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All Things Negligent Discharge (merged)

Haggis said:
Oh, God NO!!!!

Sorry this is incorrect, at least as of 1 year ago. We always had our weapon with us at night. For safety reasons we never had bolts.
In reference to problems conducting weapons drills, on your own in the shacks, without bolts.

Allthough not an ideal solution, for some of the people having trouble practicing the drills, we ended up using a boot band to pull the cocking handle back into place. Allthough not a perfect solution it did help a few people get the feel of the drills.
Crockett said:
...we ended up using a boot band to pull the cocking handle back into place.

Clever solution.  Bolt turn in is for security not safety.
Crockett said:
In reference to problems conducting weapons drills, on your own in the shacks, without bolts.

Allthough not an ideal solution, for some of the people having trouble practicing the drills, we ended up using a boot band to pull the cocking handle back into place. Allthough not a perfect solution it did help a few people get the feel of the drills.

We did the same trick on course (Summer 2009) with boot bands while we were in the shacks. The only time we were within 10 feet of our bolts was during weapons classes/handling test and while out in Farnham.  The only time we could practice with the complete system on our own time for reinforcement was during coffee breaks during weapons week.

The problem I saw with the boot band solution could be analogised as learning to drive stick-shift in a car with no transmission.  Sure, you can press the clutch, and put a rubber band on the gearshift, but you still have to pretend you're feeling/hearing the actions of the drivetrain. If you already grasp what's going on, it works fine as a refresher, but if you aren't clear on how the system is operated, you'll learn nothing.

I think what I'm trying to say is that more time spent with a bolt carrier (or inert replacement) could assist development of the muscle memory required at 0stupid30 with minimal sleep, as what is being done now doesn't seem to develop much.  Maybe this might reduce the occurrence rate of NDs at the basic training level  :2c:

I was told afterwards (due to being recoursed) that my platoon managed 4 NDs in a 5 day period in the field...  THAT should have been preventable.
For safety would not a plastic barrel plug suffice? The IDF uses something like that, although it does not have to be as long as theirs.
It's a rifle, not a phaser (or, even worse, an automatic pistol or an SMG). No pully trigger, no boom boom.

Once upon a time I had the pleasure of watching an (over excitable and generally disliked) OC get nailed for $2000 for an ND on the ground during a scene... and he deserved it, but I could understand it. But an ND in the loading bay? C'mon.. place your head in the noose over here, sir.

One drill (i.e., those procedures we put in place to make sure we do things right even if we're tired or under stress) I recall that prevented this from happening is for the patrol commander, whether they were a Cpl or a Col, to supervise the load/unload for his/her stick, then perform the same him/herself supervised by one of the patrol members.

It's all about teamwork, eh?  :nod:
I remember two ends of the safety issue when mounting guard. In AIT at Ft Polk I was guarding the finance office the night before payday with my M16 and bayonet - no ammo. At the other end of the spectrum I was assigned guard duty with an M16 with several rounds of blanks loaded on top of the live ammo. They were intended as warning shots. :nod:
tomahawk6 said:
... with an M16 with several rounds of blanks loaded on top of the live ammo. They were intended as warning shots. :nod:

It can happen to anyone in the Miltary no matter your rank!


Canada's commander in Afghanistan charged
By QMI Agency

Canada's top solider in Afghanistan, under investigation after his rifle went off unexpectedly at Kandahar Airfield in March, was officially charged Monday.

Last week, Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard took the unusual step of letting media know he was under investigation.

On Monday, he was charged with one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline contrary to section 129 of the National Defence Act.

There were no injuries or damages as a result of the shot.

The matter is now before a military prosecutions director who will decide if the charge will go to court, where, because of Menard's rank, he would face a court martial.

If convicted, he faces a fine.

The charge he faces is a common one, said military spokeswoman Maj. Paule Poulin.

“Normally, unintentional discharges like this are not investigated (by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service – the investigative wing of the Military Police), but because of his rank they wanted to see it through,” Poulin said.

