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To: SandRat
"That still only leaves some skepticism in the finding in number 2."

Agreed.

A BOI can only gathre evidence after the fact, apply its expertise and evaluate the credibility of the witnesses and the documents, be as objective as possible and make the best evaluation possible in the circumstances.

A fratricide incident inquiry inevitably brings the causa causans to the guy who released the ordnance,

But, apart from cases of gross negligence, these accidents are usually the culmination of a cascade.

Here is an extract from the Executive Summanry:

MAIN FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD OF INQUIRY)

On 4 September 2006, a United States Air Force (USAF) A-10A mistakenly strafed the position of Charles Company (C Coy) group (gp) at Panjwayi District, Afghanistan, killing one Canadian soldier and wounding many others. The following are the major points from this investigation:

The incident pilot was responsible for the death and injuries of the Canadian soldiers in the incident. He lost his situational awareness. He mistook a garbage fire at the Canadian location for his target without verifying the target through his targeting pod and heads-up display;

The incident was preventable. If the incident pilot had verified the target using the targeting pod and heads-up display, he would have realized his error and discontinued the attack; and

Although not causal to the incident, the Board noted deficiencies in regards to Forward Air Controller (FAC) training and equipment and makes recommendations in that regard.

The A-10A friendly fire incident that occurred on 4 September 2006 was a result of the A-10A pilot losing his situational awareness in the changing light conditions in the transition between night and day and his failure to check his targeting pod and heads-up display to verify target location. Because he was disoriented, he mistook the garbage fire lit by the Canadian soldiers for the fire from a previous bomb impact on the target he was supposed to strafe. While firing his cannon at the garbage fire, he killed one Canadian soldier and wounded many others. The factors that contributed to the incident included a decision error by the pilot while pursuing his attack and a perceptual error when he incorrectly perceived the Canadian position to be the targeted location. Other contributing factors included the garbage fire that had been recently lit at the Canadian position and the changing light conditions in the transition from night to day.

The incident was preventable. The pilot had the target coordinates and had successfully strafed the target several times that morning. His visual reference point for the strafe was intended to be the residual fire and smoke from a bomb that had just been dropped by another A-10A. He padlocked (indicates that aircrew has locked his gaze onto an aircraft or ground target in order to maintain sight of it) on the garbage fire from C Coy gp, which was lit at about the same time and was the same distance from the A-10A as the target. If he had checked his targeting pod and heads-up display, he would have noticed the discrepancy between where his plane was pointed and the real target. That discrepancy should have caused him to abort that attack.

There were some extenuating circumstances. The incident pilot had removed his night vision goggles (NVGs) because the changing light conditions had limited their usefulness. They were removed less than a minute before he strafed C Coy gp. The transition period between night and day is a difficult one for the pilots because their eyes must adjust to ambient light and the cockpit instrumentation lighting also needs to be adjusted. The pilot was relying on his own visual perception to identify the target. Further, neither the pilot nor the FAC were aware that C Coy gp had lit a garbage fire.

Although not causal to the incident, the Board finds that there were deficiencies with the FAC pre-deployment training and equipment. The FACs were not qualified Combat Ready Night High (CR-NH) before deploying to theatre, thus not meeting the requirements of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 311. Furthermore, the pre-deployment training, while providing FACs with the minimum knowledge to conduct Close Air Support (CAS), was insufficient to prepare them for the conditions they faced during Op MEDUSA. In regards to equipment, the FACs were provided with the minimum required to control aircraft. Many of their controls involved CAS during the night where more sophisticated equipment such as infrared (IR) pointers and other such devices would have greatly facilitated identification of targets and friendly positions.

The Board was impressed with the post-incident response. When the incident occurred, the medical response was remarkable. The soldiers responded immediately employing techniques and equipment received during the Combat Related First Aid (CRFA) training. The Tactical Combat Casualty Course (TCCC) trained soldiers were of invaluable assistance to the Medical Technicians (Med Techs). The casualty evacuation system was efficient and well coordinated as the wounded were very quickly prioritized and flown out in dedicated aeromedevac (AE) helicopters. The most severely wounded were treated at the Kandahar Airfield (KAF), then evacuated to Landstuhl and then Canada. Other among the wounded were diverted to an allied Facility at Tarin Kowt, treated and then either brought back to KAF or evacuated to Landstuhl and Canada. Task Force Kandahar’s (TF-K) operational response in creating smoke to screen the situation from the enemy, coordinating A-10A presence to protect the AE and calling up the reserve Coy to enable the continuance of the mission were all timely and effective. The post-incident response in terms of next of kin (NOK) notification and chain of command information flow was excellent.

The post-incident response to Pte Graham’s mortal injury was swift and thorough. All those who handled him, from the location of the incident to his return to Canada, treated Pte Graham’s remains with deference and due respect.


8 posted on 07/14/2007 11:31:29 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Clive
These 3 paras explain a lot:

The A-10A friendly fire incident that occurred on 4 September 2006 was a result of the A-10A pilot losing his situational awareness in the changing light conditions in the transition between night and day and his failure to check his targeting pod and heads-up display to verify target location. Because he was disoriented, he mistook the garbage fire lit by the Canadian soldiers for the fire from a previous bomb impact on the target he was supposed to strafe. While firing his cannon at the garbage fire, he killed one Canadian soldier and wounded many others. The factors that contributed to the incident included a decision error by the pilot while pursuing his attack and a perceptual error when he incorrectly perceived the Canadian position to be the targeted location. Other contributing factors included the garbage fire that had been recently lit at the Canadian position and the changing light conditions in the transition from night to day.

The incident was preventable. The pilot had the target coordinates and had successfully strafed the target several times that morning. His visual reference point for the strafe was intended to be the residual fire and smoke from a bomb that had just been dropped by another A-10A. He padlocked (indicates that aircrew has locked his gaze onto an aircraft or ground target in order to maintain sight of it) on the garbage fire from C Coy gp, which was lit at about the same time and was the same distance from the A-10A as the target. If he had checked his targeting pod and heads-up display, he would have noticed the discrepancy between where his plane was pointed and the real target. That discrepancy should have caused him to abort that attack.

There were some extenuating circumstances. The incident pilot had removed his night vision goggles (NVGs) because the changing light conditions had limited their usefulness. They were removed less than a minute before he strafed C Coy gp. The transition period between night and day is a difficult one for the pilots because their eyes must adjust to ambient light and the cockpit instrumentation lighting also needs to be adjusted. The pilot was relying on his own visual perception to identify the target. Further, neither the pilot nor the FAC were aware that C Coy gp had lit a garbage fire.

Having been the Recorder on a BOI I can well imagine the heated discussions that took place to create the findings when in Executive Session (behind closed doors).

9 posted on 07/14/2007 12:00:17 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: Clive
Further, neither the pilot nor the FAC were aware that C Coy gp had lit a garbage fire.

Plenty of blame to go around but fire in a war zone at night is also poor situational awareness.

10 posted on 07/14/2007 12:24:40 PM PDT by VRWC For Truth (RINO cleaner - the backbone restorer)
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