FFS...US squadron apologises for soldier's death
The squadron involved in the 'friendly fire' death of Lance Corporal Matty Hull, has apologised for the attack that killed him.
The pilots that fired on a group of armoured vehicles, were reservists from the Idaho National Guard's 190th Fighter Squadron who had never been in action before.
Both are now training junior airmen in diving and strafing in A-10 warplanes.
The case has prompted accusations of the MoD conspiring with the Americans in a cover-up of the circumstances of the death of the soldier from Windsor, Berkshire.
Major General Larry Lafrenz, the commanding general of the Idaho National Guard, said in a statement: 'The entire Idaho National Guard family extends our deepest sympathies to the family of Lance Corporal Hull and the coalition service member who was injured during this unfortunate accident.
'Military pilots are among the most skilled and highly trained, and take every precaution to avoid tragedies like this. However, in the uncertainty of a wartime environment, accidents can and do happen.'
He added: 'While nothing we can do will alleviate the grief of the Hull family, we can only continue to promise all concerned that our personnel will continue to receive the very best training that the Armed Forces have to offer, in an effort to minimise the potential for similar occurrences in the future.'
A US cockpit video and recording of the American pilots involved had been withheld from the inquest, but was leaked to a newspaper, prompting the Americans to agree that it could be shown to the coroner.
A transcript of the footage reveals that the pilots, a major and a lieutenant colonel say on several occasions they can see orange panels on top of the armoured vehicles beneath them, which were used to identify them as coalition, rather than Iraqi, forces.
But they convinced themselves that the orange panels were enemy rocket launchers and opened fire.
Mistakes do happen, but using these guys as instructors...