St. Louis Public Radio News
3:17 pm
Wed July 30, 2003

Judge postpones plea from Air Force pilot

Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana – An Illinois Air National Guard pilot is getting some more time to decide if he
wants a jury to decide his fate for a deadly friendly-fire bombing in Afghanistan.

Major Harry Schmidt is accused of dereliction of duty in the bombing, which killed four Canadian soldiers.

He could get six months in prison if convicted in a court-martial.

Schmidt had been expected to plead innocent, but asked for a deferral today to decide whether he wants a jury trial. A new court date is set for October.

Schmidt and fellow Illinois Air National Guard pilot Major William Umbach attacked the Canadians' position in April 2002. The
F-16 pilots said they mistook the Canadians for Taliban troops.

All charges have been dismissed against Umbach, the mission commander. He was given a letter of reprimand and allowed to
retire.