SO, WHO'S TO BLAME?

A COURT-MARTIAL FINDS A PILOT NOT GUILTY, BUT EVIDENCE REVEALS SHOCKING LAPSES IN AIR FORCE PROCEDURES

IT SEEMED AS ROUTINE AS PUNCHING UP a favorite station on the car radio--the simple push of a button. But this time it would kill them. Before lifting off from southern Turkey, bound for northern Iraq on April 14 of last year, the pilots of two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters activated the "friend-or-foe" system designed to identify them to other U.S. aircraft. They set it to frequency 42. That was the setting prescribed in the top-secret "air-tasking order" they received from the Air Force each day they ventured into the part of Iraq policed by U.S. aircraft.

About an hour...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!