View Thread : Jason Shmidt will never fly air force jets again

Thankfully. The man who killed four Canadians in Afghanistan two years ago, let off with pretty much a slap on the wrist.

U.S. pilot guilty of dereliction of duty in bombing of Canadians in Afghanistan
<TABLE width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2> </TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2>Canadian Press</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

July 6, 2022

<!--begin story text--><TABLE style="FLOAT: right" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 width=250 align=right border=0 valign="top"><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR><TR><TD class=storycredit>U.S. Air Force pilot, Maj. Harry Schmidt, walks out of the Article 32 hearing process, January 2003, at Barksdale Air Force Base. (AP/Tony Gutierrez)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>NEW ORLEANS -- A U.S. fighter pilot who mistakenly bombed Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2002, killing four, was found guilty Tuesday of dereliction of duty, was reprimanded and will lose more than $5,000 US in pay, the air force said.

Maj. Harry Schmidt, 38, had blamed the bombing on ''the fog of war,'' saying he mistook the Canadians' gunfire for an attack from Taliban fighters.

The pilot said his superiors never told him that the Canadians would be conducting live-fire exercises near Kandahar airport that night.

In the reprimand, Lt.-Gen. Bruce Carlson, who handed down the verdict, wrote that Schmidt ''acted shamefully on April 17, 2002, over Tarnak Farms, Afghanistan, exhibiting arrogance and a lack of flight discipline.''

The four soldiers were the first Canadians killed in combat since the Korean War. Killed were Sgt. Marc Leger, Pte. Richard Green, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer and Pte. Nathan Smith. Eight other Canadians were wounded, including Cpl. Brian Decaire.

Decaire's mother, Maureen, said she understands that mistakes happen and that Schmidt didn't intend to cause harm but said the decision still leaves her unsatisfied.

''I would like to see him accept responsibility, which I don't think has happened,'' she said from Winnipeg.

''That's the only other thing I would like.''

Schmidt, who turns 39 on July 16, was originally charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault, but the charges were reduced last year to dereliction of duty.

The Illinois National Guardsman was found guilty after a closed hearing held last week. Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force, presided over the hearing at Barksdale Air Force Base in northwestern Louisiana.

The air force announced June 25 that it decided not to put Schmidt on trial to face dereliction-of-duty charges for the bombing. The pilot could have faced up to six months in prison if convicted in a trial.

Instead, the charges were shifted out of the air force's criminal court system to a lesser level, a ''non-judicial'' forum, overseen by the general. The sentencing options did not include a prison term.

In addition to the reprimand, the air force said Schmidt will lose one-half of a month's pay for two months - $5,672.

Schmidt had transferred to the National Guard in 2000 after a decorated career as a U.S. navy pilot and an instructor at the navy's top gun'' fighter pilot school. He remains employed by the Illinois Air National Guard, but has agreed that he will never fly air force jets again.

Charles Gittins, Schmidt's civilian defence lawyer, has said an air force-issued amphetamine given to pilots to help them stay awake on long missions might have impaired the pilot's judgment.

The air force says the amphetamine, Dexedrine, is given to pilots only in small doses, with a mild stimulative effect.

In videotape of the mission taken from Schmidt's F-16, the pilot can be heard telling airborne air controllers that he and his mission commander, Maj. William Umbach, were under attack from the ground as the two flew at more than 3,000 metres. He then requested permission to open fire with his 20-millimetre cannon.

''Hold fire,'' an air controller responded.

Four seconds later, Schmidt said: ''It looks like a piece of artillery firing at us. I'm rolling in, in self-defence.''

Schmidt released the bomb 39 seconds after the ''hold fire'' order.

The bomb landed about a metre from a Canadian machine-gun crew, killing four Canadians instantly.

Fellow F-16 pilots testified at a January 2003 hearing that a ''hold fire'' order means a pilot should not attack. However, they also testified that a fighter pilot can disregard such an order if he believes he is under attack.

A U.S.-Canadian military investigation found that Schmidt should have flown out of the area instead of releasing the bomb.

Umbach was also charged with assault and manslaughter. Those charges were dismissed last summer and he was allowed to retire from the Air National Guard, as he had requested. <!--end story text-->

Killing canadians is illegal now? I always thought they had reservations and stuff, but the rest were fair game.

Erm, I don't think I'll be going back to Toronto for a little while...

In all seriousness though, he should have held his fire as was ordered. He took matters into his own hands and it ended up turning fatal. Keep him on the ground.