between the shooter and the American service members, nor reports that the gunman disarmed and methodically killed the Airmen.

"These Airmen paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation in a combat zone," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said. "Each of these Airmen bravely and purposely performed their duties, and their selfless sacrifices leave behind an honorable legacy that we continue to see in the commitment of Airmen who serve as air advisers today."

The Air Force, sister services and coalition partners continue training Afghan soldiers and airmen in an effort to build a stable Afghanistan government.

"These Airmen were committed to noble service, helping the Afghanistan government in its quest to establish a stable environment," said Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, the commander of 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan at the time of the incident. "We keep their families in our thoughts and prayers as we remember their sacrifices and honor their courageous legacy. These Airmen and their families will always be part of the Air Force family."

Killed in the April 27, 2011, incident were:
- Maj. Philip D. Ambard, 44, of Edmonds, Wash. He was assigned to the 460th Space Communications Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
- Maj. Jeffrey O. Ausborn, 41, of Gadsden, Ala. He was assigned to the 99th Flying Training Squadron, Randolph AFB, Texas.
- Maj. David L. Brodeur, 34, of Auburn, Mass. He was assigned to the 11th Air Force, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
- Master Sgt. Tara R. Brown, 33, of Deltona, Fla. She was assigned to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, JB Andrews, Md.
- Lt. Col. Frank D. Bryant Jr., 37, of Knoxville, Tenn. He was assigned to the 56th Operations Group, Luke AFB, Ariz.
- Maj. Raymond G. Estelle II, 40, of New Haven, Conn. He was assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command, JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
- Capt. Nathan J. Nylander, 35, of Hockley, Texas. He was assigned to the 25th Operational Weather Squadron, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
- Maj. Charles A. Ransom, 31, of Midlothian, Va. He was assigned to the 83rd Network Operations Squadron, JB Langley-Eustis, Va.
- Ret. U.S. Army Lt. Col. James McLaughlin Jr., 55, of Santa Rosa, Calif. He was working as a civilian contractor for Military Personnel Resources, Inc. a division of L3.

Since the shooting incident, several security initiatives have been implemented to improve the force protection posture for the coalition advisers.

Extra personnel have been assigned to the force protection mission and air advisors have received additional "active shooter" training. In addition to armed overwatch and improvements to intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities, several emergency response vehicles have been purchased, and command and control upgrades have been initiated, according to officials from the International Security Assistance Force headquarters in Kabul. Armed overwatch provides security forces an opportunity to engage an active shooter with reduced risk, increasing the likelihood the shooter can be neutralized safely before attacking additional victims.

Click here for a copy of the redacted AFOSI Report of Investigation. 

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)