June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (2024)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0001 - 08/13/14

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  • commenced clearing operations

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (3)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0001 - 08/13/14

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (4)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0002 - 08/13/14

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (5)

SECRET//RTUIN

Investigation Report of the Fixed Wing Close Air Support Airstrike In the Vicinity of Arghandab, Afghanistan on 9 June 2014

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0004 - 08/13/14

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (7)

SECRET//RTUIN

i

Investigation Report of the Fixed Wing Close Air Support Airstrike In the Vicinity of Arghandab, Afghanistan on 9 June 2014

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

(S//RTUIN) On 8-9 June 2014, Operational Detachment – Alpha (ODA) conducted OPERATION in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM – AFGHANISTAN (OEF-A) in the vicinity of Gaza Valley in Zabul Province, Afghanistan.The operation was designed to disrupt insurgent activity and improve security for local polling stations within the Arghandab District, in advance of the Afghan runoff elections. The operation was led by Afghan security forces, including the Afghan District Chief of Police, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) District Chief, and the Afghan National Army (ANA) 2nd Kandak, with support from ODA , a

element, and several other US elements.

(S//RTUIN) OPERATION commenced with the ground tactical movement of key elements (e.g., ODA , and Task Force (TF) ) from FOB

to FOB where the ODA conducted a Key Leader Engagement with the ANA leadership. At approximately 0230L on 9 June 2014, Coalition forces landed at three infiltration Helicopter Landing Zones (HLZs) in the vicinity of the Gaza Valley.

(S//RTUIN) Clearing operations began at approximately 0430L, starting from the northwest, turning left and then moving in a southeasterly direction through the valley.Due to constraints placed on Coalition forces (including a ban on non-Afghan forces entering Afghan compounds), the primary clearing force was ANA soldiers with US and

elements in a supporting role. As soon as the commenced clearing operations, indicated that insurgents in the area were reporting on Coalition movements and were planning to attack. During the day, while were clearing, the southeastern most position was attacked with harassing small arms fire described as “pop shots”; the enemy fire stopped after returned fire.

(S//RTUIN) Following clearing operations, Coalition forces began moving into their Pick-Up Zone (PZ) Posture locations shortly after 1900L. The three tactically-driven PZ Posture locations were approximately from their respective exfiltration HLZs. The Ground Force Commander , the Team Sergeant , and the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC, call sign ) were all co-located at the position near HLZ , which was over one kilometer southeast of position near HLZ .

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (8)

SECRET//RTUIN

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(S//RTUIN) , the B-1B tasked with providing armed overwatch during exfiltration, arrived on station and established a five-mile orbit around the friendly positions at an altitude block of Mean Sea Level. At 1922L,

passed grids for three friendly locations to and stated that all friendlwere located within 100 meters of these three exfiltration HLZs. then asked

to search three suspected enemy locations.

(S//RTUIN) At 1949L, reported that (located in a valley) was receiving enemy fire assessed to be from the west of their position at a distance of about 450 meters. The Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (“ reported “troops in contact” to via and provided an updated grid for their location.

(S//RTUIN) At 1951L, on the situation, stating that friendly forces at the previously-passed grid were taking “effective fire.” identified muzzle flashes at the reported friendly location and stated that it appeared the flashes were “pointing out to the west.” confirmed the friendly muzzle flashes and direction of fire.

(S//RTUIN) As returned fire, decided to mitigate the risk of remaining in low ground by splitting the element and maneuvering a team to higher ground. Five individuals split from ( later joined them), climbed to higher ground near their location, and began engaging suspected enemy locations.

(S//RTUIN) At 1954L, gave a suspected enemy location at 230 degrees and 500 meters away, restating that the friendly position is taking “effective fire.” informed that they saw “muzzle flashes approximately 200 meters from the friendlies” and then clarified that the muzzle flashes appeared to be coming at “approximately 230 degrees for 150 meters,” which was quickly corrected to 300 degrees for 150 meters. asked whether there were “any IR strobes” in its sensor, to which replied “negative IR strobes.”affirmed and advised to stand by for the 9-line brief, which is the formal targeting brief used to initiate CAS.

(S//RTUIN) Between the time that the element began receiving fire and the time the grid was passed targeting the ridgeline location, was informed that a team from

had moved to higher ground in an attempt to maneuver on the enemy. This movement of friendly forces was not effectively communicated between ,

, which led to incorrectly identifying and accepting the muzzle flashes at grid as enemy activity.

(S//RTUIN) Because the Sniper Pod on the B-1B is technologically incapable of detecting IR strobes, reported lack of visible IR strobes presented a false negative regarding whether friendlies were on the ridgeline. crew, ,

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (9)

SECRET//RTUIN

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and ODA incorrectly believed that sensors were capable of detecting IR strobes. Believing that element was receiving “effective fire”, approved targeting grid . had authority under the Rules of Engagement (ROE) to approve dropping bombs in self-defense.

(S//RTUIN) At 2001L, passed a 9-line brief that incorrectly reported that the nearest friendly location was 300 meters to the west – rather than the previously-reported location about 150 meters southeast of the ridgeline – and requested delivery of two GBU- bombs with a 5 millisecond delay. It took approximately 21 minutes for to execute four passes and deliver a pair of bombs. At 2121L, the two bombs landed on the targeted ridgeline.

(S//RTUIN) Almost immediately after the bombs impacted, realized that the bombs may have landed near friendly forces. When elements from

ODA searched for survivors, they learned that five US soldiers and one ANA soldier (SSG Jason MacDonald, SSG Scott Studenmund, SPC Justin Helton, CPL Justin Clouse, PVT Aaron Toppen, and SGT Gulbuddin Ghulam Sakhi) had climbed to the ridgeline and none of them survived the strike.

(S//RTUIN) Members of the original task force and the QRF/ARF conducted an exhaustive search around the strike location to recover remains and equipment. The search lasted nearly three hours and extended out to about 50-75 meters from the impact location. After recovering remains believed to be from five bodies, the ODA and QRF leadership assessed that the sixth body was unrecoverable, likely incinerated by the blast; they halted the search and exfiltrated all forces. The next day, remains from the sixth body were recovered. A ramp ceremony was held at Kandahar Air Field for all six soldiers killed during OPERATION before their remains were flown to Dover Air Force Base for identification, repatriation, and delivery to next of kin. Memorial services were also held at SOTF-S (Kandahar Air Field) and FOB .

(S//RTUIN) All participants in the CAS employment process are responsible for its safe and effective execution.

Though this was a challenging set of circ*mstances, had the team executed standard tactics, techniques and procedures and communicated effectively, this incident was avoidable.

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (10)

SECRET//RTUIN

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(S//RTUIN) Notwithstanding the tragic loss of six Coalition soldiers, OPERATION disrupted insurgent activity and improved security within the Arghandab

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (11)

SECRET//RTUIN

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Investigation Report of the Fixed Wing Close Air Support Airstrike In the Vicinity of Arghandab, Afghanistan on 9 June 2014

1. (S//RTUIN) On 10 June 2014, the Commanding General of US Central Command directed an investigation into the airstrike by a Coalition fixed-wing aircraft conducting Close Air Support (CAS) in the vicinity of Arghandab, Afghanistan on 9 June 2014 that was alleged to have resulted in the deaths of five US soldiers and one Afghan soldier.1 In accordance with the Appointment Order, this Report contains the Investigating Officer’s findings and recommendations.

OPERATION

2. (S//RTUIN) On 8-9 June 2014, Operational Detachment – conducted Operation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – Afghanistan (OEF-A) in the vicinity of Gaza Valley in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. Operation was designed to disrupt insurgent activity and improve security for local polling stations within the Arghandab District, Zabul Province in advance of the 14 June 2014, Afghan runoff elections.2

3. (S//RTUIN) Operation was led by Afghan security forces, including the Afghan District Chief of Police, the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) District Chief, and the Afghan National Army (ANA) 2nd Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 205th

CORPs. Operation was supported by ODA with additional support from their formally partnered element and other Coalition elements, including a Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) from the Special Tactics Squadron (STS) (call sign ), soldiers from Task Force Lethal (“TF ”), and a B-1B Lancer (call sign ), the fixed-wing CAS asset that supported the exfiltration.3

1 Appendix A, Page 1 (A1).

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (12)

SECRET//RTUIN

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Pre-Mission Planning, Briefs & Preparations

4. (S//RTUIN) In preparation for Operation , ODA revised a CONOP for disruption and clearance operations in the Gaza Valley that had been previously created but never actioned.4 In accordance with properly-delegated authority, the final CONOP was approved by the Commander of Special Operations Task Force – South (SOTF-S) at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.5

5. (S//RTUIN) ODA conducted mission planning, in part, by analyzing the historic and current threat assessment of the Gaza Valley, which indicated that the majority of the local population was from the Kakar Tribe and are assessed as being pro-Taliban. The overall threat assessment in the Gaza Valley was assessed as medium because no small arms fire (SAF) incidents were reported there in the preceding 180 days; however, insurgent capability was assessed to include small arms (AK-47), PKMs (Russia-made light machine gun), Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) devices.6

6. (S//RTUIN) The enemy’s Most Likely Course of Action (MLCOA) was assessed to be primarily passive observation of the Coalition’s movements, although insurgents were known to use harassing fire to cover their own departure from objective areas in the Gaza Valley. For the enemy’s Most Dangerous Course of Action (MDCOA), the assessment was that the insurgents would use SAF, PKMs, and RPGs to attack Coalition Forces from pre-established fighting positions and would use IEDs along primary and secondary infiltration and exfiltration routes.7

7. (S//RTUIN) In the 180 days preceding this operation, the following enemy activity was reported within 7 kilometers of the objective area (slightly beyond the Gaza Valley):

.8

8. (S//RTUIN) ODA solicited and incorporated planning input initially from the 2nd ANA Kandak stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) and incorporated planning with the other supporting elements, including , TF

and EOD.9 On 3 June 2014, the ODA conducted a Key Leader Engagement

4 B23 5 “Clearing” or “clearance operations” are tactical terms that describe the process of searching compounds and surrounding areas for enemy forces and/or equipment. D1. 6 D1-2. 7 D2.8 D2.9 C113; D1; D5; and D7.

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (13)

SECRET//RTUIN

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(KLE) with ANA and provincial leaders at FOB , during which the Afghan leadership approved executing the operation.10

Figure 1: Map of Arghandab District, Zabul Province

9. (S//RTUIN) The CONOP included a scheme of maneuver plan (with the infiltration and exfiltration locations, the blocking/overwatch locations, control measures), a Concept of Fires (CoF) plan, a communication plan, and a Gridded Reference Guide (GRG).11 While the entire plan was not formally rehearsed, it was briefed to all elements at FOB and there were discussions between ANA and ODA leadership following the CONOP brief to clarify various aspects of the plan.12

10. (S//RTUIN) ODA only conducted deliberate rehearsals for the Pickup Zone (PZ) Posture infiltration and exfiltration aspects of the operation.13 ODA saw these

10 D23. 11 D1-D20. 12 D26; B23. 13 C113. “PZ Posture” is a specific formation that is used to facilitate accountability and security prior to the arrival of a rotary wing exfiltration asset. While ODAs are taught to conduct full dress rehearsals, time

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (14)

SECRET//RTUIN

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aspects as critical because of the diverse elements participating in the operation and the complexity of working with multiple partner nations.14 A full dress rehearsal was not conducted for this operation.15

11. (S//RTUIN) The assigned JTAC, , arrived in Afghanistan on 1 June 2014 and joined ODA 48-72 hours prior to this operation.This was first operation with ODA , but he believed it was a standard CONOP based on his experience supporting Special Forces’ missions during previous deployments.16

12. (S//RTUIN) , the Ground Force Commander (GFC) and ODA Team Leader (call sign ), determined he would handle all “up and out” communications with higher authority, SOTF-S, while the ODA TeamSergeant, , would battle track friendly positions and provide updates to .17

13. (S//RTUIN) was the primary JTAC supporting ODA , but as the GFC agreed that a JTAC qualified 18E assigned to ODA (call

sign would play a supporting role during the operation.18 The plan was for to operate alongside with the

, while operated with .19

14. (S//RTUIN) created the GRGs that were included with the CONOP and distributed miniaturized GRGs to key personnel, including

and SSG Jason McDonald (call sign “Bravo 1”), the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) for , for their reference during the mission.20 These pocket-sized GRGs (maps) of the objective area were intended to be a quick-reference tool during the operation, but they did not include marking of key locations (e.g.,

permitting, for all aspects of planned operations (see, e.g., JP 3-09.3, Ch. 3, para . 4.b(4)(k) at G67 and Ch. 4, para. 2 at G109; GTA 31-01-003 p. 2-49 at G689). 14 B31 15 ODA appears to have had established TTPs based on their previous combat experiences that led them to focus rehearsals on aspects of the operation that involved the most interaction with their Coalition partners and, thus, involved the most coordination challenges. There is no evidence that time constraints prevented additional dress rehearsals here. B23;B35. 16 joined the US Air Force in 2005, first became a JTAC in 2008, and previously deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2008, 2009, and 2010. B22; B31; C4. 17 B31; B35; D10. 18 B24; B31. 19 The 18E is the communications expert on an ODA; each ODA ideally has at least one soldier who receives CAS training at Special Operations Terminal Attack Controller Course (SOTACC) or the Expeditionary Warfare Training Group (EWTG) and supports CAS as a collateral duty. D1; B24; B31; B51.20 B22; B23.

