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C-17 Pilot Charged in Training Jump Death

197 posts in this topic

Posted

Surprised this hasn't been posted yet. Axle is a great dude and this is unfortunate.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/prime/2012/07/air-force-c17-pilot-charged-jump

-death-071812/

A C-17 pilot is facing a court-martial after the death of a National Guard paratrooper, who was killed during a training jump last year.

Capt. Jared S. Foley, of the 7th Airlift Squadron, 62nd Airlift Wing, is charged with three specifications of dereliction of duty in connection with the July 10, 2011, incident, said Maj Michael J. Meridith, a spokesman for 18th Air Force.

Foley was the aircraft commander when Army Sgt. Francis Campion jumped over Marshall Field at Fort Harrison, Mont. Campion was blown off target and onto a rooftop, when another gust of wind caught his parachute and caused him to fall 24 feet onto pavement.

Campion, 31, died of head and neck injuries, according to the local coroner. He was a member of the West Virginia National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group.

Foley is accused of "executing an additional airdrop when an off drop zone airdrop was suspected or confirmed, conduct likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm to parachutists," according to a summary of the charges.

He is also accused of going ahead with the airdrop following an off drop zone air drop without clearance from his operations group commander, the charge sheet says.

Foley's attorney, Capt. Sarah Carlson, declined to comment.

The charges were preferred against Foley on Jan. 11 and referred for trial on May 1, Meridith said. Foley's court-martial is slated for Aug. 28 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

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Posted

I've seen royal screw-ups that resulted in unintentional loss of life and none of the pilots had legal action taken against them. It seems that a Q3, FEB and a lifetime of guilt/second guessing would be ample punishment. Shitty situation for all involved.

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Posted (edited)

damn. This thing reeks of money and lawyers

Edited by barney
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Posted

Since I know nothing about airdrops: Is it standard if the first pass results in off DZ, you KIO and go home? I would just think you'd make corrections and still go for a 2nd pass. Not true?

I don't know if the pilot fucked up or not, but I do know jumping out of planes is hazardous and shit happens. I don't see how it's the pilot's fault the dude caught a gust of wind which resulted in his death. You don't want to risk dying while skydiving/static-lining, then don't do it. It's that simple...maybe not. Just seems really fucked up.

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Posted

It is standard procedure to KIO but sometimes its not clear that it was an off DZ drop. Even if it was that info doesn't always get communicated back to the jet prior to the next drop.

Some DZs have trees, water, and other obstacles on them such that if a guy lands in a tree, it still might not be on off DZ drop.

Sounds like some gusty winds may have been a factor here such that the jumpers got spread out. It could have been some time before someone found the guy who eventually didn't make it. I know nothing of this incident other that what is posted above, but sounds like leadership seems to think that the AC did know or was at least told of a possible off DZ drop. Even if it wasn't clear if the jumper landed off the DZ or was injured or not, conservatively speaking...just carry through and do another lap to give the guys on the ground time to confirm their story.

Bad day all around for sure.

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Posted

I know Jared and I'm sure he feels terrible. Very sad for all involved.

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Posted (edited)

It is standard procedure to KIO but sometimes its not clear that it was an off DZ drop. Even if it was that info doesn't always get communicated back to the jet prior to the next drop.

In my limited experience I've found that the Army will say or not say whatever it takes to keep the drops coming. Sadly their understanding of the risk and acceptance of the inherent danger are far greater than USAF's.

Axle is easily one of the top five most skilled and experienced Airdroppers on base. . . I throw up a little in my mouth when I think what I would have done with less experience and far less proficiency. This situation makes me question whether keeping the Airdrop Qual is worth the risk.

Edited by GearMonkey
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Posted

I flew with Axle during my time with the 7AS and I can say he is the model aviator that I try to emulate and pass on to my students. This trial reeks of some serious bullshit and I hope that he can recover from this somehow...

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Posted

I've seen royal screw-ups that resulted in unintentional loss of life and none of the pilots had legal action taken against them. It seems that a Q3, FEB and a lifetime of guilt/second guessing would be ample punishment. Shitty situation for all involved.

