Skip to comments.Air Force dismissing charges against Harry Schmidt (A victory for a real "Top Gun")
Posted on 06/24/2004 8:12:19 PM PDT by Pukin Dog
The Air Force has decided not to court-martial a U.S. fighter pilot who mistakenly dropped a 500-pound, laser-guided bomb that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan in 2002. Maj. Harry Schmidt, 37, will face nonjudicial punishment and four dereliction-of-duty charges against him will be dismissed in court, the Air Force said Thursday. He could face punishment including 30 days confinement or loss of one month's pay, about $5,600, Air Force spokeswoman Col. Alvina Mitchell said.
Schmidt, a 1983 graduate of Vianney High School in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Mo., originally was charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault and faced up to 64 years in prison. Military officials recommended against a court-martial on those charges last June, saying Schmidt could face nonjudicial punishment instead. Schmidt turned down the offer, saying he wanted to clear his name in a court-martial instead. He was ordered to be tried on the lesser charge of dereliction of duty. But the agreement announced Thursday meant the dereliction charges will be pursued in a lesser, nonjudicial forum, beginning July 1. Schmidt's lawyer, Charles W. Gittins, said the Air Force has agreed to allow him to remain employed with the Illinois Air National Guard, but not as a pilot. Gittins said his client did not want to fly for the Air Force anymore because he feels he has been "second guessed in a combat situation by people sitting back in the air-conditioned comfort of the Pentagon."
Schmidt was charged for dropping the bomb from his fighter jet on April 17, 2002, near Kandahar, killing four and wounding eight Canadian soldiers who were conducting live-fire exercises. The victims were the first Canadians to die in combat since the Korean War. Schmidt later said he released the bomb because he mistook the Canadians' gunfire for an attack from Taliban soldiers. A military investigation found that Schmidt should have flown out of the area instead. The case against Schmidt and his mission commander, Maj. William Umbach, has been closely watched in Canada, where many were outraged by the bombing and the two days it took President Bush to publicly apologize.
Manslaughter and aggravated assault charges against Umbach were dismissed and he was allowed to retire, as he had requested. Agatha Dyer, mother of Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, 25, who was killed in the bombing, said word of the decision made her "very sad." "He should get some penalty because he was at fault. He didn't obey orders. My heart is broken," Dyer said from her home in Montreal. Schmidt had transferred to the National Guard in 2000 after a decorated career as a Navy pilot and an instructor at the Navy's "Top Gun" fighter pilot school.
(Excerpt) Read more at stltoday.com ...
No amount of punishment would have been enough for Canadians. They are peaceniks, by and large. Though I am from New Orleans, my wife is from Ontario. Her entire family, save here, are mercilessly anti-american. Heaven help them if their liberal party wins AGAIN.
As I understand it (which may be not at all), he was facing NJP a year ago, and now is facing it again. Where is the victory?
Don't much care what Canadians think...
Of course, us non peacenik Americans couldn't care less if a foreign Air Force accidentally killed four of our soldiers.
The loss of life was tragic. War is tragic. The blame, if blame must be assigned, belongs to the brutal fascists who forced us into the inescapable position of adopting warfare as the only realistic option for survival as a part of a civilized, world wide community of nations.
May God hold them responsible for forcing peaceful, forward looking people to once again adopt the brutish posture of war.
The position had been forwarded to the regional headquarters...but no one thought to tell the AWACS in charge. This wasn't a misplaced shot in a combat zone - It was an over eager jet jockey hell bent on getting his kills in before he went home.
Jet jockey, huh? Smitty is a better man than you will ever be. The man is a hero, a warrior, and as a Naval Aviator, one of the best men to strap on a fighter jet who ever lived. Be glad and grateful he risked his life for your right to call him stupid names.
Right after dropping the bomb, his wingmate wondered over the radio "Hope we did the right thing".
Cant do that. They are hamburger. Smitty don't miss. Have a good evening.
Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire. You want the guys who did it charged with manslaughter?
Tillman...the football star ? He was killed by friendly fire ?
He may fly for the airlines, but with the pay cuts and loss of benefits and retirement it isn't much of a living. He should do something else with the rest of his life.
Tough nuts, buddy. I have no patience for armchair warriors who no nothing of the risks involved in flying fighter aircraft. More men die training to protect pacifist Canadian asses, so when one of ours gets a break, especially one with Smitty's record. I feel no pain.
Tillman was killed by friendly fire
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