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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 29, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba Smith Green Families relieved reports find no fault with troops By Alison Auld Canadian Press TATAMAGOUCHE, N.S. — On the day his son would have turned 27, Lloyd Smith rose early and marched outside to raise three Hags in his memory. Hours later, two military reports condemned the American pilots who took his boy’s life. “This is a very special day for us,” Smith said after he lifted a Union Jack, a Canadian flag and hts son Nathan’s regimental banner from the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry skyward. “We raised these in his honour and will continue to fly them as long as we’re healthy enough to do so.” Smith and his wife Charlotte marked their son’s birthday yesterday by gathering with a small group of friends in their rustic home tucked in the hills of rural Nova Scotia. They then awaited two military officials who delivered the news they had been expecting, but not wishing to hear. Shortly before noon, the couple were handed a Defence Department report and told their son, known for his passion for military lore, books and flags, had been killed by a U.S. pilot who acted rashly and breached appropriate procedures. “We lost our son, we can’t bring him back, but if any good can come out of this it’s that there are ways to prevent this from ever happening again,” Smith said in his 100-year-old home, surrounded by pictures of Nathan in his military uniform and with his fiancee. The Canadian military released its report into the deaths of four Canadian soldiers who were killed when an American pilot dropped a 250-kilogram, laser-guided bomb as they were practising live-fire exercises near Kandahar. The Canadian investigation found the two F-16 fighter pilots — the bomber and his wingman — were the direct cause of the accident. The findings mirror the con clusions of an Amencan report released simultaneously yesterday that blamed the pilots. The most seriously hurt of eight injured soldiers said he was satisfied with the reports. “I was only looking for one thing, and that was to see if they were actually going to come forward and put responsibility on somebody, and they did,” Sgt. Lome Ford, who lost an eye and could still lose his injured leg, said from his home in Edmonton. Ford, who had to seek medical attention this week when his artificial eye put him in temble pain, said he doesn’t hate the pilots who made the mistake, but would like to see them acknowledge what they did. “I would like to see them come forward,” he said. “It’s been the way I’ve always been taught — if you do something wrong, you come forward and take it.” Yesterday’s official releases came more than a week after part of the U.S. report was leaked to the media. They only confirmed for some families of the soldiers what they had already suspected — that the Canadian troops acted properly and the accident was the fault of the U.S. pilots. “It doesn’t surpnse me,” Maureen Decaire, whose son Cpl. Brian Decaire was injured in the attack, said from her home in Winnipeg. “There was a mis-communication along the line and somebody messed up.” Smith, who last spoke to Nathan in February when he phoned to wish his mom happy birthday, said little would be accomplished by prosecuting the pilot, a member of an elite squadron with the Illinois Air National Guard. “If sending him to jail would bring my son back, I’d say do it,” Smith said moments after watching a televised briefing by Baril. “But my son’s death has got to mean more than that. Some good’s got to come out of it.” Soldiers confident in due process: Stogran KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Due process, rather than revenge, is at the top of the minds of most Canadian soldiers who found out two U.S. pilots are to blame for the bombing deaths of their four colleagues, their commanding officer said yesterday. But the more than 800 soldiers on the ground — who’ve taken pains to move beyond the April 18 friendly-fire incident — are confident that due process will prevail, Lt.-Col. Pat Stogran said. Soldiers weren’t surpnsed by the findings of two boards of inquiry, released yesterday, which concluded that two American pilots involved in the incident were “the direct cause” of the deaths. The reports also concluded that Canadian troops followed proper procedures dunng their nighttime, live-fire exercise, when one of the U.S. pilots mistook them for hostile forces and dropped a bomb. Although their suspicions have now been confirmed, soldiers are most interested in getting on with business, said Stogran. “We’re not here to seek revenge, or to satisfy our anger,” he said in his dusty office in the Kandahar airport terminal. “We’re all disciplined professionals in this ... and I think we’re all comfortable with the process taking its course.” Stogran wouldn’t comment on whether the U.S. pilots should be disciplined for their actions. “I’ve been living in fear of one of my soldiers shooting another one of my soldiers. And I would like to think that if negligence was involved, we would treat it in an impartial and unbiased manner and let justice take its course.” — Canadian Press Who's on I st WeCellWireless S’® Motorola TI 93 GSM Cell Phone • Free Internet Access (2 months) • $SU in store credit Free camp chair o KOCI KS 727-2381 • 650-1st st. • DAC., atte* rtbate, new .invitation requited BUiiaDisns CONClREI’rE: SERVING WESTMAN SINCE 1972 FOUNDATIONS GARAGE SLABS, DRIVEWAYS, ETC CALL SIOW FOR YOUR FREE ESY!!RRTE LET THE CONCRETE SPECIALISTS DO IT FOR YOU! 721-0575 OR 728-2259 How long will I wait? Patients are seen by a doctor in order of need, not time of arrival. Arriving by ambulance does not always mean you will be seen sooner than other patients. How long you wait will depend on: ■ how urgently you need care ■ how urgently others in the Emergency Room need care ■ how busy the Emergency Room is when you arrive Call 788-8200 in Winnipeg or toll-free 1-888-315-9257 health preventing illness and injury in Manitoba emergency care there for yowwhen you need it! & Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Off ice regional de la sant£ de Winnipeg mwooh mao**!. mjtnntmoKn Manitoba Health U.S. pilots blamed for deaths By John Ward Canadian Press CANADIAN PRESS Retired General Maurice Baril, head of the Canadian inquiry into the friendly fire incident, alongside Defence Minister