Welcome to world of AMC.

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Posted

brabus, on 19 July 2012 - 06:06 PM, said:

Since I know nothing about airdrops: Is it standard if the first pass results in off DZ, you KIO and go home? I would just think you'd make corrections and still go for a 2nd pass. Not true?

I don't know if the pilot ed up or not, but I do know jumping out of planes is hazardous and shit happens. I don't see how it's the pilot's fault the dude caught a gust of wind which resulted in his death. You don't want to risk dying while skydiving/static-lining, then don't do it. It's that simple...maybe not. Just seems really ed up.

The short answer is yes; at a minimum you don't do another airdrop. AFI 13-217 covers AF DZ operations, directly out of the reg: 2.21.1 When an off DZ airdrop has been confirmed or suspected, the aircrew invovled will not attempt another drop for the remainder of the mission. In the case of an off DZ drop involving injury or death to personnel, the mission will be terminated and the aircraft will land as soon as possible.

The pilot isn't being blamed/charged for this guy's death. Most DZ surveys include a blurb in the comments section that the user assumes responsibility for damage/injury to equipment and personnel. It seems like he's being charged for his actions/decision making process after the bad drop occured.

GearMonkey, on 19 July 2012 - 06:51 PM, said:

In my limited experience I've found that the Army will say or not say whatever it takes to keep the drops coming. Sadly their understanding of the risk and acceptance of the inherent danger are far greater than USAF's.

Axle is easily one of the top five most skilled and experienced Airdroppers on base. . . I throw up a little in my mouth when I think what I would have done with less experience and far less proficiency. This situation makes me question whether keeping the Airdrop Qual is worth the risk.

I would say that this varies greatly by the unit involved. Army/AF units that jump all the time generally are much more realistic about the inherent dangers involved in kicking guys out the back of airplanes and will set realistic no shit limits with regards to the risk they're willing to accept with training drops. Units that jump once a semi to get their jump pay or guys that just don't jump that often, thats a whole different story (the casualty from this was a Guard SF dude, I'd be curious to know if he was an A company guy or a B company guy, either way he probably didn't jump very often). FWIW, I think the pilot is getting a raw deal, I agree with the above post that a Q-3/loss of cert and living with the knowledge would be punishment enough. Bad situation for everybody involved.

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Posted

I don't know Axle or what his defense team consists of but for the love of God, please tell me he has a civilian military defense attorney. This stinks from all sides and he needs someone who can defend him in a court martial, yet not belong to the military.

http://www.ucmjdefense.com/

http://www.gslattorneys.com/representative-cases.asp

I recommend both of these firms, and please pass this along to him.

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Posted

You know exactly why this has not been posted yet.

Yes, Jared is a great dude and the AF is ######ing him over big time. The off DZ drop was an SF jumper with a steerable chute that went off DZ on purpose because he lost sight of the other jumpers. The DZCO and DZSO said he was cleared to continue. Yes, this is a gray area. What no one is saying is the guy killed, was killed on the DZ. He did not go off DZ, the building he hit was a marked hazard on the DZ.

Worst thing about all this shit is they are not bringing Gen Johns up on the same charges. He was just in the CENTCOM AOR getting in peoples way and went out to do a JPADS drop. He wanted it to be a success... Well, only one bundle exited the aircraft, the others got jammed. He asked the crew to clear the malfunction and try the drop again. They told him to EABOD.

So one guy was killed on the DZ and another went off DZ? Or was it the same dude? Either way I don't think the DZSO/DZCO has the authority to clear him back in; any sort of off DZ/injury to personnel means the airdrop is done for the day.

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Posted

So, did this guy refuse some other form of NJP to get to this point? Makes me think that at least he believes he has a good case.

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Posted

So one guy was killed on the DZ and another went off DZ? Or was it the same dude? Either way I don't think the DZSO/DZCO has the authority to clear him back in; any sort of off DZ/injury to personnel means the airdrop is done for the day.

