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Air Force Drops Charges in Mistaken Bombing Case

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Maj. Harry Schmidt.

By AP/KWMU

New Orleans – The Air Force said Thursday it will dismiss all criminal charges against an Illinois pilot who accidentally dropped a 500-pound bomb that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan.

The Air Force says Major Harry Schmidt of the central Illinois town of Sherman has accepted an offer to face administrative punishment. In exchange, four counts of dereliction of duty will be dropped.

Schmidt originally turned down the offer, saying he wanted to clear his name in a court-martial instead.

The charges against him will be dismissed after the Air Force holds administrative punishment proceedings, which will begin immediately.

Schmidt has said he dropped the bomb from his fighter jet in April of 2002 because he mistook the Canadians' live-fire exercises for an attack by Taliban soldiers.

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