Skip to comments.Multiple missteps led to drone killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan
Posted on 11/06/2011 9:57:05 AM PST by Cardhu
Reporting from Washington On the evening of April 5, a pilot settled into a leather captain's chair at Creech Air Force Base in southern Nevada and took the controls of a Predator drone flying over one of the most violent areas of southwestern Afghanistan. Minutes later, his radio crackled.
A firefight had broken out. Taliban insurgents had ambushed about two dozen Marines patrolling a bitterly contested road.
The Air Force captain angled his joystick and the drone veered toward the fighting taking place half a world away, where it was already morning. He powered up two Hellfire missiles under its wings and ordered a crew member responsible for operating the drone's cameras to search for enemy fighters.
It didn't take long to find something. Three figures, fuzzy blobs on the pilot's small black-and-white screen, lay in a poppy field a couple of hundred yards from the road.
"Hey now, wait. Standby on these," the pilot cautioned. "They could be animals in the field." Seconds later, tiny white flashes appeared by the figures the heat signature of gunfire. "There they are," he said, now sure he was looking at the enemy.
At an Air National Guard base in Terre Haute, Ind., an intelligence analyst whose job it was to monitor the video to help prevent mistakes on the mission also observed the muzzle flashes but noticed that they were firing away from the embattled Marines.
Marines at Patrol Base Alcatraz, 12 miles from the firefight, watched their screens too, as they kept in contact with both the drone crew and the platoon members, who had set out from the base just an hour earlier. It would be their decision whether to call in a missile strike.
Thirty-one seconds after the pilot reported muzzle flashes...
...two Americans would be dead.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
That was nothing more than incompetent response on the part of the pilot. Kick his butt out. It says it was daylight there, he hair triggered.
Too many video games can dull the senses of responsibility.
This is, after all, the LA Times. If something bad happens to our troops, it is good news to them. I half expected the author to continue "He took a swig from his cold Bud Light next to his easy chair..."
Point is, it was friendly fire. Our troops train to the point of nausea in order to prevent BoB casualties, and there are rules written in real blood to prevent this. This does sound like incompetence or a gross mistake.
But as sure as God made little green apples, we will kill our own troops again in some incident. Men are human, and when you put them under duress, all those rules can go out the window in a split second of carelessness.
Prayers for the men, and prayers for this US military member who killed them by accident. Those guys are likely with God now, but this guy who did it has to live with it now.
Did you read the entire article?
Yes, it says he loaded, and fired without waiting for response from the chain. 27 seconds, take away flight and response time, hair trigger. When firing a live round you are an idiot if you do no realize you cannot take back the shot. The situation is this, you know, someone may get hit, by the other people, but you know for damn sure you are going to kill them, error on the side of caution.
-—This is, after all, the LA Times. If something bad happens to our troops, it is good news to them.-—
The only thing they left out was the implied innuendo it was Bush’s fault...
Maybe they need to go back to what proved successful.