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was not marked on the GRGs as it essentially fell between two pages).21

also distributed his GRG products to SOTF-S, which in turn loaded the GRGs onto their fires portal for reference by supporting elements, including CAS aircrews.22

15. (S//RTUIN) submitted an Air Support Request (ASR) for the following type of air assets to support both the infiltration and exfiltration phases of this operation: an Electronic Warfare platform, an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform, and two fixed-wing CAS platforms.23

16. (S//RTUIN) At 1120L, about three hours prior to their scheduled takeoff of 1420L, received a pre-mission brief from their Ground Liaison Officer (GLO) and a threat assessment from their Intelligence Officer.24 Pursuant to ASR number

was tasked to support Operation by providing armed overwatch during the exfiltration between 1920-2120L.25 Before supporting Operation

was tasked with supporting XCAS 1730-1920L and a Priority mission (PRI), which culminated with a Show of Force (SoF).26

17. (S//RTUIN) aircrew found the mission brief for Operation to be standard. After the mission brief, the aircrew conducted their crew brief, which covered specific responsibilities and Crew Resource Management (CRM) emphases, including SNIPER-B tasks (reference 37 BS Tiger Standards), Emergency Procedure contingencies, and Knock-It-Off (KIO) procedures (which included a discussion on “words to honor” such as Climb, Go Around, Withhold, and Abort).27

Mission Execution

18. (S//RTUIN) Operation commenced at approximately 1000L on 8 June 2014 with the ground tactical movement of key US elements (ODA , TF

, JTAC, EOD, and MWD Team) from FOB to FOB (see Figure 1).28

21 C107-C112. 22 C7. 23 D102-108. 24 C7. 25 D124. 26 take off time was local time at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. All times in this Report are in the local time zone (D) for Operation , which is + 4 hours 30 minutes from UTC (Zulu). ultimately supported XCAS by conducting an aerial search of some areas of interest (AOI) and performing a SoF over the designated AOI which met the ground commander’s intent. D124; Video-25:00. 27 Crew Resource Management (CRM) refers to training procedures and tactics which are designed to mitigate the effects of human error in the co*ckpit and maximize communication, leadership, and decision making. B1; B5. 28 D26, C114.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0013 - 08/13/14

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19. (S//RTUIN) Approximately hours later, the ground convoy arrived at FOB and conducted a KLE with the ANA 2nd Kandak leadership, as well as continued

planning and mission preparation with the ANA soldiers.29 The KLE focused on the CONOP and recent enemy activity in the vicinity of the Arghandab District, including a report of an attack with SAF and a DSHKA (a Russian-made heavy machine gun) against a newly-formed ANA checkpoint.30

20. (S//RTUIN) The ANA 2nd Kandak leadership informed ODA that they could only provide about ANA soldiers, rather than the soldiers requested, because they were required to station more forces at checkpoints and polling sites in support of the Afghan election security plan.31 reasonably assessed that he still had the forces necessary to successfully execute the operation.32

21. (S//RTUIN) After completing planning and preparation with the ANA, ODA conducted a rest plan, finalized mission preparations, and awaited the arrival of

CH-47s “Chinooks” that would facilitate their movement by air during infiltration.33

Figure 2: Operation Scheme of Maneuver

22. (S//RTUIN) At 0115L on 9 June 2014, mission elements were moved into PZ Posture at FOB to await the arrival of the Chinooks at approximately 0215L. Once 29 B35; D26-27. 30 D26-27. 31 B31;D26. 32 B31.33 D5; D7; D27.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0014 - 08/13/14

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the Chinooks arrived, the mission elements boarded the helicopters and conducted the approximately 15-minute flight to the planned Helicopter Landing Zones (HLZs).34

23. (S//RTUIN) The three infiltration HLZs for the operation (mapped in Figure 2) were

24. (S//RTUIN) was inserted at and was co-located with for the duration of the mission.36 Air assets supporting the infiltration included an 37

25. (S//RTUIN) Once on the ground, moved to occupy their respective northern and southern “blocking” positions while

to begin the clearance operation.39

26. (S//RTUIN) After arrived at the northern blocking position and assessed the terrain, the element decided to split into two sections – one group went to the ridgeline to the northwest, while the remainder of the element went to the ridgeline to the southeast of the original location. The original blocking position for was on one of the two ridgelines, so the rationale for the split was to provide better coverage for the clearing element while remaining mutually supportive. The two groups remained close enough to each other during the clearance operations that they could communicate without radios if necessary.40

27. (S//RTUIN) Clearance operations began at approximately 0430L, starting from the northwest, turning left and then moving in a southeasterly direction through the

34 Minus , which was tasked with vehicle security at FOB . D6-7; D27; B30. 35 The Grid coordinates for HLZ , for HLZ they were

, and for HLZ they were . “Blocking” is defined in US Army Field manual 4-01.45 as an advanced tactical technique to physically block a road to prevent traffic from passing, while “overwatch” is defined by FM 3-90-2 as a “movement technique used when contact with the enemy is expected …[and an] overwatching element is positioned to support the moving unit by fire or fire and movement.” However, Special Forces soldiers often use the term “blocking” to describe overwatch positions as well as true blocking positions, as the members of ODA did here during their interviews with the Investigating Officer. D6-7; D27; B32; B35. 36 B31: D1; D11. 37 D17.

D27; B32. 40 B41; B47.

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valley.41 Due to constraints placed on Coalition forces (including a ban on non-Afghan forces entering Afghan compounds), the primary clearing force was ANA soldiers with US and elements in a Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) role.42

28. (S//RTUIN) exerted considerable effort throughout the day managing the movements of the ANA soldiers who were not well disciplined in their clearing techniques. For example, had to re-direct ANA soldiers several times to clear areas they had passed without clearing and he had to warn the ANA about taking excessive breaks (attributable at least in part to the heat, which surpassed 100° F).43

29. (S//RTUIN) As soon as clearance operations commenced, indicated that insurgents in the area were reporting on Coalition movements and were planning to attack.44 During the day, while were clearing, the southern position was attacked with harassing SAF (described as “pop shots”). The SAF stopped after returned fire and no further enemy contact was reported by .45

30. (S//RTUIN) After arrived at their final overwatch position below the military crest of the hill (just below the ridgeline), the SOT-A team picked up indications that some of the was coming from the Kuchi camps in the valley.46 Thus,

assessed that the Kuchi in the area were reporting on the Coalition movements and were not to be trusted.47

31. (S//RTUIN) Shortly after 1900L, all elements began moving towards their PZ Posture locations (identified on Figure 2), which were tactically-driven locations about 100 meters from their respective exfiltration HLZs.48

were to be co-located at the position near HLZ , which was over one kilometer southeast of position near HLZ .49

During this phase of the operation, the intent was to move all personnel down from the high ground in preparation for exfiltration while maintaining accountability and security.50

41 D1; D6. 42 B32; B35;D20. 43 B32; C113. 44

B32.

47 final overwatch location was at grid coordinates . Kuchis are Afghan nomads, primarily Pashtun, that live in tents and move freely between Afghanistan and Pakistan. D27; B32.48 B32; B35; E2; D6. 49 D6. 50 B39; B41; D27.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0016 - 08/13/14

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32. (S//RTUIN) At 1915L, checked in with to provide armed overwatch during exfiltration.51 established a five-mile orbit (see Figure 3) around the friendly positions and was cleared into the Restricted Operating Zone (ROZ) at an altitude block of 16,000-17,000 feet Mean Sea Level (~12K Above Ground Level), maintaining about 400 knots, using right-hand turns in order to keep a clear line of sight for the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (“Sniper Pod”).52 request for a lower altitude was denied by due to the presence of an unmanned aircraft in their requested airspace.53

Figure 3: Map Showing Orbit During Operation

33. (S//RTUIN) and the were the only air assets initially on station. After “troops in contact” was declared, the was ordered outside of the Restricted Operating Zone (ROZ).54

51 E1. 52 E1-2. 53 checked in with after conducting a SoF about 80 nautical miles away. The aircrew conducted a SNIPER-B check enroute to the killbox and arrived on station at about 1910L, establishing good two-way communication with six minutes later. E-4; B1; B9; B15. 54

, so it was moved out of the ROZ in order to give priority to , the CAS aircraft, after “troops in contact” was declared. D16-17; C115.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0017 - 08/13/14

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34. (S//RTUIN) established communications and had positive authentication with , until checked on at about 2012L.55 requested a Fighter to Forward Air Controller (FAC) brief from and received all pertinent information including establishment of an abort code.56

35. (S//RTUIN) At 1917L, passed the following situation update:

We’re overlooking element that’s sweeping through a valley. Threats are small arms, MANPADs [man-portable air defense systems], and possible DSHKA [Russian-made machine gun]. Threats are hostile intents against any ground force. We have at three different locations.Ground Force Commander is call sign . Plan is to Exfil at 2120, three different HLZs. Break.57

36. (S//RTUIN) At 1922L, passed 6-digit grids for three friendly locations, each within 100 meters of HLZ , HLZ , and HLZ , and added that friendly forces would move into PZ Posture within 100 meters of the HLZs no later than an hour before the 2120L Exfil time. then established a sensor allocation plan and asked to check out three Named Areas of Interest (NAIs) for suspected enemy locations.58 The NAIs were provided during the day by SOT-A and the ODA leadership.59

37. (S//RTUIN) copied, read back each of the six-digit grids passed, and placed them in the Pod as waypoints.60 Offensive Systems Officer (OSO) placed his sensor on the friendlies at only one of the three friendly grids (HLZ

provided because he believed priority was searching the NAIs for enemy activity.61 scanned the three NAIs from about 1925L to 1940L before reporting to that they “didn’t see anything out of the ordinary” but would continue scanning.62 attributed the reduction in visible insurgent activity to

55 E1-E2; E7. 56 E1-2. 57 E1. 58 E2. 59 Within a 100-meter tolerance of the actual location; the three friendly grids were

E2; B25; B32; B51.60 B9; E2. 61 B9. 62 E2.

