Disciplinary authority for friendly fire incident changed

  • Published
Disciplinary authority over the April 17 friendly fire incident near Kandahar, Afghanistan, that resulted in the deaths of four Canadian paratroopers was passed Aug.16 to the U.S. Air Force's 8th Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson.

Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, Air Combat Command commander, transferred the authority from the 9th Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. T. Michael Moseley, for several reasons. First, the authority was transferred to prevent the perception of any conflict of interest on the part of Moseley who, in his role as combined forces air component commander for Operation Enduring Freedom, ultimately exercised command over the incident pilots during their mission.

Second, the demands of Moseley's duties as commander of air operations over Afghanistan and Operation Southern Watch could preclude him from devoting the time and attention the case deserves. Finally, the incident pilots are presently assigned to a unit that becomes part of the 8th Air Force when mobilized.

The incident occurred when an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb on a group of Canadian paratroopers who were conducting live-fire training at Tarnak Farms Range in Afghanistan. Tragically, the bomb killed four and wounded eight of the soldiers.

The findings of a U.S./Canadian coalition investigation board report, released on June 28, stated the cause of the incident to be the failure of the pilots to exercise appropriate flight discipline.

The two pilots involved are members of the 183rd Fighter Wing of the Illinois Air National Guard, and were temporarily assigned to the 332nd Air Expeditionary Group in Southwest Asia when the incident occurred. (Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)