St. Louis Public Radio News
2:02 pm
Tue July 1, 2003

Air Force Drops Most Serious Charges Against Pilot

New Orleans, LA – The Air Force Monday dropped manslaughter and assault charges against a former Illinois Air National Guard pilot in the bombing of Canadian troops in Afghanistan last year that killed four.

St. Louis native Maj. Harry Schmidt will instead face dereliction of duty charges, which could bring six months in prison if convicted.

The charge accuses Schmidt of failing to follow the rules of engagement and 'willfully failed to exercise appropriate flight discipline over his aircraft.'

Schmidt and fellow Guardsman Major William Umbach attacked the Canadians' position on April 17th, 2002, from their F16s. The pilots claim they thought they were under attack from Taliban forces.