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the presence of aircraft overhead, saying “historically when they hear aircraft come over, they keep it down; the stops as well.”63

38. (S//RTUIN) There were communications problems throughout the mission, which caused several missed transmissions between . suggested shifting their orbit northward to mitigate further communications degradation due to terrain while on the East side of the orbit (see Figure 3), which approved.64

39. (S//RTUIN) At 1939L, advised that all elements were moving to their PZ Posture locations in preparation for exfiltration. requested air refueling guidance, and responded that would check on in 35 minutes, so that would be the best time to depart for aerial refueling.65

40. (S//RTUIN) (located in a valley) began receiving SAF from a ridgeline assessed to be from a polar plot to the west (reportedly 260 degrees) of their position at a distance of approximately 450 meters.66 reported enemy contact and provided an updated grid for their element’s location to

.67

41. (S//RTUIN) At 1949L, reported to that friendly forces were taking “pop shots” and passed the grid for confirmed the coordinates by readback.68 Notably, was the only element which reported enemy contact from this time through the end of the mission; believed the element was receiving fire from at least two positions.69 As shown in Figure 2, were over one kilometer southeast, while was approximately two kilometers east/southeast of the location.70

42. (S//RTUIN) The element returned fire and SSG McDonald decided to mitigate the risk of remaining in low ground during the “troops in contact” (TIC) by splitting the element and moving a team to higher ground to maneuver on the enemy (see Figure 4).71 Five individuals (SSG Scott Studenmund,

63

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B15; B25.64 E2; B1; B5; B16; B26-28. 65 E3. 66 D27. 67 provided their updated grid coordinate as 68 E4. 69 B32. 70 E4; B26; B32; D6. 71 B41; B47.

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, CPL Justin Clouse, PVT Aaron Toppen, and SGT Gulbuddin Ghulam Sakhi) split from and began to move up the hill.72

43. (S//RTUIN) When he was about halfway up the hill, was called verbally by SSG McDonald and instructed to return to because radio was nonresponsive due to a dead battery. SSG Studenmund’s radio was also not responsive due to a broken Push-to-Talk function. SSG McDonald wanted to have communications with the element, so he sent SPC Justin Helton up the hill to be the communications link between 73

44. (S//RTUIN) Another volley of enemy fire started, and began returning fire while SSG McDonald called in to that was taking “effective fire.” SSG McDonald then began to provide cover for the maneuvering element by returning fire towards the areas he believed the enemy fire had originated from – in the words of

, SSG McDonald grabbed an M320 grenade launcher and while exposed to enemy fire and began “laying on fire to both hills where we were getting fire from.”74

72 B41; B47; B55; B59. SGT Sakhi was a rifle squad leader from

Afghanistan and a member of the ANA 2nd Kandak. The photograph in Figure 4 was taken by with notations added to document his descriptions provided during his interview. 73 B47. T radio had died and he did not have a spare battery. 74 While and apparently SSG McDonald believed was receiving effective fire from at least two different areas, believed the enemy fire may have originated from just one moving enemy fighter. B26-27; B32; B35; B41; B47; B39; B55.

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Figure 4: Split Positions

45. Upon arriving at the top of the hill, the engaged suspected enemy locations to the west with their organic weapons systems, which included a machine gun, a grenade launcher, and rifles.75 SSG Studenmund had a functional Infra-red (IR) strobe affixed to the back of his helmet.76

46. (S//RTUIN) At 1951L, reported to that friendly forces from the previously-passed location were taking “effective fire.” identified muzzle flashes at the reported friendly location and stated that it appeared they were “pointing out to the west.” confirmed the muzzle flashes and direction of fire.

to use its sensor to find the location of the enemy fire, although he did not initially provide a range and bearing from the friendly position.77

47. (S//RTUIN) At 1954L, gave a suspected enemy location at 230 degrees at 500 meters distance and restated that friendly forces were taking “effective fire.” designated the updated grid location as a waypoint in the Pod system, and scanned the location, but did not identify any activity in that area.78

48. (S//RTUIN) Moments later, reported good “handshake,” although Video Downlink (VDL) was intermittent and again asked if had seen anything at the range and bearing given. At 1954L, as moved its Sniper Pod westward,

(viewing the asked “you picking up anything over there?” Then the following exchange occurs:

: “I see some muzzle flashes, approximately 200 meters from the friendlies. They’re on top of the ridgeline. Approximately 230 for 150 meters”

: “Affirm, I’m copying, from friendlies, 230 degrees, 200 meters there’s enemy personnel engaging them, is that correct?”

75 B36; B47. 76 Several soldiers at saw SSG Studenmund’s IR strobe after he climbed to the ridgeline, and all members of ODA were given IR strobes. B41; C113. 77 The previously-passed grid for the location was . The Investigating Officer was unable to locate an official definition of “effective fire” notwithstanding the fact that the term has become a critical justifying term for actions in self-defense. Based upon discussions with the air and ground crews, it appears that the operational community uses the phrase “effective fire” to drive action du 78

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0021 - 08/13/14

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: “It looks like it’s actually 300 for 150 meters away from friendlies.”

: “Affirmed. Be advised friendlies are the only ones marked by IR strobes; so anybody else at 200 meters at that polar plot that is enemy target. You are contact at this time.”

: “ is captured.”

“Affirm; can you send me that ten-digit grid?”

: Stand by; we are getting closer to get Cat 1.”

: “Affirm; I’ll take Cat 2. Cat 2 or Cat 1, it doesn’t matter. I’d just like to suppress enemy at this time. Over.”

: “Uniform Alpha .”

: “Copy. Uniform Alpha .”

: “Good readback.”79

49. (S//RTUIN) Throughout this exchange and at least until the 9 line brief was passed, continued to orbit the area while monitoring the situation with its

Pod as the Pilot Flying (in the right seat) scanned the ground through his Night Vision Goggles (NVGs). While the Pilot Flying saw occasional muzzle flashes, he did not detect any IR strobes.80

79 was using an L3 SIR ssociated 3”x5” video screen for Live Streaming Video (LSV). B2 ct” is a term used by to indicate had their sensor on the intended “enemy” target. Per AFTTP 3-3 JTAC, “capture” means that the object of interest has been located and is being tracked. The use of “contact” followed by “captured” are CAS terms indicating that the JTAC and CAS aircraft are in agreement on the target and the aircraft is tracking the target. G414-15. Per JP 3-09.3 (G122-123), coordinates are categorized according to their level of accuracy, from Level 1 (most accurate) to Level 6 (least accurate); Category II coordinates may add 1-8 additional meters of Circular Error (CE) Target Location Error (TLE). Although the Pilot considered tactical options such as a Show of Force (SoF) upon initially seeing the muzzle flashes , no one inside the aircraft mentioned it as an viable option as they collectively believed that the situation had escalated beyond a SoF option when friendly forces began taking “effective fire.” B2; B16. Additionally, and

did not consider a SoF to be a viable option, and thus they did not discuss it as an option here, because they found a SoF to be ineffective in a previous TIC. E4-5; B27; B32. 80 It should be noted that the Pilot in the right hand seat, which for this operation was the Pilot Flying (either the right or left hand Pilot can fly the B-1B), is the only member of the B-1B’s aircrew with any significant view of the ground while the aircraft circles a target area in a right-hand turn. Additionally, the B-1B Pilots do not typically wear helmet NVGs due to the extra weight and duration of B-1B missions (typically over 10 hours), so the Pilot Flying periodically picks up hand-held NVGs and scans the ground while circling. B5.

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50. (S//RTUIN) At 2000L, again stated that he was with Sniper Pod and again asked whether there were “any IR strobes in your sensor at

this time?” OSO replied “negative IR strobes.” affirmed and advised to stand by for the 9-line brief.81

51. (S//RTUIN) Between the time that the element began receiving fire and the time the grid was passed targeting the ridgeline location, was informed via inter-team that had split their element and a team from had moved to higher ground.82 This information was not effectively communicated between

, which led to incorrectly identifying and accepting the muzzle flashes at grid as enemy activity.83

52. (S//RTUIN) Furthermore, because the Sensor Pod on the B-1B is technologically incapable of detecting IR strobes and the Pilots’ NVGs only detect IR strobes at limited ranges (up to 7,000 meters), reported lack of visible IR strobes presented a false negative regarding whether friendlies were on the ridgeline. crew,

, and ODA incorrectly believed that was capable of detecting IR strobes.84

53. (S//RTUIN) Based on the intermittent reports from Bravo 1 to that continued to receive “effective fire”, approved targeting the ridgeline at grid

in self-defense.85 The closest previously-reported friendly position to the target was updated PZ Posture location, which was only about 140 meters to the southeast – but at no time was “Danger Close” ever declared.86

54. (S//RTUIN) At 2001L, approximately 4 ½ minutes after receiving the 10-digit grid from passed the following 9-line brief:

Type Control not heard

Method of Attack not heard

Line 1 not heard

Line 2 not heard

Line 3 not heard 81 E5. 82 B36; B26-27. 83 E4. 84 IR strobes such as those typically carried by ground forces have an IR (infra-red) micron range of 0.81-0.91 microns, while the Sniper Pod can only detect IR marking devises with an IR micron range of 3.3-5.0 microns. E107-113; B2; B5-6; B9; B15-16; B27-28; B32-33; B36; B39; B41; B47; E5 85 E5-6. 86 B2; B15; B27-29; B33.

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Line 4 not heard

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then directed a restricted attack heading of 330 degrees plus or minus 20 degrees ( ), two GBU-with a delay, requested standby to call in, and reported that they were in the process of getting final approval.87

55. (S//RTUIN) In this 9-line brief, incorrectly reported that the nearest friendly location was 300 meters to the west – rather than the previously-reported friendly location about 150 meters southeast of the ridgeline.88

87 A “9 line brief” is a standardized briefing format used by ground forces to call for CAS. See JP 3-09.3 p. V-39 (G158-159) and AFTTP 3-3.JTAC (G407-408). The GBU- is a 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) coordinate seeking weapons, and the 5 millisecond delay meant that the bomb would detonate 5 milliseconds after impact, which was intended to reduce the blast radius due to the presence of friendly forces. was also carrying GBU- Laser JDAM bombs, which are guided by laser and/or GPS and updatable during flight, so they are often preferred for moving targets. The choice of weapons here had no impact on the outcome. E5; G411. 88 E5; B27-29. In his statement to the Investigating Officer, characterized his report that the clos riendlies to the target location were 300 meters to t a “mistake”. reported the position as being about 150 meters from the ridgeline; it was actually about 140 meters from the ridgeline. B28. 89 E5-6. The heading restriction was not read back in accordance with the AFG SPINS (F52-53), which provides: “[a]ircrew will read back lines 4, 6, 8, ordnance type, restrictions, and ROE.” See also AFTTP 3-3.JTAC (G411), which provides “Lines 4, 6, and any restrictions are required to be read back for each 9-Line passed”. See also mission document.

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57. (S//RTUIN) At , stated that the strike was approved by and that they were in a self-defense posture and directed to “action the 9-

line” with a Time On Target (TOT) of 2006L.90

58. (S//RTUIN) did not enter the “target” grids, the last friendly location, or the 9-line friendly position grids into the FalconView system. 91 Instead, the and

plotted the 9-line positions using stick drawings on their 9-line card.92 There was no discussion amongst the aircrew or between and regarding the reported change in friendly location, or the fact that the target was about 140 meters from the previously-reported location.93

60. (S//RTUIN) At 2007L, asked to confirm that friendlies were still 300 meters west of the target location. responded: “all friendlies are 300 meters west with IR strobes on taking effective fire; I need you guys in.”responded that they copied and would be “in” in one minute.95

61. (S//RTUIN) Over the next ten minutes, attempted three passes citing “systems” issues as the reason for the delays.96 In fact, the aircrew had begun executing BOC procedures on the first pass but soon realized it was supposed to be BOT. After switching to BOT, the OSO input azimuth data (the angular separation between the two bombs) incorrectly so the weapons system could not assign bombs to the target. That drove the request to switch to BOC (approved by ), which required the coordinates being manually re-entered. The third unsuccessful pass was

B9;B5.

