- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Bruci il sistema
Tuesday, Apr. 01, 2003 at 3:58 PM
Form the english Times
'The Yank opened up. He had absolutely no regard for human life. He was a cowboy out on a jolly'
Patrick Barkham meets the "friendly fire" victims
THREE wounded British soldiers described yesterday how they survived a terrifying attack by an American anti-tank aircraft that killed one of their troop and destroyed two armoured vehicles.
One of the survivors criticised the American pilot for showing “no regard for human life” and accused him of being a cowboy who had gone out on a jolly.
Another survivor said that he had stumbled out of the burning wreckage of his light tank and waved frantically to the pilot of the low-flying A10 to try to halt his “friendly fire” as he returned to attack again.
The blunder, 35 miles north of Basra, left one soldier missing, presumed dead, and another in intensive care on the hospital ship RFA Argus. A sixth Household Cavalry soldier escaped without injury when the two Scimitar light tanks were destroyed.
Lieutenant Alex MacEwen, 25, Lance Corporal of Horse Steven Gerrard, 33, and Trooper Chris Finney, 18, were flown home last night with shrapnel wounds and burns. Before leaving the Argus they spoke of their bewilderment and anger that, despite flying very low over their heads, the A10 pilot apparently failed to recognise the coalition identification markings on their British-made tanks. Another vehicle in the five-strong convoy patrolling the marshes near the meeting of the Euphrates and Shatt al-Arab rivers bore a large Union Jack.
“All this kit has been provided by the Americans. They’ve said if you put this kit on you won’t get shot,” LCoH Gerrard said from his hospital bed on the Argus. “We can identify a friendly vehicle from 1,500 metres, yet you’ve got an A10 with advanced technology and he can’t use a thermal sight to identify whether a tank is a friend or foe. It’s ridiculous.
“Combat is what I’ve been trained for. I can command my vehicle. I can keep it from being attacked. What I have not been trained to do is look over my shoulder to see whether an American is shooting at me.”
The two Scimitars, followed by two armoured engineers’ vehicles and another Scimitar light tank, were on a “recce” of a road northwest of al-Dayr, 25 miles north of Basra in southern Iraq, on Friday. After coming under fire from Iraqi artillery, they were instructed to investigate a shanty town when another light reconnaissance tank troop captured several white pick-up trucks laden with armed Iraqis.
Troop leader Lieutenant MacEwen — who now has special plastic bags tied round his hands to treat his burns — described how the convoy tensed, fearing an ambush, as they watched villagers waving white flags approach from behind a large bank.
“My heart started pounding,” he said. “You could see the white flags above the bank, but you didn’t know whether they had any intention of surrendering or ambushing us.”
LCoH Gerrard, the commander of the leading tank, described “frightened and curious” villagers waving white flags. “I stuck my hand up and waved at them. I could see they were frightened. I felt sorry for them.” Suddenly, LcoH Gerrard heard the distinctive, relentless roar of an A10’s anti-tank gunfire. “I will never forget that noise as long as I live. It is a noise I never want to hear again,” he said.
“There was no gap between the bullets. I heard it and I froze. The next thing I knew the turret was erupting with white light everywhere, heat and smoke. I didn’t even have time to close my eyes or blink. I don’t know why I’ve still got hair or eyebrows.
“I felt I was going to burn to death. I just shouted, ‘Reverse, reverse, reverse’. My headset had come off. My gunner was screaming, ‘Get out, get out.’ I was out of the turret in milliseconds. How I got out of that hole I don’t know. Then I saw the A10 coming again and I just ran.
“I’ll never forget that A10. He was about 50 metres off the ground. He circled, because he can turn on a ten-pence. He came back around. He was no more than 1,000 metres away when he started his attack run. He was about 500 metres away when he started firing.
“On the back of one of the engineers’ vehicles there was a Union Jack. It’s about 18 inches wide by about 12 inches. For him to fire his weapons I believe he had to look through his magnified optics. How he could not see that Union Jack I don’t know. It was like Platoon. I was stood there on a little bank 25 metres away from my tank waving.”
The front two Scimitars, packed with ammunition, grenades, rifle rounds and diesel tanks, exploded into flames. Lance Corporal of Horse Matty Hull, 25, did not escape.
Trooper Finney was injured when the A10 returned for a second run. He said: “The plane came over again and it started shooting. I saw sparks coming from the ground or my leg. It didn’t hurt, it felt like someone had kicked me in the back of my leg. I felt warm down the back of my leg. Blood was spurting everywhere. I thought I was dead.”
LCoH Gerrard criticised the A10 for shooting when there were civilians so close to the tanks. He said: “There was a boy of about 12 years old. He was no more than 20 metres away when the Yank opened up. There were all these civilians around. He had absolutely no regard for human life. I believe he was a cowboy.
“There were four or five that I noticed earlier and this one had broken off and was on his own when he attacked us. He’d just gone out on a jolly.
“ I’m curious about what’s going to happen to the pilot. He’s killed one of my friends and he’s killed him on the second run.”
Lieutenant MacEwen described how he saw the A10 return after he stumbled, burning, from his flaming tank and ran for the cover of a reed bed on the marshes. “There was a horrible smell of what I though was something burning, but then I discovered it was a bit of my own eyebrows. That lingered with me for a good hour or two.”
He added: “After this I am quite pleased to be going home. ‘Blue-on-blue’ has always been one of my biggest fears. It is something that my friends and family joked about. ‘Don’t worry about the Iraqis, it’s the Americans you want to watch.’ The proof is in the pudding really.”
Report this post as:
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018
Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018!
Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A.
Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released
Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups
More Local News...
Un monde de pauvreté
14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head
Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy
Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies
Paraphysique de l'intelligence
Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record
Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals.
Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries
The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally!
The System Question as a Survival Question
Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control
Du pain et des jeux
Paraphysique de martyrologie
Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator
Democratic Socialists of America
Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's
Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento
FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution?
Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians
The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally!
Social Policy as Social Infrastructure
Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud
Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner..
June 2018 Honduras coup update
Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support
New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients
Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation
Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why
More Breaking News...