Mon, Apr 10, 2006
Says Release Of Reprimand Ruined His Career
A pilot involved in a 2002 friendly
fire bombing in Afghanistan that killed four Canadian soldiers and
injured eight others is suing the US Air Force, claiming military
officials ruined his reputation as a pilot by releasing a letter of
reprimand for the incident.
National Guard Major Harry Schmidt's lawsuit, filed Friday in
federal court, accuses the Air Force of violating privacy laws by
releasing the letter of reprimand he received in the wake of the
"The government flat-out failed to comply with their agreement,"
said Schmidt's attorney, Charles Gittins, to the Associated Press.
Gittins added the July 2004 disclosure of the reprimand also
violated the settlement agreement that kept Schmidt from receiving
a court-martial over the accidental attack.
Schmidt was one of two F-16 pilots who mistook muzzle flashes
from Canadian forces engaged in target practice exercises near
Kandahar airport on the night of April 17, 2002, for Taliban
Believing them to be the enemy, Schmidt dropped a 500-lb
laser-guided bomb on the Canadian soldiers. He maintains his
superiors never told him the Canadians would be conducting
live-fire exercises that night.
The second pilot involved in the attack also received a letter
of reprimand, and was allowed to retire from the Guard. He is not
named in the lawsuit.
An Air Force spokeswoman told the AP "at this point, it would be
inappropriate for me to comment on the case," adding she had not
yet seen the lawsuit.
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