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caused by inability to establish communications with for clearance.97 also asked to change the weapons plan to 1x GBU .Degraded communications continued and there were at least 12 missed calls from

to .98

62. (S//RTUIN) checked on station to provide overwatch during the Exfil. At 2017L, recognizing that could hear at times when could not, asked to begin relaying communications between and

relayed time to target from approved into the ROZ at feet and passed the target location at

and a friendly location of 300 meters west, which read back.99

63. (S//RTUIN) relayed the system readback from . This grid was

off by about eight meters because improperly input instead of the briefed into the weapon system.101

64. (S//RTUIN) again requested 2x GBU- and acknowledged.102 Communication between and degraded again, but at no point during the operation did attempt to change frequencies in accordance with the PACE plan.103

65. (S//RTUIN) Meanwhile, SSG McDonald removed the IR strobe from his helmet and affixed it to a pack on the ground near to mark that location as friendly.SSG McDonald then moved quickly up the hill to the ridgeline to support the individuals already there (SSG Scott Studenmund, SPC Justin Helton, CPL Justin Clouse, PVT Aaron Toppen, and SGT Gulbuddin Ghulam Sakhi ).104

66. (S//RTUIN) At 2019L, called in from the south, made a “one minute” call, and again requested clearance calls from that went unanswered.

again offered to relay and passed from “call in” with direction and expect clearance on final. At 2020L, called “in, final” and responded to

relaying from “cleared hot, cleared hot, cleared hot.” 97

98 (an EC-12) checked in at this time, but was told by to standby for five minutes so th d go kinetic. E6-8. 99 checked on about 52 minutes late due to maintenance issues. E7-8; D16. 10 E8. 101 was not aware that had changed the grid from until the error was bro attention during an with the Investigating Officer. B29; C117. 102 E8. 103 When interviewed by the Investigating Officer, stated that he did not attempt to change frequencies because he had good communications with all other assets throughout the day. B28. 104 B41; B47.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0026 - 08/13/14

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copied and stated “two away, forty-five seconds.” Ten seconds after impact, called “good hit, good hit” and acknowledged.105

67. (S//RTUIN) Navigation and Weapon Scoring data shows that the heading restriction, provided by in the 9-line brief, resulted in the bombs overflying the element. One of the GBU- landed accurately at the grid coordinates of which was passed in the 9-line brief. The second GBU landed eight meters away at which was the grid passed from to in the readback.106 It took about 21 minutes for to conduct four passes and deliver a pair of bombs.107

68. (S//RTUIN) Following impact, asked to put sensors on the impact site and look for replied that there was no movement.

to identify friendly strobes near the impact due to reports that indicated the friendly position was close to the strike site. At 2023L, reported that they saw personnel with tactical equipment nearing the strike site.108

69. (S//RTUIN) At 2024L, engaged in this exchange:

“Looking for IR strobe west of impact.”

, that grid you passed me did not have any IR strobes at it, is that correct?”

“Affirm”

: “And your sensor can pick up IR strobes?”

“Affirm”

“We’re getting word that it was close to our friendlies; I need to use that sensor and see what they can see.”

“Continuing to monitor those two pax. Negative strobe.”109

70. (S//RTUIN) assigned sensor plans to to scan around the strike site to identify friendly positions, track friendly movement, and provide

105 E8. 106 C117. 107 E5-8.108 E8-9. 109

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overwatch for friendly elements. assigned to prior to the Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) and exfiltration to manage the stack.110

71. (S//RTUIN) After the bomb strike, ground and crew members became concerned that something was wrong. The first post-strike radio transmissions they received were from the members of who had remained in the low ground (at the last plotted friendly grid) who commented that the bombs had hit “our hill.”111

72. Some members of made their way to the top of the hill first, reaching the site within 7 minutes after impact.112 When they arrived at the top of the hill, they observed that SSG Studenmund was still alive and calling “help me, I can’t breathe.”

, a medic attached to ODA attempted to keep SSG Studenmund alive, but was unsuccessful due to the severe nature of his injuries.113

73. (S//RTUIN) After learning that the bombs had hit close to position, and , ran over one kilometer to the ridgeline.114

74. (S//RTUIN) Other than SSG Studenmund (who was still alive for a few minutes after the strike as noted above), other casualties included SSG McDonald (KIA), and PV2 Toppen (KIA).115 Two additional members of were later identified to be KIA, but they had not been located when the first casualty assessment was given to the ODA’s higher headquarters (SOTF-S). Once SOTF-S received the initial casualty report, the CASEVAC element was sent by Regional Command (RC) – South to the vicinity of the strike location.116

75. (S//RTUIN) Shortly after calling for CASEVAC, requested the Quick Reaction Force (QRF). 117 The QRF for this operation was a sister ODA from the 5th Special Forces Group, ODA which was located at FOB and assigned the role of primary QRF for Operation with a 30-minute reaction time. ODAs and were co-located at FOB and routinely support each other’s operations as either the primary or secondary QRF.118

110 E9. 111 B42; B45; B36.112 E10. 113 B42; B48. 114 B36; B45; B33.115 B36; B42; B45; E29. 116 The CASEVAC element consisted of UH-60 “Black Hawks” helicopters call sign . E29.117 B33; B67. 118 C1.

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76. (S//RTUIN) The ODA QRF element was ready within 15 minutes and was waiting at the designated FOB HLZ awaiting the QRF rotary wing platform (CH-47s call sign ”).119 At this time, SOTF-S, in coordination with RC-S, directed that the Air Reaction Force (ARF) from TF would also accompany the QRF, bringing the personnel count to over 120

77. (S//RTUIN) At upon landing at the base of the ridgeline where the strike occurred, the CASEVAC element was informed that the initial report of one WIA was updated to six KIA.121 This updated report was based off of the search results for survivors, which indicated that five US soldiers and one ANA soldier were KIA.122 At this point the decision from the flight lead of the CASEVAC aircraft was to remain at the site and not depart until the remains were recovered and loaded onto the aircraft.123

78. (S//RTUIN) The CASEVAC aircraft were still on the ground waiting for the recoverable remains when the QRF/ARF arrived on the scene at .124 The QRF/ARF re-enforced security at the strike scene and began searching for casualties and recovering remains and equipment while conducted overwatch.125

79. (S//RTUIN) The QRF/ARF element and members of the original task force conducted an exhaustive search around the strike location to recover any of the remains and equipment. 126The search lasted nearly three hours and extended out to about 50 meters from the impact location. No “boots on the ground” BDA was conducted and no evidence of EKIA or enemy round casings were reported.127

80. (S//RTUIN) After recovering remains believed to be from five bodies, the ODA and QRF leadership assessed that the sixth body was unrecoverable, likely incinerated by the blast, and halted the search.128 with the awareness of the TF

119 B67, D28. 120 SOTF-S requested that the ARF accompany the QRF; RC-S concurred. C1. 121 E16-17, C9. 122 D28,E31. 123 C9.124 D28, E20. 125 The QRF was delayed about 40 minutes by the decision to send the TF ARF to accompany the QRF; however, this delay did not have any substantial impact on the security on the ground. B67; E-15; B39; B42; B55; B59; C1; C6.126 C1. 127 “Boots on the ground” BDA implies that a physical search of suspected enemy locations is conducted. The bombs dropped at 2021L and exfiltration at 2324L was three hours and three minutes later; personnel began searching for survivors and remains almost immediately after impact. B48; B36; B42; B45; D28. 128 B33; B69.

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commander called for all elements to evacuate the objective area, which they did via two lifts of CH-47s at 2324L.129

81. (S//RTUIN) The next morning, on 10 June 2014, a flying over the impact location identified what appeared to be a portion of a body and tactical gear approximately 60-75 meters from the impact location.130 The TF ARF and two members of ODA returned to the scene of the previous night’s strike and recovered a portion of the leg from the sixth body, assessed to be CPL Clouse.131

82. (S//RTUIN) A ramp ceremony was held at Kandahar Air Field for all six soldiers killed during Operation before their remains were flown to Dover Air Force Base for identification, repatriation, and delivery to next of kin. Memorial services were also held at SOTF-S and FOB 132

83. (U//FOUO) On 13 June 2014, the remains of all six soldiers were identified by the Deputy Medical Examiner at Dover Air Force Base.133

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

Pre-Mission Training

84. (S//RTUIN) Prior to deploying in support of OEF-A, ODA conducted Pre-Mission Training (PMT) events at Fort Campbell, KY. ODA also conducted two months of PMT with their partnered

. The PMT conducted at Fort Campbell focused on preparing the ODA for their upcoming deployment, while the PMT in wasdesigned primarily for the ODA to train the element for their deployment with ODA in Afghanistan. Due to a training event cancellation, ODA did not conduct collective CAS training during PMT prior to the subject deployment.134

85. (S//RTUIN) Upon arriving in Afghanistan in January 2014 (in advance of their RIP/TOA on February 15th), ODA was assigned to SOTF-S and attached to Advance Operating Base (AOB) 7220 (Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special

129 E57; D28; C1; B29. 130 C1; E102.131 C1.132 C1; C121. 133 C121 134 ODA did conduct Close Combat Attack (CCA) training near FOB in April and employed CCA on three separate occasions previously with their previous JTAC. B

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0030 - 08/13/14

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Forces Group (Airborne)). ODA operated out of FOB which is in the vicinity of Qalat, Zabul Province.135

86. (S//RTUIN) was assigned by the Commander of STS to support ODA . was originally tasked to support operations in

Afghanistan, but he was diverted to support ODA 136 After arriving in Afghanistan, conducted a 48-hour turnover with the previous JTAC supporting ODA 137 The turnover consisted of introducing

to the ODA leadership, including a battlespace familiarity brief, a review of unit SOPs, and other team-specific information.138

87. (S//RTUIN) deployed as a Combat Mission Ready (CMR) JTAC and conducted all pre-deployment training required by the US Air Force, US Special Operations Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, ISAF, and IJC.139

88. (S//RTUIN) The crew of deployed as a CMR crew, and a review of their flight records showed them all to be current and qualified. was the Mission Lead for the sortie and the Pilot Not Flying (PNF) during the engagement. PNF monitors the airspace and maintains overall situational awareness. hadoverall responsibility for the mission, including primary weapons release authority.,

was the Pilot Flying during the engagement; he was responsible for flying the aircraft and searching for Friendly Forces with NVGs ).

was the Offensive Systems Officer (OSO), and was responsible for operating the Pod and communicating with the JTAC. took part in the squadron’s CAS spin up training, which included a Green Flag exercise and two weeks working with JTACs from supporting Air Support Operation Squadrons.

was the Defensive Systems Officer and was responsible for managing weapons and backing up the OSO ).140 was an attached flyer, meaning he was not part of the regular aircrew for although he was highly experienced and had been flying missions with the preceding squadron.141

135 C1; B31.136 C5; B22. 137 B31; C21. 138 The STS commander requires his JTACs to complete at least 48 hours of turnover with the previous JTACs. B31; B22; C21. 139 C25-26.140 C17. 141 B1; B15.

