February 18, 2014

Danger Close: In case just about every one in America has forgotten (and they have), there's a war on.

And --as in all wars -- Mistaeks kan bee maid.

FUNKER530 » Military Videos & Veteran Community » 500 Pound Bomb Dropped on U.S. Soldiers By Mistake – INTERVIEW

Paktika Province, Afghanistan – After spotting Taliban forces on a distant ridge line, U.S. Army mortar teams engage with 60mm mortars. A simultaneous airstrike is called in which accidentally drops a 500 pound bomb on a U.S. Army infantry outpost, mistaking the position for Taliban fighters.
 
Luckily there were no friendly casualties in this incident. It is still unclear what caused the pilot to target the wrong position.

INTERVIEW:

Q: What events led up to this bomb drop, and what was going through your mind after the bomb hit?

A: We had been taking harassing sniper fire for a little over a month and could not find out where this guy was, so we were up in the OP, took a few rounds and battalion heard we were in a TIC. Then about a minute prior to being cleared hot we heard they were in route. We heard weapons free, they told us to get small, and I replied with “Yeah, I get small” sarcastically, and then it landed about 15m behind us.

Honestly we had dropped so many bombs up to that point that the thought never even crossed my mind that this could even happen, especially with all the checks put into place. About a half second before impact you could hear the bomb screaming in like I hadn’t ever heard before, and I definitely knew at that point something was off. After the initial realization that it had hit behind us, we were so scatter brained trying to figure out what happened. It hit so close to the guys in the tower it actually knocked the fill out of radios.

Then we went up to check on the rest of the boys. Luckily our First Sergeant called up and put everyone on stand to, inadvertently saving the lives of at least 3 soldiers who would have been in the bay that had shrapnel sent through every inch of it including shearing holes into weapons. Once the smoke had cleared and we realized that no one was seriously injured, we were just sitting there in awe as the anger started to build.

If it hadn’t been for the decision of the First Sergeant to bring everyone to “stand to”, three of our guys would have died in that wood building. His decision saved three of our men.

It is still unknown how this mistake happened or why the friendly location was mistakenly targeted.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at February 18, 2014 6:57 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

When it's a good thing our combat skills are being attrited by budget cuts, you know we in trouble!

The Air Horse never could hit anything, anyway.

See? Another sign the war is winding down: inter-service rivalry rears it's hoary head.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at February 18, 2014 7:22 PM

Not new. It's been going on since before the USAAF became the USAF. Attributed to a German soldier at Monte Cassino, WWII: "We bomb, British and Americans duck. British bomb, we duck. Americans bomb, everyone ducks."

Posted by: Fletcher Christian at February 18, 2014 9:52 PM

Well, the latrine's history, but that and a few eardrums appeared to be the worst casualties. Lucky. This could have been much worse. Although small by Air Force standards, a 500-lb. bomb is nothing to trifle with.

Posted by: waltj at February 19, 2014 8:14 AM

I recall that a number of years ago in the Stan there was an incident where a soldier used a laser target designator to define the coordinates of an enemy position, but then paused to replace the batteries in the target designator unit, before using it to send said coordinates to, IIRC, an orbiting B-1 bomber.

Unfortunately, despite training that emphasized this, the soldier forgot that when the power to the unit was interrupted and then restored, it in effect re-booted, and initialized to indicating not the last position recorded, but it's own current position, which it then sent to the B-1, which downloaded it to its own GPS - guided bomb load.

This mistaken chain of events did not have a happy ending.

Posted by: Ray Van Dune at February 19, 2014 6:12 PM
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