The base commander here has decided against a court-martial for two artillery gunners whose errant round last Sept. 27 killed 3 soldiers and wounded 24.
Army investigators had charged the two cannoneers, Sgt. Edward C. Tyler of Washington and Specialist Nickoles W. Holly of Canton, Ohio, with dereliction of duty and negligent homicide, counts that could have resulted at court-martial in 15 months' confinement, loss of wages and bad-conduct discharges.
But on Friday the base commander, Maj. Gen. Raphael J. Hallada, announced that a court-martial would not be ''appropriate.'' He said he had based his decision ''on the evidence, on the spotless records of Tyler and Holly and on my determination that the accident was a tragic mistake resulting from a momentary violation of safety procedures rather than a criminal act.''
The investigators had found that during a firing exercise with a 105-millimeter howitzer, Specialist Holly was to remove excess powder bags for the firing of a lesser charge and was to display the bags to his section chief, Sergeant Tyler. The inquiry concluded that Specialist Holly had failed to do this with one round and that Sergeant Tyler had not caught the error. The result was that the round landed on a nearby rifle range, where it exploded near a group of 80 soldiers who were lined up in formation.
But General Hallada said, ''I was not convinced a jury would find that Holly and Tyler blatantly disregarded what a reasonably careful person would have done under the circumstances.''
The general said he had met with the two cannoneers and their commanding officers to review the actions that led to the accident. ''The two soldiers know that they caused the accident.'' he said. ''The officers know that this happened on their watch. These were very emotional meetings. Every one of them would give anything to have that round back.''
A more recent incident, which should read "artillery incident
results in death of Don Gato." Then
again, we just killed a cougar on the North Side of Chicago -
Misfired Artillery Hits Home, Hurts Cat
3 days ago
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) A piece of artillery that
was apparently misfired by the military crashed through the roof of a home
miles away Friday and injured a young girl's cat, which had to be euthanized,
No people were injured when the 2-pound piece hit the
Jefferson Township home about 2 1/2 miles from the Picatinny Arsenal and landed
in the girl's bed, said Peter Rowland, arsenal spokesman. She wasn't home, but
her cat was sleeping on the bed.
. . .
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