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0031 - 08/13/14

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89. (S//RTUIN) The crew did not understand the Sniper Pod’s capabilities with respect to IR strobes; these capabilities were not specifically covered in CAS and Sniper academics or in recommended publications and references.142

90. (S//RTUIN) There is a pervasive belief, held by all four members of the crew, other Air Force aviators, , other JTACs, and many ground units (including and , that Sniper Pods can detect IR strobes; relevant publications and references do not address this technical limitation.143

91. (S//RTUIN) The B-1B’s Offensive Avionics Systems require various processes and inputs in order to acquire and maintain good situational awareness. For example, some units of measurement presented on the Sniper must be mentally converted (i.e., feet to meters) before being passed to ground forces, and grids must be manually input into multiple systems (FalconView and AFS).144

Pre-Mission Planning, Briefs & Preparations

92. (S//RTUIN) Operation was affected by multiple significant human factors that were not addressed or successfully mitigated during mission analysis and planning. Specific factors include the following: this was first mission on this deployment and his first with ODA ; this was the last mission for ODA ,

had not previously employed CAS (though he had executed CCA) on this deployment, the ANA Kandak had a low competency level; and had not dropped bombs on his 21 previous missions.145

93. (S//RTUIN) of 21st ESTS, made the decision to replace with while ODA was conducting CONOP refinement for Operation ; asked that , the previous JTAC, accompany on his first mission with ODA , but that request was not supported due to dwell time requirements.146

94. (S//RTUIN) did not adequately rehearse how they would battle track and collaborate during the operation, which led to

142 C117; B2; B5. 143 See, e.g., B2; B5; B9; B15; B26; B32; B33; B36; B39; B47; E9-10; C117. 144 C117-120; B9.

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compartmentalized execution at critical moments and impeded shared situational awareness.147

95. (S//RTUIN) Although adequate time was available, ODA did not conduct a comprehensive Full Dress Rehearsal, which could have allowed and associated personnel to anticipate potential contingencies (i.e., friendly markings, PACE plan and communication contingencies).148

96. (S//RTUIN) was overly confident in abilities and (the ODA’s JTAC) was underutilized as a qualified JTAC. was

not properly incorporated into the CAS and air platform management aspects of the operation.149

97. (S//RTUIN) understood that Danger Close is when targets are within 300 meters of friendly forces. He knew that the GFC must provide his initials to authorize CAS in a Danger Close situation, but he believed Danger Close could be mitigated down to 100 meters (by, for example, friendly forces getting into a prone or sheltered position).150

147 B22-29;B31-33; B35-36; C113. 148 C113; B23; B35. 149

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98. (S//RTUIN) attempted to source a Joint Fires Observer or Forward Observer to align with but TF did not have the resources to support that request.151 Given the lack of rehearsal, little effort was made to develop a process for to receive timely and accurate targeting data or updated friendly positions from on the fires net. This resulting gap contributed to poor situational awareness.152

99. (S//RTUIN) The three exfiltration HLZs were not mutually supporting; terrain impeded visibility of from and was over 1.5 kilometers away from

.153

100. (S//RTUIN) inadequate mission analysis impacted his ability to adapt to mission requirements (communications and targeting) and maintain situational awareness – e.g., not packing a PRC-117 (which may have alleviated communications issues with the B-1B), a 1:50k map, a PSN-13 (GPS), or a tactical computer with mapping software.154 Additionally, did not conduct an adequate map study, as evidenced by the fact he was unaware that a key friendly location straddled two pages on the miniaturized GRGs.155

Mission Execution

101. (S//RTUIN) Under current OEF-A ROE, the GFC is the strike approval authority (target engagement authority) for the use of air-to-ground munitions in self-defense of Coalition forces.156

102. (S//RTUIN) misprioritized maintaining communications with higher authority, which contributed to a lack of situational awareness of friendly positions, friendly activities, and oversight of 157

B31.

152 B31; C113; B23; B35. 153 D6.154 B22; B24; C25. 155

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0034 - 08/13/14

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June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (37)

SECRET//RTUIN

27

103. (S/RTUIN) Degraded communications plagued this operation. Several members of this operation had radio failures, which appeared to be caused by the length of the operation , environmental conditions (high temperatures and poor line of site/terrain), and from a lack of mission preparation (insufficient spare batteries and redundant “push-to-talk” systems).158

104. (S//RTUIN) There was no discussion between the aircrew and about Danger Close considerations; however, the pilot flying and the OSO did state that there was discussion about Danger Close inside the co*ckpit prior to the 9-line being issued.159

The Sniper Pod video also evidences Danger Close considerations as the aircrew established a 140 meter frag circle around the plotted friendly location.160

105. (S//RTUIN) The Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) used by US Air Force pilots have

However, given that flew a five-mile orbit around the area of operations at an altitude of approximately 12,000 feet AGL (a distance of over 8,000 meters from the operating area), it was highly unlikely that pilot would detect IR strobes through his NVGs.161

CONCLUSIONS

106. (S//RTUIN) The term “effective fire” was used to drive a sense of urgency and the decision to employ CAS; it is unclear whether Coalition forces were still receiving “effective fire” when bombs were dropped nearly 21 minutes later.

107. (S//RTUIN) did not independently verify the target or friendly locations.Relying on the intermittent VDL feed from sensor as the sole source of target identification was not reasonable and resulted in an invalid identification of the target by

and the aircrew.162

108. (S//RTUIN) , and did not make any distinguishable marks on their maps or GRGs indicating they plotted the target location or last updated friendly position ); they did not effectively battle track or collaborate regarding the changing locations of during the TIC.

158 B25; B31; B36; B45; B47; B51; C113. 159 E1-E8; B2; B15; B27. 160 B9. 161 E110; C154;

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SECRET//RTUIN

28

109. (S//RTUIN) Throughout the targeting process, the key players ,, and the aircrew) moved towards a pre-determined action (dropping

ordnance). Not one member of the team challenged the updated report of a friendly position 300 meters to the west – when the previously reported friendly position was 150 to the southeast and that friendly position was still displayed on Sniper Pod screen – nor did any member of the team reassess the enemy situation to evaluate assumptions and ensure appropriate risk assessment based on current, updated information. The continuous reports that friendlies were taking “effective fire” led to a false sense of urgency and willingness to forgo standard TTPs. This urgency contributed to B22 aircrew ineffectively executing CRM which highlights the importance of collaborating and asking questions to address discrepancies.

110. (S//RTUIN) , given his previous experience (just under 6 years as a JTAC), was confident in his abilities to process information, but inexplicably did not use standard TTPs and interpersonal communication skills (with both and

aircrew) to validate positive identification of the target and confirm updated friendly locations, thus significantly degrading his situational awareness.

111. (S//RTUIN) After the 9 line was passed, compartmentalized execution led to missed opportunities to share information and develop a collaborated understanding of the situation. While worked communication issues with higher,

struggled to communicate with the aircrew, who simultaneously were working a weapon system issue within the aircraft and preparing for weapons delivery.Notably, queried six minutes after the 9 line about the friendly position, but he did not challenge to assess this information. Though not expressly stated in his sworn statement, a reasonable inference fromquery was that he sensed that something may have been amiss with the disparate distances provided regarding the location of Friendly Forces..

112. (S/RTUIN) At the time authorized the CAS strike, he believed Coalition forces were under hostile attack and that dropping two bombs on the enemy location was a necessary and proportionate response. That was a reasonable belief justifying the CAS strike under the ROE. However, as discussed in more detail above (see, e.g., paragraphs 95, 96, 99, 103, 108, 109 and 111), should have taken additional steps, both before and during this operation, to ensure he received accurate information on friendly force locations. identification of the target location as “enemy” based primarily on data from a single source (Sniper Pod) – without plotting the location, comparing it to the previously-reported location, or taking other reasonable steps to confirm friendly locations – did not constitute a “reasonable certainty” that the target location was, in fact, an enemy position. failure to implement and utilize standard battle tracking and

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0036 - 08/13/14

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SECRET//RTUIN

29

target identification TTPs caused him to misidentify friendly forces ( (-)) as enemy. Thus, the identification of the target was not reasonable under the circ*mstances.163

113. (S//RTUIN) Operation disrupted insurgent activity and improved security within the Arghandab District in advance of the Afghan runoff elections. On 14 June 2014, the day of the runoff elections, there was only one attack on Afghan security forces in Arghandab District, which resulted in 1 x ANA WIA, 1x EKIA, and 1 x EWIA.

RECOMMENDATIONS

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0037 - 08/13/14

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Pages 36 through 37 redacted for the following reasons:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -(b)(5)

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APPENDIX A - Administrative

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TAB PAGE TITLE

1 A1 AR 15-6 Appointment Order to Maj Gen Harrigian

2 A5 Appointment Order to Investigative Team

3 A7 DA Form 1574 - Report of Proceedings by Investigating Officer

4 A13 Investigation Event Log

5 A19 Interview List

6 A21 Briefing to CENTCOM CCDR

7 A35 Biographies

8 N/A Sniper Pod Video (b)(3), (b)

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A1

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A2

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A3USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0042 - 08/13/14

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A4USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0043 - 08/13/14

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A12USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0051 - 08/13/14

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SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

(S//REL USA, ISAF, NATO) Fixed Wing Close Air Support Airstrike In the Vicinity of Arghandab, Afghanistan on 9 June 2014 - Event Log

All times ZULU

13JUN2014 1500: Team members (Maj Gen Harrigian, arrive in Doha, Qatar. Met by for pickup and transported to Al Udeid.

14JUN2014 0430: Initial arrival @ CFH. 0500: Brief meeting for investigation parameters and deliverables. (Maj Gen Harrigian,

0630: Arrival of (B1 SME)@ CFH 0730: Evidence delivered to investigation team, rec’d by , delivered by t.

0745: (S//REL USA, ISAF, NATO) Began review of evidence and timeline details. Reviewed targeting pod video of airstrike from 1500: Sharepoint site created for data collection

15JUN2014 0445: Rec’d/Reviewed USFOR-A/ISAF Org structures and C2 0800: (S//REL USA, ISAF, NATO) Reviewed extended targeting pod video. 1445: (S//REL USA, ISAF, NATO) Initiated Falcon View system to sync plot locations with targeting pod video and radio transmissions.

1830: arrived @ CFH. Investigation team is complete and in place. 1925: Reviewed targeting pod strike video for

16JUN2014 0450Z: Aircrew interview preparation and discussion. 1000Z: Interview and statement taken from Left Seat Pilot/Aircraft Commander).1220Z: Interview and statement taken from Right Seat Co-Pilot).1420Z: Interview and statement taken from Offensive Systems Officer). 1610Z: Interview and statement taken from Defensive Systems Officer).

17JUN2014 0815Z: Aircraft 86-111 released to 379 EMXG for functional checks. Aircraft forms returned.

A13

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0052 - 08/13/14

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SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

0830Z: Interview with (Ground Liaison Officer) 1120Z: Received signed statement from 1220Z: Team departs Al Udeid for Kandahar Air Field 1655Z: Team arrives Kandahar Air Field 1715Z: (S//REL USA, ISAF, NATO) Interview prep study on

18JUN2014 0425Z: Team departs Kandahar Air Field for FOB 0510Z: Team arrives at FOB and receives inbrief 0730Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA GFC). 1025Z: Evidence collection from , rec’d by 1035Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA Team Sgt) 1155Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA )1230Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA )1305Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA /QRF) 1320Z: Interview and statement taken from (ODA )1430Z: Interview and statement taken from (SOT-A @ )1525Z: Interview and statement taken from (EOD Team Leader)

19JUN2014 0450Z: Depart FOB for incident area overflight. 0530Z: Return to FOB . 0715Z: Interview with incident medevac team ) 0825Z: Interview and statement taken from (FST at )0930Z: Interview and statement taken from (TF at ) 1015Z: Interview and statement taken from (TF at ) 1040Z: Interview with (TF Machine Gunner at )1300Z: Interview and statement taken from ( Uplift ??CDR??) 1425Z: Depart FOB for Kandahar Air Field 1505Z: Arrive at Kandahar Air Field 1650Z: Interview and statement taken from (SOTF JOC Battle Captain) 1705Z: Evidence collected from , rec’d by 1705Z: Interview with (SOTF JOC FSO) 1720Z: Interview with (SOTF JOC Battle NCO) 1730Z: Interview with (SOTF-S OPCEN DIR) 1745Z: Interview with (SOTF-S JOC) 1800Z: Interview with , Operations Officer, KAF Mortuary 1905Z: Initial notification of IR strobe/aircraft sensor disconnect sent to MG Lofgren (AFCENT CD) with wording recommendation for Flight Crew Information File (FCIF).

