Here is TN-T coverage of yesterday’s testimony from Air Force Major (sel) Jared Foley:

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord pilot accused of dereliction of duty in the death of an Army paratrooper took to the witness stand Thursday to burnish his credentials as an experienced aviator and insist he believed he was following protocol when he approved what became a fatal airdrop.

Capt. Jared Foley,37,maintained there was no reason to cancel that airdrop because five previous passes over the same Montana air field had gone well according to the measurements he was reading on his aircraft and guidance he received from soldiers on the ground.

“The drop-zone controller is telling me everything is good on the ground,” Foley said.

On the sixth pass,Special Forces paratrooper Sgt. Francis Campion fell to his death when he was blown off course and struck a building.

9 Responses to “AF Pilot Testifies in Defense of Air Drop that led to Paratrooper’s Death”

  1. Cloudesley Shovell says:

    This (sel) cancer, which years ago afflicted only those in status-obsessed but useless corners of the military, must be killed dead.  There is no such thing as Rank (sel).  Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, quit using it. 
    Yours most humbly,
    CS

  2. k fischer says:

    Not guilty:  http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2012/12/jblm-court-martial-finds-c-17-pilot-not-guilty/

    I wish the cancer of requiring Officers and NCO’s to face courts martial in training deaths would also go away.  It’s bad for the family of the deceased, its bad for the morale of the unit, and its bad for the accused who I can guarantee is struggling with the death of a fellow Servicemember.  These are extremely costly cases for all parties involved, and there really is no upside to the Government winning the case. Plus, they will make a TDS counsel go bald or turn grey early.

  3. Dew_Process says:

    KF:  You forgot one other thing – drink heavily!

  4. Charlie gittins says:

    Training to do tactical entries; training to make parachute jumps; training with live rounds, flying airplanes at 200 feet AGL are all dangerous.  When people sign up for the hazardous duty pay, they accept the risk.  There are no perfect GPS systems and people often make mistakes spotting on parachute jumps.  Trying to criminalize mistakes in difficult training is a leadership mistake.  Time to send the CA to a place where he cannot further damage morale, training, or junior leaders. 

  5. Michael Lowrey says:

    Air Force Times story on the acquittal here.

  6. Cap'n crunch says:

    Net result of this: a/c commanders will be scrubbing drop training anytime anything is at all adverse or questionable. Better hope combat weather is never adverse, because troops won’t be trained for it.

  7. Charlie Gittins says:

    Once again, Air Force leadership proves themselves incompetent.  So a USAF pilot is not entitled to rely on the Army jumpmaster (very qualified parachutist) and ground controller who tells him ground conditions are appropriate to continue the mission.  Really?  Let’s start prosecuting DS generals who make mistakes.   

  8. Matt says:

    Of course, if the pilot had decided to NOT continue with the drop, after being given the green light from the ground, he probably would have been reprimanded for wasting valuable training time…  I have seen too many GOMARs for ridiculous situations to believe that could not happen.

  9. k fischer says:

    Meanwhile, 

    The Air Force was dealt another acquittal from an Airman who failed 3 PT tests:

    http://www.airforcetimes.com/prime/2012/12/PRIME-air-force-courtmartial-121712w/

    Anybody know the facts of this case and why this Airman faced a court martial?  (My guess is that he got charged with intentional dereliction of duty for intentionally failing the PT Tests, so he could be honorably discharged from the Air Force and go to college.)