Springfield State Journal Register

April 25, 2002

Veteran pilot to co-chair bombing inquiry 


WASHINGTON — Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen T. Sargeant, a veteran F-16 pilot, will be the chief U.S. investigator looking
into why an Illinois Air National Guard F-16 fighter mistakenly dropped a bomb killing four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan,
Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

Sargeant, an Air Force Academy graduate, will join Canadian Brig. Gen. Marc Dumais, whose appointment was announced
Tuesday by Canadian officials, to head up the inquiry.

Sargeant is commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. The 56th Fighter Wing trains F-16 fighter
pilots, graduating more than 1,000 annually. Sargeant previously served as deputy executive secretary to the National Security

Meanwhile, an unnamed U.S. defense official was quoted in The Washington Post Wednesday as saying that preliminary
indications are that the incident may have involved an error in judgment by a pilot from the 183rd Fighter Wing of the Air
National Guard, which is based in Springfield. However, a Pentagon spokesman dismissed the report as mere speculation. 

The pilot, who has been grounded, has not been publicly identified.

Asked whether any procedures had been changed since the friendly fire incident last week, Air Force Brig. Gen. John W.
Rosa, planning director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Wednesday: "I can assure you that there’s been a thorough, thorough scrub into those procedures."

Rosa said no plans existed to reduce reliance on Air National Guard pilots in Afghanistan. Air guard pilots are "highly
experienced aviators, many of them professional airline pilots," he said.

Air guard pilots have flown about 20,000 sorties since Sept. 11, Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said.

Sargeant and Dumais, director general of force development at Canada’s National Defense Headquarters, are to be
"co-equals" in the investigation, Dumais told reporters in Ottawa on Tuesday. Sargeant and Dumais will sign the report that is to conclude their investigation. The report is expected within 30 to 60 days. The Canadians are conducting their own, separate investigation as well.