A14

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0053 - 08/13/14

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SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

20JUN2014 0035Z: Wording approved for FCIF covering friendly identification capabilities. 0330Z: Depart Kandahar Air Field for extended incident area overflight. 0640Z: Return to Kandahar Air Field. 0845Z: Depart Kandahar Air Field for Bagram Air Field. 1120Z: Interview and statement taken from (JTAC for ODA ) 1430Z: Evidence collected from , rec’d by 1530Z: Interview with (AC-130 Pilot – IRT )1530Z: Evidence collected from , rec’d by .1625Z: Interview with ( Commander)

21JUN2014 0735Z: Depart Bagram Air Field for Camp Integrity. 0755Z: Arrive at Camp Integrity 0925Z: FCIF 14-05B (Friendly Identification Capabilities) pushed to all aircrew. 1100Z: Update brief w/ BG Schwartz (SOJTF DCG-O) 1500Z: Update brief w/ MG Reeder

22JUN2014 0540Z: Initial draft of Red Stripe notification sent to MG Colt. 0640Z: Depart Camp Integrity for Bagram Air Field 0705Z: Arrive at Bagram Air Field 0905Z: Depart Bagram Air Field for Al Udeid Air Base 0950Z: Received confirmation of A/C 86-111 Sniper pod functional check and BitLog. 1235Z: Arrive at Al Udeid Air Base 2355Z: Action items/investigation update sent to Gen Austin

23JUN2014 0430Z: Begin construction of incident narrative. 1325Z: Aircraft 86-111 released for use per MG Harrigian upon review of functional check and Bit Log review. 1500Z: Tour of B1 co*ckpit and aircraft familiarization at 379 EAMXS

24JUN2014 0430Z: Continued construction of incident narrative and statement refinement. 0600Z: Phone interview conducted with (EBS Flight Surgeon) 0715Z: Meeting for strike video and incident overview with BG Darren Hartford (379 AEW/CC). 0825Z: Approved Red Stripe received from ISAF CJ3.

A15

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0054 - 08/13/14

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SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

25JUN2014 0110Z: Transcript received from mIRC chat. 0500Z: Incident narrative refinement and statement finalizing begins. 1300Z: Transcription for strike video begins. 1355Z: aircrew medical and training records reviewed. 1205Z: Duplication of evidence given to Army Safety Center team (maps, ops papers). 1320Z: Transfer of evidence to Army Safety Center team. (RMM/Medical Records). 1340Z: Ground forces statements dispersed for signature.

26JUN2014 0500Z: Continued narrative construction and dictation of facts. 1205Z: Aircrew statements dispersed for signature.

27JUN2014 0450Z: video transcription continued. 0500Z: Investigation team begins review of findings of fact. 0905Z: Findings of fact board editing begins. 1910Z: video delivered to team

28JUN2014 0500Z: video reviewed for narrative timeline 0710Z: video reviewed for narrative timeline 0810Z: Technical findings of fact split from event narrative, editing begins. 0830Z: stride video transcription complete 1130Z: Visit/interviews with

29JUN2014 Day off 0940Z: First draft of report narrative completed

30JUN2014 0430Z: Writing for investigation recommendations 0710Z: Evidence/exhibits scanned into digital files 0825Z: Report V2 completed 1105Z: CAOC Walkthrough 1320Z: Phone interview with ( prior JTAC) 1435Z: Phone interview with (JTAC Instructor) 1655Z: Report V3 completed

A16

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SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

SECRET// REL USA, ISAF, NATO

1JUL2014 0440Z: Edit board for recommendations 0505Z: Construction of presentation 0715Z: Evidence consolidated and sorted for citation 1420Z: Cited Arghandab polling station post-op security 1630Z: Walkthrough/interview with Air Control Center 1955Z: Report V4 completed

2JUL2014 0455Z: video reviewed for editing time stamps 0550Z: Report V5 completed 0600Z: Report review board 1110Z: Sniper Pod video editing started at AFFOR/PA office 1535Z: Report V6 completed

3JUL2014 0440Z: Citation board started 0555Z: Report V7 completed 0830Z: Sniper Pod video editing completed

4JUL2014 0515Z: Report V8 completed 0520Z: Presentation edit board

5JUL2014 0045Z: Report V9 completed 0450Z: Presentation observations and recommendations started 0755Z: Incident timeline review 1020Z: Timeline/report review

6JUL2014 0520Z: Appendix refinement and final report editing

7JUL2014 1415Z: Team departs Al Udeid Air Base

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Key Players Interviewed

Aircrew Unit Position Call SignSworn

StatementInterview

Date EBS Left Seat Pilot / Aircraft Commander X 16-Jun-2014

EBS Right Seat Pilot X 16-Jun-2014

EBS Offensive Systems Officer X 16-Jun-2014

EBS Defensive Systems Officer X 16-Jun-2014

Ground/Response Forces At Site Unit Position Call SignSworn

StatementInterview

Date ODA Ground Forces Commander X 18-Jun-2014

STS Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) X 20-Jun-2014

ODA Team Sergeant X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Medic X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Communications / SOTAC X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Quick Response Force Lead X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Quick Response Force Team Sergeant X 18-Jun-2014

ODA SOT-A X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Explosive Ordnance Disposal X 18-Jun-2014

ODA Medic X 19-Jun-2014

BCT TF Element Leader X 19-Jun-2014

BCT TF X 19-Jun-2014

BCT TF Machine Gunner X 19-Jun-2014

BCT CASEVAC Response Team 19-Jun-2014

Support Elements/Oversight Unit Position Call SignSworn

StatementInterview

Date BCT TF Commander 19-Jun-2014

CAOC Ground Liaison Officer 17-Jun-2014

SOTF-S JOC Battle Captain 19-Jun-2014

SOTF-S Fire Support Officer 19-Jun-2014

SOTF-S JOC Battle NCO 19-Jun-2014

SOTF-S OPCEN Director 19-Jun-2014

SOTF-S JOC SEL 19-Jun-2014

CJSOAC AC-130 SME 20-Jun-2014

CJSOAC Crewmembers X 20-Jun-2014

21 STS Commander 20-Jun-2014

717 EASOS Commander 28-Jun-2014

71 EACS Commander 1-Jul-2014

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Pages 23 through 28 redacted for the following reasons:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(5), (b)(6)

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Pages 31 through 34 redacted for the following reasons:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g

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SSG Jason McDonald - 18B - 28 yrs old - From Columbus, GA - Enlisted May 2004 - 4th Deployment - Survived by wife and two daughters

BiographySSG Jason McDonald

SSG McDonald, 28, was born December 18, 1985 in Columbus, Georgia. He joined the Army in May of 2004, attending Basic training at Ft Benning, GA. After graduation he attended Airborne Training and was then assigned to Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment where he served as a grenadier, later deploying in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from May 2005 to September 2005 and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from March 2006 to July 2006 and December 2006 to April 2007. He was then assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment as a rifleman. In 2008, SSG McDonald volunteered to become a Special Forces Soldier. He attended the Special Forces Qualification Course, graduating as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B), at Fort Bragg, NC in March 2012. He was assigned to Special Forces Operational Detachment – , Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Campbell, KY later deploying in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM assigned to Special Operations Task Force – South in January of 2014. SSG McDonald’s military education includes Warrior Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Infantry Mortar Leaders Course, Basic Airborne Course, Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School, and the Combat Life Savers Course. SSG McDonald’s Awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal (3rd award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral two device, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab and the Royal Netherlands Army Parachutist Badge. SSG McDonald died as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan on 9 June 2014. SSG McDonald is survived by his wife .

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SSG Scott Studenmund - 18X - 24 yrs old - From Pasadena, CA - Enlisted Sept. 2009 - First deployment - Survived by mother and father

BiographySSG Scott Studenmund

SSG Studenmund, 24, was born in Pasadena, California on 26 June 1989. He Graduated from Flintridge Preparatory High School in La Canada Flintridge, California on 7 June 2008, later attending Pitzer College in Claremont, California from August of 2008 to December of 2008. He enlisted in the Army in September 2009 as an 18X. SSG Studenmund attended Basic Training at FT. Benning, GA and entered into the Special Forces Qualification Course in February 2010. SSG Studenmund graduated the Special Forces Qualification Course in September 2011 as an 18B Weapons Sergeant. His first assignment was to 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), FT. Campbell, Kentucky. Upon arrival to Bravo Company, SSG Studenmund served as a Weapons Sergeant on Special Forces Operational Detachment – . In January 2014 he started his first deployment to Afghanistan in support of ENDURING FREEDOM assigned to Special Operations Task Force - South. SSG Studenmund’s Military Education Includes Special Force Qualification Course, Combat Diver Qualification Course, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course, Advanced Leaders Course, Warrior Leaders Course, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School, Basic Airborne Course and Light Wheeled Vehicle Operators Course. SSG Studenmund Awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (1st Award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with numeral two device, Army Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Special Operations Divers Badge, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge Expert - Carbine. SSG Studenmund died as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan on 9 June 2014. He is survived by his father

and his mother .

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SPC Justin Helton - EOD for - 25 yrs old - From Chillicothe, OH - Enlisted May 2010 - 1st deployment - Survived by mother, father, 2 brothers and 1 sister

BiographySPC Justin Helton

SPC Justin R. Helton, 25, was born on August 10, 1988 in Chillicothe, Ohio where he graduated from Eastern High School in Beaver, OH in 2007. SPC Helton enlisted in the Army in May 2010 as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist and attended Basic Combat Training (BCT) at Ft. Jackson, SC. After completing BCT, SPC Helton was stationed at Redstone Arsenal, AL for the first phase of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) School where he graduated in September 2010. SPC Helton was then stationed at Eglin AFB, FL where he completed the second phase of EOD School in July 2011. His first assignment was to the 18th OD CO (EOD), 192nd OD BN (EOD), 52nd OD Group (EOD), Fort Bragg, NC where he was assigned as an EOD Team Member. In 2014 SPC Helton was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM where he served as an EOD Team Member. SPC Helton’s military education includes Explosive Ordnance Disposal Course, Warrior Leader Course, Combat Life Saver Course, Global Antiterrorism and Operational Readiness Course, and the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Homemade Explosives Course. His awards and decorations include the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge – Basic, Army Good Conduct Medal (1st Award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, NATO Medal, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge – Carbine. SPC Justin R. Helton died as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Afghanistan on 9 June 2014. He is survived by his father , his mother , and his two brothers and sister.

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CPL Justin Clouse - TF - 22 yrs old - From Spokane, WA - Joined in Feb 2012 - 2nd Deployment - Survived by mother, father, and brother

BiographyCPL Justin Clouse

CPL Justin Clouse was born on September 12th, 1991 in Spokane, Washington. He graduated from Sprague High School in 2010 and enlisted as an Infantryman in the United States Army in February of 2012. That June, following his completion of Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he reported to Fort Carson, Colorado where he was assigned as a Rifleman for Apache Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In July of 2013, he was assigned as an Assistant Gunner to Dagger Company. In October of 2013, prior to attending the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, CPL Clouse completed the Army’s Advanced Situational Awareness Training Course, and in February of 2014, he deployed for a second time to Afghanistan, as a Team Leader. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (Posthumous), the Army Commendation Medal (1OLC), the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal (Posthumous), the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. CPL Clouse is survived by his mother, , his father, , and his brother, .

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PFC Aaron Toppen - TF - 19 yrs old - From Hazel Crest, IL - Enlisted July 2013 - First deployment - Survived by mother and two sisters

BiographyPFC Aaron Toppen

PFC Aaron Toppen was born on September 28th, 1994 in Hazel Crest, Illinois. He attended Lincoln-Way East High School and subsequently enlisted as an Infantryman in the United States Army in July of 2013. That November, following his completion of Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, he reported to Fort Carson, Colorado where he was assigned to Dagger Company, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. In March of 2014, he deployed as an Assistant Gunner to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (Posthumous), the Army Commendation Medal (Posthumous), the Army Good Conduct Medal (Posthumous), the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (Posthumous). PFC Toppen is survived by his mother, , and his sisters, .