John McCallum (left) and Chief of the Defence Staff Ray Henault address the media on the reports findings at a news conference in Ottawa yesterday. Baril said if someone claims selfdefence, they have to be prepared to prove it. The 225-kilogram, laser-guided bomb, which killed four and injured eight, was dropped moments after an airborne control plane told the F-16s not to fire. “The pilot’s actions were not consistent with either the expected practice for a defensive threat reaction or existing published procedures,” the Canadian investigation reported. “This represented a failure of ... airmanship and technique.” The American report was equally harsh: “The (inquiry) found the cause of the friendly fire incident to be the failure of the two pilots to exercise appropnate flight discipline, which resulted in a violation of the rules of engagement and an inappropriate use of lethal force.” The U.S. board, however, also cited “failings within the pilots’ immediate command structures” as contributing factors. Bani dismissed the idea of contributing factors. “The pilots... were the two individuals who were in a position to stop the chain of events that caused the death of our soldiers and that’s why we said unequivocally that they were the cause of the accident,” he told a news conference. The Canadian soldiers were cleared of any responsibility by both boards. “Canadian troops conducting the live-fire exercise followed all appropriate procedures and regulations,” Defence Minister John McCallum told a news conference. The U.S. report said the planes were on their way home after a long patrol when they saw what looked like “fireworks” on the ground and believed it was hostile fire. This was likely muzzle flashes and tracer trails from the Canadian exercise. The lead pilot requested and received permission to determine the precise coordinates of the fire. The second F-16 pilot then requested permission to fire his 20-mm cannon at the target, but an AWACS airborne control plane in the vicinity instructed him to “hold fire.” That pilot then declared that he was “rolling in in self-defence” and released the bomb. Baril said that even without the personal testimony of the pilots he was satisfied his board had access to all the documentation and testimony needed to draw solid conclusions. OTTAWA — Two separate military reports blame two American F-16 pilots for the deaths of four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, but the reports don’t explain why one pilot ignored a direct order and attacked. Parallel Canadian and U.S. inquiries said yesterday the pilots broke the rules and are directly responsible for the four deaths and eight injuries in the so-called friendly fire incident in April. The investigators explain how, where, when and what. But they don’t say why the airman bombed the Canadian night firing exercise even after he was told to hold his fire. Only the pilot — identified in published reports as Maj. Harry Schmidt of the Illinois air national guard — knows, and he’s not talking. He answered some written questions for the Canadian inquiry, but declined to appear in person. “We certainly would have loved to have the pilot in front of us but... there’s no capability for me as chairman of the board to compel the pilot to come in front of me,” said Maurice Baril, the retired general who led the Canadian investigation. Capt. James Key, the pilot’s lawyer, said his client didn’t know friendly forces were training in the darkness below him. The reports acknowledged that the pilots weren’t told about the exercise. “The pilot also followed the proper defensive procedures in place at the time,” Key said in a statement from a U.S. air base in Germany. “He believed that his and the other pilot’s lives were at stake, and he took defensive action.” It's not always easy to know if a medical problem needs emergency care. In some situations, emergency medical treatment is a must. Other conditions are best dealt with by your family doctor or at a local health clinic. How do poa decide? Understanding how an Emergency Room works may help you decide if you need to go there. When you arrive, a nurse will speak with you and decide the urgency and level of care you need: 1. Emergency Heart attack, major trauma, severe head injury, amputation, severe difficulty breathing (due to an allergic reaction or other cause), anytime a patient is unconscious, severe bleeding 2. Urgent Head injury but still awake, deep cut, foreign body in the eyes or ears, high fever in an infant or toddler, chest pain (not related to a known heart problem), signs of serious infection 3. Less Urgent Possible fracture/sprain, back pain, skin/wound infection, headaches (migraines) 4. Not Urgent Colds, minor cuts, bites, sore throat, sinus problems lf you think it's an emergency or urgent, don't hesitate! Are there other choices? Your family doctor, local health clinic or Urgent Care Centre (Winnipeg) may be a better choice to treat mild or chronic headaches, back pain, stomach pain; minor cuts or burns; colds, sore throat or sinus problems. What else can I do? ■ Ask about your family doctor's regular office hours and after-hours availability. Your doctor knows your family history best. Many provide 24-hour response to their patients. ■ Ensure you and your family have enough prescribed medication over holidays and weekends. ■ lf you have a chronic illness, keep your regularly scheduled appointments with your doctor. Be sure you understand your doctor s advice and ask what changes in your condition would require medical attention. If you're not sure, call HealthLinks -staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by registered nurses who can answer your questions. Congratulations! MNP congratulates Laurel Wood, MBA, CMC, who has been appointed Regional Advisory Services Partner, responsible for the overall operations of advisory services in the Manitoba region. With over 13 years of experience in professional services firms, she understands the challenges your-business faces and is focused on providing you with effective financial and business management solutions. Meyers Norris Penny offers a complete range of business advisory services, including business planning, insolvency, human resources consulting, IT. and corporate finance. Contact Laurel today at: 1-877*500-0795 or [email protected] Meyers Norris Penny LIP    * _ wk* MEYERS NORRIS PENNY CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS & BUSINESS ADVISORS ;