The rifle fired on March 25 at Kandahar Airfield, where Menard oversees both Canadian and other Western forces in Afghanistan.

Investigators probed whether the assault rifle he was carrying fired a round due to equipment failure before laying charges.

Such a simple matter taken to the front pages of a newspaper.  Making mountains out of molehills...

OTTAWA — Two Canadian colonels face charges under the military justice system over allegations of mishandling weapons while serving in Afghanistan.

The military says Col. Scagnetti, a former reservist with 31 Canadian Brigade Group, is charged under the National Defence Act with "neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline."

Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20111203/canadian-colonels-military-justice-system-111203/#ixzz1fb4OQdES

More at link. Apparently ND's are national news now.
Greymatters said:
Such a simple matter taken to the front pages of a newspaper.  Making mountains out of molehills...

Beg to differ here, but  that bit of news demonstrates to the corporals and privates that their senior leadership (CLS, CDS etc) take weapon handling seriously and that all who have an ND will be held accontable, including colonels.
It also demonstrates to the public that we hold all accountable for thier actions.

It wasn't that way a few years ago.
Sythen said:

More at link. Apparently ND's are national news now.

They're likely hoping to dig up a clerk they banged or something in the background.

And I agree with Jim, it's good to see the accountability.
tomahawk6 said:
Must be a slow news day when ND's make the national news. :)

in Canada....it's always a slow news day....we leave the racy stuff to you guys & gals.... ;D
[sarcasm on] Nice story. [sarcasm off]  They say, "Scagnetti has been released from the military and has a court martial set for Dec. 13", implying that he was released because of the ND.  Actually, he retired in Sept as had been his plan all along.  It was NOT a result of the ND or court martial.
From today's London Free Press shared with the usual disclaimer

Respected colonel fined $2,000, career ends with 'slight blemish' COURT MARTIAL:

Col. Paul Scagnetti's weapon accidentally discharged in Afghanistan


It was a few seconds of controlled chaos that blemished an otherwise-stellar military career.

And it was an incident that illustrates how seriously the Canadian Forces treats an act most civilians would regard as a minor blip. Col. Paul Scagnetti pleaded guilty Tuesday to negligently discharging his rifle -- specifically, of "conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline" -- during a security exercise in Afghanistan last May.

Scagnetti most recently served with 31 Canadian Brigade, based in London. A 30-year reservist who also commanded 33 Brigade Group, Scagnetti was fined $2,000 during Tuesday's court martial, a rare proceeding that was the second court martial in London in two days.

In a spartan white room with spotless tile floors and adorned only by a Canadian flag and the Canadian Forces ensign, Lt.-Col. J.G. Perron, the presiding military judge, heard of Scagnetti's record of service and the sole misstep of his career.

"Negligent discharge of a weapon is a serious offence," Perron said during sentencing. "We all understand the importance of keeping complete control over our weapons."

Scagnetti, a reservist since 1981, rose through the ranks to become colonel in 2006. He held a leadership position while deployed in Sierra Leone and was eligible to retire when he accepted a post to serve in Kabul, Afghanistan, in that country's restructuring.

One task there was to oversee the construction of a $10-million facility to help the area recover from decades of conflict. Another was to be team leader for Canadian troops and a mentor to Afghan nationals so they could rebuild their country's security.

In May this year, he was in his office with two Afghan interpreters when a security drill unexpectedly sounded.

As Scagnetti readied himself, he squeezed the trigger of his C8 assault rifle and a live round lodged itself in a concrete wall.

"No one was injured but that was only a fortunate consequence. It could have been otherwise," Perron said during sentencing.

Prosecutor Capt. J.C. Maguire commended Scagnetti for launching an investigation immediately, having statements gathered from witnesses and taking full responsibility.

Maguire said the early guilty plea also showed Scagnetti's accountability, integrity and honour at all times before and after the incident.

Scagnetti also wrote a memo to the senior legal adviser in which he said he planned to plead guilty and would like the matter resolved as soon as possible, for the good of the Forces.