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APPENDIX B - SWORN STATEMENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TAB PAGE TITLE

1 B1

2 B5

3 B9

4 B15

5 B19

6 B31

7 B35

8 B39

9 B41

10 B45

11 B47

12 B51

13 B55

14 B59

15 B63

16 B67

17 B69

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TAB PAGE TITLE

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23 B93

24 B99

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b(( 3), (b)(6)6)6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(66(b)(b(b 3), (((6)6)6(3), (b))(3), (b)(

(b)((b)((b)(b 1)11)11)1) 4a, (((1)1.1)1) 4g4g4g.4a, (b).4a, (b)((

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)( )( ) , ( )( ) g, ( )( ), ( )( ), ( )( )( ), ( )( )( )

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0075 - 08/13/14 B3

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0076 - 08/13/14

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6))(3), (b)()(3), (

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)(3), (b))(3), (b)(

(b(b(bb 3), (b)(6))(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(6

(( 3), (b)( )))b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

(bbb 3), (b)(6)66b)(3), (b)(6b)(bb 3), (b)(66

(b)((( 3), (b)(6))b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b((( 3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)((b)((b)((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4a, )()((1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4gg4a, (b4a, b))

(b)(3), (b)(6)((b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(((b)((b)(111 4a, (b)( 1.1.4g4g4g4g1)1.4a, (b)(1)11)1.1 4a, (b)(1)1

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0077 - 08/13/14

(

B5

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)(3), (b))(3), (b)(

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1) 4444 b)()()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1 4g4g4g44a, (b4a, b

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)( )( )( ) ( )( )( )

(b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)( )( )( ) ( )( )( )

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)((( (b)(6)3), (b((3 (b)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0080 - 08/13/14

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B8

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)3), (b(3), (b)

(b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b(b(b 3), (b)(6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(6

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(1)1.4g

(b)(1)1.4a

(b)(1)1.4a( )( )(b)(1)1.4a

((b(( 3), (b)(6)6)))b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6 (b)(1)1.4g

(b((( 3), (b)(6)6)))(3), (b)(bb 3), (b)(6

(b)(1)1.4g( )( ) g

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) g

(( 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(( 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

(b)(b)(b)(1)1.1)1.)1 4a, )(((1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g44a, (b4a, (b)(b)((b)((b)((b) 1)11)11)1 4a, ((1)1.1)1.)1.4g4g4g(b(b(b(b(b.4a, (b).4a, (b)((

(b)((b)((b)() 1)1.1)11)1 4a, )(((1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4a, (b4a, (b)

(b)((b)((b)(b) 1)1.1)11)1 4a, )(((1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g44a, (b4a, (b)

(b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.4a4a4a b)(b)(b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4ga, (a, (

((( 3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

)(3), (b)(6)), (b)(6)

(b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(7( )

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0081 - 08/13/14

(b)(3(b)((b)((b)(

)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)b), (b)(7)(c))( )(

)(

B9

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)11)1)1 4a, ((((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b).4a, (b)(((

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)( )b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)3), (b(3), (b)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b( 3), (b)(6)))b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b((( 3), (b)(6))))b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)11)11) 4a, (b)(1)1.4g.4a, (b).4a, (b)(

( )( ) ( )( )(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

((( 3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6((b)(3), (b)(6)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0084 - 08/13/14

(((((

B12

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

( )b)(3), (b)(6( 6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6))

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(b)(b)(b)(1)1.4a)()) 1)1.

(b)((b)((b)(b)(1)11 4a, (b)( )1.)1.)1.1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(11.4a, (b)(11

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.)1)1)1 4a, (b)(((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b).4a, (b)((

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(bbbb 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4gggg)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4bb)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4

a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0087 - 08/13/14

4g4g4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(1)1.(b)(1)1..4a, (b)(1)1.4(b)(1)1.

)

(b)(1) 1.4a,b)(1) 1

B15

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)((b)((b)((b 1)1.1)11)11)1 4a, (1)1.1)1.1)1.1) 4g4g44a, (b).4a, (b)(

(b)(b)(b)(b) 1)1.1)11)1.1)1.444 (b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4g4g4g4g4a, (b44 (b

(b(( 3), (b)(6)6)6)6b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(66 (b)((b)((b)(b)(1)1.1)1.1)1)1 4a, )()(((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4g4g4g4g4a, (b)4a, (b)

( )( ) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) g (b)((b)((b)((b)(11)1 4a, (b)( )1.)1.)11 444g4)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)

(b)((b)((b)((b)(11 4a, (b)( gg4g)1)

(b)((b)((b)(b)(1)111 4a, )1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, ( )(1

(b)((b)((b)((b) 1)111 (b)(1)1.4g1.4a, (b)(1)1. , (b)(1

(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(7)(b)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0088 - 08/13/14

ggg

1)1.4a, (b)( )1.1.1.1 4g4g44g)1.1.1 4g4g4)1.4a, (b)(1)4a, (b)(1))1.4a, (b)(1)4a, (b)(1)

(b), (b)(7)(c)(b), (b)(7)(c)

B16

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0090 - 08/13/14

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B18

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)(3), (b)(3), (b)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

( )( ) ( )()(( )(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )()(( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(b(b 3), (b)(6)6)6))(3), (b)()(3), (b)(

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0091 - 08/13/14

(b)(3),(b

B19

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

)(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0092 - 08/13/14

), (b)(6)6)

(b)(6)6)

B20

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(b)(3), (b)( )b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

))(b)(3), (b)(6)( ))

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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Pages 24 through 31 redacted for the following reasons:- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -(b)(1) 1.4a, (b)(1) 1.4g, (b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(7)(b), (b)(7)(c)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0094 - 08/13/14

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B22

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0095 - 08/13/14

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B30

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b))) 3), (((6)6)6)6)(3), (b)(((3), )))(b(b(b(b 3), 6)6)6)6))(3), (b)()()) 3), (b)(((

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)((b)(((b)(3), )()()((6)6)6)6(3), (b)(((3), )))(b)(b))b))(6))))))(3)(3)(((((b)((b)((b)((b)(33333), (b(bb3), 33 b(b))))

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) g( )((( ) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )((( ) , ( )( ) g

( )( ) ( )( )(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( ) ( )( ) ( )( )(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( )

)(b b)(6)6)

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1 , ( )(( 1)1.)1.)1.)1 4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1.1 4a, (b)(( )(1

( )( ) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) g (b)((( ) 4a, ( )( ) 4gb)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)((( ) 4a, ( )( ) 4g

(b)( ) 4a, ( )( ) 4gggb)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)( ) 4a, ( )( ) 4ggg

b)(b)(b)(b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4a444 b)()()()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4g4g4g4ga, (a, (bb(b)((b)(b)(b) 1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4a444 b)()()()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.444a, (a,a (b

(b)((b)((b)(b) 1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4a444 (b)(b)((b)()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4ga, (a, , (((

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( )(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1 ( )(1)1.)1.)1.)1 4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(1. , (b)(

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)((b)((b)((b) ),),),, (b)(( )( 6)6)6)6)(3), (b))()((3), ),), (b)(( )( )

(b)(b(b(b 3), (b)(6)6)6)6))(3), (b)()(3), (b)( (b((( 3), (b)(6)6)6)6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(666

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) ( )( ) g (b)(b)b)b) ) 4a, ( )(1)1.4g44(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.(b)((b)((b)((b 1)11)11)) 4a, (b)(1)1.)1.)1.)1 4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1.4a, (b)(1 ( )( ) ( )( )(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( )(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1 4a, (b)((((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b).4a, (b)(

(b)(1)1))1) 4a, (b)(1)1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(111.4a, (b)(1 (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) g (b((( 3), (b)(6)6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(666 (b)(3), (b)( )))b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)6))(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) ( )( ) g (b)((b)((b)((b)(111)1.1 4a, (b)(1)1.4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1)1.4a, (b)(1)

(b)(1)1. (b)((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b).44a, (b) ( )( ) ( )( ) gg(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )( ) ggg( )( )) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ))) , ( )( ) g

( )( ) ( g)( )((b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1..4a, 1.4a, ( )( ) , ( )( ) g)( )( )(,,

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)111 4a, (b)( )1.1.1.1.4g4g4g4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0096 - 08/13/14

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1....4g4g4g4g

( )( ) ( )() ((b)(3), (b)(63), (( )( ), ( )(),

(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g4a, (b)(1)1.)( ) , ( )( ), ( )( )

B31

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b(bb(b 3), 6)6)6)))(3), (b)(b)(b 3), (b)(66

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)((b)((b)((b)(3333 (b)(6)3), (b333 (b

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

(b)(b(b(b (6)6)6)6)(3), (b))( ), (b)(

(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)( ), ( )(6))

(b((( 3), 6)6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(666

(b)(b(b(b 6)6)6)6)(3), (b)()( ), (b)(

(b)(b(b(b (6)6)6)6))(3), (b)()( ), (b)(

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

( )()()( ) , ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(b)()(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) , ( )(((( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)((b)(( )(1)1.)) 4a, a (b)((b 1)1.) 4g

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)1)1) 4a, (b)(1)1)1)1.)1.4a, (b)(1.4a, (b)(1 ( )(1)1.4a, ( )(( 1)1.111.4g4g4g4g)1.)1)1.)1.4g4g4g4g)1)1.4g4g 1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, ( )((( 1 (b)((b)(b)(b) 1)1.1)11)11)1 4a, (b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(1.11 4a, (b)( (b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4a,44 (b)(1)1.4g4a, (b4a, (b

( )((( ) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )(( )(( )) , ( )( ) g (b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1 ,, (b)()((b)()(1)1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g44g4a, (b)4a,,, (b)(b)(b)

(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )( ) ( )( ) g

( )((( ) ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )((( ) , ( )( ) g

( )( ) , ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

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(b)(((( )) ( )()(6)))))(3), (b)(b)()( ),),), (b)()()(6

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g( )(( ) , ( )( ) g

( )( ))) , ( )( ) g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1.)) 4a, (b)(1)1.4g

(b)(b(b(b 3), ((((6)6)6)6)(3), (b))(3), (b)((((b)((b(b)((b )) (b)((b)(6)6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)()()( ),)) (b)((b)((b)(666

(b)((b)((b)(b)(1)1.1)11)11) 4a, (b)()()) 1)1.4g1)1.4g(((4a, (b4a, (b))

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6)61.4a, (b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g( )( )( )( )(6(63), (b)(3), (b)(( .4a, (b)(6)6).4a, (b)(6

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111 4a, (b)(1)1.4g)1.4a, (b)(1))1.4a, (b)(1)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0097 - 08/13/14

)()b)(1b))()

((b)((4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1.4g, ( )( ) g( )( ) ga

b)(3), (b)(6), (b)(6))( ), ( )( ), ( )( )

4g4g

(b((((b((g4ggg

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(b(b(b(b 6)6)6)6))(3), (b)()( ) (b)(

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b(b(b(b 3), (b)(6)6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)(3), (b)(6

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(111)1 4a, (b)( )1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)111 4a, (b)(1)1.4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0098 - 08/13/14

(

(b(((b(b(b(b)(3),b)(bb

)))))))b)(3), (b)(6b)(6b)(3), (b)(6b)(6

(b((((b((b)(bb

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B33

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0099 - 08/13/14

Approv

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(b)(3), (b)(6) (b 6))(3), (b)(b 6

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(b)((b)((b)((b) 111)1 4a, )1.1.1.1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1) 4a,

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0100 - 08/13/14 B35

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( )

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(b)( ) (b)((((6)6)6)6)(3), (b)( ), (b)))

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(( )(( 3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)((b)(( 3), (b)(6)

(b)(((( 3), (b)(6))(3), (b)()(3), (b)(

1)1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4gg(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)1)1)1.4a, (b)(1. ( )(1

1)1.)1)11)1 4a, ( )(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(1.11 4a, (b)(111