Different guy. Yes we know the DZCO is not the waiver authority. That is why I said it was a gray area. They said the first guy was not really off DZ because he did it on purpose. The guy getting killed on the second drop was unrelated.

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Posted

damn. This thing reeks of money and lawyers

No SJAs or Commanders -- the people who actually push this kind of action -- make any extra money by doing it.

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Posted

Wow...just wow...probably a Q3 and an FEB but not dereliction of duty UCMJ punishment. No CC anywhere in his chain willing to stand up and fight for him based on his previous track record?

Just another line to add to the dear boss, I quit letter. Gen Welsh can't fix the type of person that gets through the wickets to O-6 and beyond that practices Cover My Ass leadership over anything else.

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Posted

Wow...just wow...probably a Q3 and an FEB but not dereliction of duty UCMJ punishment. No CC anywhere in his chain willing to stand up and fight for him based on his previous track record?

Just another line to add to the dear boss, I quit letter. Gen Welsh can't fix the type of person that gets through the wickets to O-6 and beyond that practices Cover My Ass leadership over anything else.

That was my thought - did the ARNG push to have him charged, or (more likely) the standard CYA maneuver by the CC?

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Posted

Worst thing about all this shit is they are not bringing Gen Johns up on the same charges. He was just in the CENTCOM AOR getting in peoples way and went out to do a JPADS drop. He wanted it to be a success... Well, only one bundle exited the aircraft, the others got jammed. He asked the crew to clear the malfunction and try the drop again. They told him to EABOD.

Confirmed.

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Posted

So, did this guy refuse some other form of NJP to get to this point?

No.

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Posted (edited)

fukking disgusting..

cant see a conviction here, based on what i know (not much)..

Edited by bagasticks
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Posted

Dude, if I was in the airdrop world, I would walk into scheduling and tell them don't bother putting me on the schedule for airdrops anymore, I don't want to go to jail. This is ######ed up - and will make every single dude questions every move they make. I'm serious, everyone should just let their currency die on that one...

Next we'll get courtmartialed when providing danger close munitions because someone got hurt....yea DUH

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Posted

Dude, if I was in the airdrop world, I would walk into scheduling and tell them don't bother putting me on the schedule for airdrops anymore, I don't want to go to jail.

Sure you would...

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Posted

The old towed parachutist NWC telling you not to let them slip back when attempting a retrevial came from the C-141. As I understood from the pilot, the USAF had to get the JAG up to Bragg quick as the Army was quite upset with the crew. The fatality deployed their reserve before they were either cut free or retreived. In the end, the aircrew all had awards and we had a new NWC in the regs.

Hope this works out. Having done drops large and small in training, I could see this happening, hope the true story and actual sequence of events clears the crew.

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Posted

I don't know Axle or what his defense team consists of but for the love of God, please tell me he has a civilian military defense attorney. This stinks from all sides and he needs someone who can defend him in a court martial, yet not belong to the military.

http://www.ucmjdefense.com/

http://www.gslattorn...ative-cases.asp

I recommend both of these firms, and please pass this along to him.

I'm going to quote myself again, and someone who knows him please pass this along. He's being hung out to dry, as we all know, and needs top notch folks to save his career, his family, and his pension if he decides to stay in.

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Posted (edited)

Have a friend who recoverd his retirement after getting railroaded. Bud Day, the POW, was his lawyer.

Butters, thanks for filling in the gaps on the 18 AF still being involved in pushing past initial court actions. You ever talk to Charlie S. @ LTS about that flight and ordeal w/ the C-141?

Might go into a dear boss letter, more effectively would be 69+ airdrop crewmembers turning in their airdrop quals. Glad I'm not active duty, as I am pretty sure I would have already done so and turned into the test pilot to see what happened next.

Pretty sure the AMC/CC is NOT the waiver authority to continue a drop after a malfunction, either. Especially when he is on the jet.

Edit to add Bud Day's website:

http://georgebuddaypa.com/index.htm

Edited by moosepileit
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