"Discipline must be seen to be swift, regardless of rank," Scagnetti said in the letter.

Tuesday, he appeared in a charcoal-black suit instead of in military dress. His release from the military because of retirement took effect in November and he appeared as a civilian in the military court.

It was a far distance from a similar hearing convened in the same room a day earlier, when former medic James Wilks was sentenced in disgrace to nine months in jail for betraying the trust of potential recruits he was supposed to examine.

By contrast, Scagnetti's lawyer, Col. D.K. Fullerton, presented letters of reference from brigadiers-general attesting to Scagnetti's character and skill.

One performance review in June 2010 called the colonel a "loyal and dedicated reserve officer with impeccable judgment and a refined sense of ethical and moral standards . . . (and) a quintessential team player.

"His response to the demands placed upon him has been nothing short of brilliant."

Perron said Scagnetti had served Canada well.

"Unfortunately, this career must end with a slight blemish. I say 'slight' because this is an act of negligence" and not a wilful offence, Perron said.

The repercussion for someone with a lesser rank would have been summary discipline by a senior officer, not a court martial.

Instead, Scagnetti pleaded guilty, knowing he could face a maximum penalty of dismissal with disgrace.

Both the prosecutor and defence jointly agreed there was precedent for a $2,000 fine.

- - -


* Col. Paul Scagnetti, 56, married with three adult children.

* Taught English and history at a Timmins secondary school.

* In March 1981, joined the Algonquin Regiment reserve unit as a second lieutenant. Recognized for integrity, intellect and leadership and rapidly promoted to lieutenant, then captain, major, lieutenant-colonel. In 2006, promoted to colonel and became commander of 33 Canadian Brigade. Served out his career with 31 Brigade, based in London.

* Served as task force commander in Sierra Leone, West Africa, from December 2004 to June 2005.

* A member of the Land Force Area Reserve Restructuring Working Group in Afghanistan and participated as area representative on the National Working Group in 2010-11.

- - -


* Working in shared office at Kabul National Army Command when security drill is announced.

* Immediately puts on flak jacket while another officer unlocks weapons cabinet in adjacent hallway. He loads Scagnetti's C8 assault rifle and hands it, uncocked, to him.

* Scagnetti places rifle on his desk, zips up tactical vest, dons his helmet. He picks up rifle again as he takes his post at a window.

* One of two Afghan interpreters in the office asks a question about a document on Scagnetti's desk.

* Distracted, Scagnetti squeezes trigger and one live round fires through bulletin board and lodges in concrete wall. It's unclear how a round of live ammo is in the weapon or why the weapon is cocked.

* No one is hurt and no one was in the arc of fire.

* Scagnetti immediately asks if interpreters are OK, then points rifle to corner floor while he clears weapon and double-checks his work.

* He opens window to clear smoke from the room and retrieves spent casing.

* He immediately asks officer now in the room and the interpreters to make a statement about incident. He makes a statement himself and reports incident to his commanding officer.

* Pleads guilty Dec. 13 and is fined $2,000

- - -


* Deals with offences by members of Canadian Forces against civilian and military law.

* Judge is a military officer. Prosecutor, defence may be military or civilian.

* Rigid rules of procedure that exceed protocols even in a civilian court.

* Emphasis on solemnity, decorum, order, respect for the law and security of society.

In my opinion, Col (ret'd) Scagnetti did everything right after this incident and acted in a completely professional manner. 
Taking this one step further....
A military investigation following the shooting death of a Canadian soldier has found that four comrades who served in Afghanistan in 2007 mishandled weapons, but three were only ordered to correct their behaviour.

The Canadian Forces said Wednesday that the "remedial measures" were given to the three soldiers in the last couple of years. No remedial measures were pursued for the fourth soldier.

Remedial measures can include training and maybe counselling. If a problem persists, members could lose their rank or be kicked out of the military.