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1 4a, (b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b).4a, (b) (b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.111 ( )(1)1.)) 4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1. , ( )(1

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111) 4a, (b)(1)1.4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0101 - 08/13/14

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)1)1)(b)((b(b) 1)1

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)))

(b)(3), (b)(6))

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.111 (b)(1)1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1. , (b)(11

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1)11) (b)( )1.)1.)1.)1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.)) , (b)(1

(b)((b)((b)((b)(111 4a, (b)(1)1.4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0102 - 08/13/14 B37

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0103 - 08/13/14

Approv

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B38

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(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4a, )()()()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g4a, (b4a, (b)

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(b)(b(b(b 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g4g4g4g)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.444

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( )

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)111 (b)( )1.1.1.1.4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)1. , (b)(1

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0104 - 08/13/14

4a, )((((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g)(((1)11)1.1)1 4ggg4a, (bb4a, (b)b)(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1 4(b)((b)((b)( )1.)1.)1.44a, (b4a,

(b(b(b(bb

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B39

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6 (b)(3), ((6)(3), (b))(3), ((

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111 4a, )1.4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, ( )(1)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0105 - 08/13/14

(b)(6)(6)

B40

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111 4a, (b)( )1.)1.)11 4g4g4g4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0106 - 08/13/14

(b)(3(b

a, a,

.4a, (b)((((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4gb)( 1 4g4g4g4a, (b)b).4a, (b)b)

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B41

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(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ), ( )( )( )( ) ( )( )(b)(3), (b)(6)( )(( )( ), ( )( )

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(b)(b)(b) (6)(3), (b))))( ), (b)(

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(b)((b)(b)(b) 1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4a4a4a4a (b)(b)(b)(b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4ga, (a, (

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0107 - 08/13/14

(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )(( )( ) (

B42

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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3), (b)(6)

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1)1 4g4g4g4g1)1.4g1)1 4g4g4g(b)((b)((b)(1)111(b)(1)(b)((b)((b)(1)11 1 4a (b)(11.4a, (b)(11 4a (b)(11 4a (b)(111.4a, (b)(11 4a (b)(1(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)111 4a, (b)( )1.)1.)1.)1 4g4g4g4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)))

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111 4a, (b)(1)1.4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)( )

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0108 - 08/13/14

(b)(3),

B43

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0109 - 08/13/14

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B44

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0110 - 08/13/14

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B45

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0111 - 08/13/14

b)(6)6)

6)

B46

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0112 - 08/13/14

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B47

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0113 - 08/13/14

(b)(3), (b)(6b)(

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(b)

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(b)(b(b(b 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0114 - 08/13/14

b)(3), (b)(6)3), (

B49

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0115 - 08/13/14

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B50

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0116 - 08/13/14

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0117 - 08/13/14 B52

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(b)(b)(b)(b 4a, 4g444g(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1)()) 4a, ...

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0118 - 08/13/14

(b)(6)(6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0119 - 08/13/14

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B54

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(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6)(3), (b))(3), (b)(

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1111 4a, )1.)1.11 4g4g4g4g)1.4a, (b)(1)) 4a, ))

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0120 - 08/13/14

(b)((b)(1)1b(b)((

(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)11)11)1.44(b)(((1)1.1)1.1)1 444a4a44444

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B55

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0121 - 08/13/14

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B56

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0122 - 08/13/14

b)(6))(6)

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B57

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0123 - 08/13/14

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B58

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0124 - 08/13/14

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B59

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0125 - 08/13/14 B60

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0126 - 08/13/14

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B61

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0127 - 08/13/14

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B62

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0128 - 08/13/14

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B63

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0129 - 08/13/14

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B64

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0130 - 08/13/14

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B65

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0131 - 08/13/14

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B66

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(111)1) 4a, (b)( )1.1.11 4g4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(1)) 4a, (b)(1

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0132 - 08/13/14

(b)((b)((b)(b)(1)11)1)1 4a, (b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.44g441)11)1) 4a, (b)(1).4a, (b)(.4a, (b)(1.4a, (b)(11.4a, (b)(1

(b(b)((b(((b(b)(3)b)(

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(b)(b(b(b(b)(bb)())

B67

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1)1)1.1) ( )()(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(1. ,, (b)(( )()(11(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4444 b)()()()(1)1.1)1.1)11)1 4g4g4g4ga, (b4a, (b

(b)((b)((b)(b)(1)1)1)1) 4a, (b)( )1.))) 4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1

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(b(b(b(b 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0133 - 08/13/14

)(6)6)

)

B68

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (136)

(b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b)(3), (b)(6)( )( ) ( )( ) (b 6)b)(3), (b)(6b 6

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0134 - 08/13/14

(b)(b(b(b(b(b(b)(3), ()( )

(b(b(b(b(((

)() )((((6)6)6)6))() 6)6)6)3), (b3), (b(3), (b)(3 (

B69

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)b)(3), (b)(6b)(3), (b)(6

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(b(b(b(b 3), (b)(6)6)6)6))(3), (b)(b)(b 3), (b)(66

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(b)((b)((b)((b)(1)11)11)11)1 4a, ((((1)1.1)1.1)1.1)1.4g4g4g4g.4a, (b)(.4a, (b)((( (b)((b)((b)((b)(1)1)11) 4a, (b)( )1.) 4g1.4a, (b)(11.4a, (b)(1

(b)((b)((b)((b 1)111 4a, (b)(1)1.4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0135 - 08/13/14

))(b)(3), (b)(6)), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)( ))

((b)()

(b)(6)(b)(6)

B70

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (138)

(b)(3), (b)(6)

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)(b)(3), (b)(6)( )

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ggggg(b(((((b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4)( ) , ( )( ) 4ggggb

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0136 - 08/13/14 B71

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (139)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0137 - 08/13/14

Approv

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B72

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(b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6) (b)(3), (b)(6)

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0138 - 08/13/14 B73

June 9, 2014, Friendly Fire Airstrike in Zabul province, Afghanistan - [PDF Document] (141)

(b) (((6)6)6)((3), (b))( )(

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(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1. gb)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0139 - 08/13/14

gg4a, (b)(1)1.4g4a, (b)(1)1.4ggg

B74

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(b))(3), (b)(6)6)6))(3), (b)()(3), (b)(

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g1.4a, (b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1(b)((b)()(1)111 4a, (b)(1)1...4g4g4g.4a, (b)(.4a, (b)(

(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3)

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(b)((b)(b) 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1..4g44g.4a, (b)(.4a, (b)(

(b)((b)((b)(1) 4a, (b)( )1..4g4g4g1.4a, (b)(11.4a, (b)(1

(b)(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0140 - 08/13/14

(b)(6)6)

(3), (b)(6)b)(6)

)

B75

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(b 6)6)6))(3), (b)(b))(3), (b)(6

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( )( ), ( )( )(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)((b(b 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g1)1.4a, (b)(1)1(1)1.4a, (b)(1)1

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USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0141 - 08/13/14 B76

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(b)((( 1 1.4g4g)1.4a, (b)(1)1 )1

(b)((( 1)1.4a, (b)(1)1.4g1)1.4a, (b)(1)1(1)1.4a, (b)( 1

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

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(b)(3), (b)(6)

USCENTCOM FOIA 14-0253 0142 - 08/13/14 B77


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FAQs

How many US soldiers died from friendly fire in Afghanistan? ›

Friendly fire incidents

Since the Afghan war began in October 2001, 2,323 Americans have died there. Once the United States confirms these latest deaths, the number will rise to 2,328. There have also been numerous fatalities resulting from friendly fire.

What happened in Afghanistan in 2009? ›

17 February 2009: New US President Barack Obama announces an additional 17,000 troops to be deployed to Afghanistan during the spring and summer to counter a resurgent Taliban and stem the flow of foreign fighters into the south of Afghanistan.

What happened in Afghanistan in 2004? ›

October 2004

Presidential elections are held. More than 10.5 million Afghans register to vote and choose among 18 presidential candidates, including interim leader Karzai. Karzai is elected with 55 percent of the vote.

What did the navy do in Afghanistan? ›

Naval strike warfare dominated and shaped the U.S. Central Command–directed joint air campaign, as carrier-based strike fighters and ship-launched cruise missiles pummeled Taliban airfields, air defense positions, and command and control nodes as well as al-Qaeda training bases.

How many soldiers did the US lose in Afghanistan? ›

There were 2,459 United States military deaths in the War in Afghanistan, which lasted from October 2001 to August 2021. 1,922 of these deaths were the result of hostile action. 20,769 American servicemembers were also wounded in action during the war.

How many wars has America lost? ›

US never really outright lost a war militarily. Vietnam and Afghanistan are more of “won the battles, lost the war”. The closest war that fits this description was the War of 1812.

How many Taliban were killed in Afghanistan? ›

Dead: 52,893+ killed (estimate, no official data). The insurgency had spread to some degree over the border to neighboring Pakistan, in particular Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Taliban conducted warfare against Afghan National Security Forces and their NATO allies, as well as against civilian targets.

Who runs Afghanistan now? ›

Political situation

The Taliban de facto authorities have been in control of Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul on 15 August 2021. The Taliban regime is led by Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada from the city of Kandahar with the ministries continuing to be based in Kabul, the capital.

Why did the USA invade Afghanistan? ›

The United States went to Afghanistan in 2001 to wage a necessary war of self-defense. On September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorists attacked our country. They were able to plan and execute such a horrific attack because their Taliban hosts had given them safe haven in Afghanistan.

What happened in 2006 in Afghanistan? ›

April. The 2006 Dutch/Australian Offensive began in late April and lasted until July 16. It was one of the largest offensives launched by the coalition in 2006 and resulted in over 300 Taliban fighters killed and the capture of the Chora Valley as well as the Baluchi areas.

What happened in 2000 in Afghanistan? ›

Mid-July - The Taliban authorities order the UN and foreign aid agencies to dismiss all Afghan women working for them. Mid- to late July 2000 - Kabul is hit by five bomb attacks in two weeks. The Taliban authorities accuse saboteurs of trying to create the impression of anarchy in the capital.

What happened in 2001 in Afghanistan? ›

In 2001 an International Coalition led by the USA invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban regime were removed from power and a new government was formed. At the height of the conflict that followed, there were more than 130,000 NATO troops on the ground.

Why did US Army go to Afghanistan? ›

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the United States declared the war on terror and subsequently led a multinational military operation against Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

What did Marines do in Afghanistan? ›

November 3, 2009 • The Marines in Afghanistan's Helmand province are pursuing a counterinsurgency strategy of "hold to build" — pushing out the Taliban and helping the Afghan government bring a sense of normalcy to villages in a region known as the "snake's head."

Why did US military leave Afghanistan? ›

US–Taliban deal

At the time, there were about 13,000 US troops in the country. The withdrawal was conditional on the Taliban upholding the terms of the agreement that included "not to allow al-Qaeda or any other extremist group to operate in the areas they control".

How many American soldiers were killed by friendly fire in Vietnam? ›

If we accept a commonly used figure of 11% of casualties being caused by “friendly fire”, historically, that could suggest over 6,300 US deaths during the Vietnam war.

How many idf soldiers were killed by friendly fire? ›

According to the Israeli military, since the ground invasion of Gaza beginning on 29 October, an average of two to six soldiers were killed each week from friendly fire for a total of 18 soldiers out of 170 killed as of 1 January 2024.

How many people died in the friendly fire in the Gulf war? ›

12. That was one day before a news conference at the Pentagon where officials disclosed that friendly fire caused 35 of the 148 combat deaths during the war. The Post said that in 33 of the 35 cases, Army and Marine commanders knew the cause by the end of March.

How many soldiers died in the evacuation of Afghanistan? ›

On August 26, 2021, during continued evacuation efforts at Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, a suicide bombing occurred resulting in 13 U.S. service members being killed. The event necessitated emergent medical care for many injured troops and civilians.

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