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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 467-02
September 13, 2002

CHARGES PREFERRED IN CANADIAN FRIENDLY FIRE INCIDENT

Criminal charges were preferred Sept. 11 against the two F-16 pilots involved in the April 17, 2002, friendly-fire deaths of four Canadian soldiers and injuries of eight others near Kandahar, Afghanistan. The pilots are from the 170th Fighter Squadron based in Springfield, Ill., part of the 183rd Fighter Wing, Air National Guard. Both officers have been recalled to active duty in response to the charges in accordance with Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 802.

Maj. Harry Schmidt is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and eight counts of assault. He is also charged with failing to exercise appropriate flight discipline and not complying with the rules of engagement in the Afghanistan area of operations. The charges were filed under Articles 119, 128, and 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, respectively.

Maj. William Umbach also is charged under the same Articles, including the allegation that as flight commander he negligently failed to exercise appropriate flight command and control and to ensure compliance with the rules of engagement.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant preferred the charges. He was the co-president of the Coalition Investigation Board that examined the friendly-fire incident. These charges are only accusations. Both officers are presumed innocent.

The United States Central Command has released its final investigation report into friendly fire incident involving Canadian ground forces in Afghanistan. The report is available at http://www.centcom.mil/CENTCOMNews/Reports/Tarnak_Farms_ Report.htm.

For questions on the investigation report, contact Central Command at 813-827-5894. For questions on military justice issues, contact 8th Air Force Public Affairs, Capt. Denice Kerr at 318-456-2145/2982/2156.