"Although their conduct at the time was inappropriate, their performance since then indicates that the incidents which occurred during the training prior to deploying to Afghanistan were isolated and not indicative of their usual behaviour," Col. James Camsell, commander of 36 Canadian Brigade Group, said in a statement.

The allegations of improper handling of weapons by members of 36 CBG came up during the first court martial of Matthew Wilcox ....
The Canadian Press, 14 Dec 11
And now this...

Lawyer slams penalties for weapons infractions

December 15, 2011 - 5:48am BY THE CANADIAN PRESS

Three Canadian soldiers who broke weapons rules in Afghan­istan have received the civilian equivalent of disciplinary letters, a penalty two lawyers say won’t address a wider problem with the handling of firearms.

The Canadian Forces said in a news release Wednesday that four soldiers in Afghanistan violated standards for weapons handling before and after they were deployed to Afghanistan in 2007.

One of the soldiers received no penalty, while three had records of what the military calls a “reme­dial measure" placed on their personnel files. All of the soldiers are members of 36 Canadian Brigade Group, the main army reserve unit based in Halifax.

The news release says allega­tions of inappropriate use of weapons arose in 2009 during the first of two military trials for Matthew Wilcox, then a corporal with the unit.

At the initial court martial, the military says photos and videos submitted as evidence suggested there may have been instances of inappropriate use of weapons by members of the unit. That prompted the military to start an investigation in October 2009 that was led by Col. Tom Stinson, a former unit commander.

Wilcox was convicted of crimi­nal negligence causing death in the shooting of fellow reservist Cpl. Kevin Megeney while the two were in their tent in Afghan­istan in March 2007.

David Bright, Wilcox’s lawyer, said he saw the report on the weapons mishandling cases and he argues they should have been treated more seriously.

“In my view, the breaches of firearm safety by these folks appeared to be very significant and certainly called for more than a letter being there," he said.

He said a more thorough pro­cess would have seen the matter referred to the military police.

The names of the soldiers weren’t released by the military, which cited their privacy rights.

Capt. Colette Brake, a spokes­woman for the unit, said in an email the soldiers received a warning, probation or counsel­ling, but she couldn’t elaborate.

Lt.-Col. Alex MacDonald, the unit’s deputy commander, said he believes the response has been adequate.

“Clearly as an institution we’re focused on safe weapons hand­ling practices. It’s our business, it’s what we do," he said.

“We take these incidents very seriously and we believe as an institution we’ve treated the situation with the . . . seriousness required and we’ve treated these Canadian Forces members fairly." He declined to give details on what happened in each of the incidents where weapons stan­dards weren’t met.

Asked if a remedial record is similar to a disciplinary letter a civilian might receive on their employment file, MacDonald replied: “I would liken it, yes, to the scale of things that one would do in the civilian world as well, as far as employment relation­ships are concerned, yeah."

Wilcox was sentenced to four years in jail after he was convict­ed for a second time last month.

The new trial was ordered after the Court Martial Appeal Court ruled the military jury at the first court martial was formed impro­perly.

At both trials, prosecutors argued that Wilcox had been playing a game known as quick­draw and had neglected to unload his gun before entering his tent.

Defence lawyers argued there was a wider culture of firearms mishandling in the unit.

At the first trial, a video was introduced as evidence showing one of Wilcox’s superiors holding an unloaded 9-mm pistol to the head of another soldier and say­ing “click." Another video showed the soldier assembling a pistol and pointing it at the video­grapher.

Brake declined t

Michel Drapeau, a lawyer and retired military officer, said he believes the administrative penal­ties for the three soldiers are sufficient but the military’s se­nior leadership was let off too lightly.

“We’ve punished Wilcox and we’re punishing three . . . others, but the problem may still be existing," he said.

In sentencing Wilcox, the military judge at his second trial said the leadership of the Cana­dian military had to accept part of the blame for lax firearms safety at the Kandahar Airfield in Af­ghanistan.

Drapeau said the judge’s ad­monishment of the military’s leadership shouldn’t be forgotten.

Link: http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/42900-lawyer-slams-penalties-weapons-infractions