Officer killed Sergeant in Iraq


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Gabby Hayes
October 12, 2005, 11:05 PM
Not much one can say about this tragic story. Two lives destroyed by stupidity. :mad:

"To prove the weapon was unloaded, [LT] Davis pointed it at [Sgt] Tackett and fired ..."

http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/12879403.htm

WHITEHOUSE - An Eastern Kentucky soldier killed in Iraq was shot by an American officer who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide and was sentenced to 30 months at a military prison, according to the military.

Sgt. Joseph Tackett's death on June 23 was one of 10 homicides since Operation Iraqi Freedom began in March 2003. The Pentagon hasn't released an official report on the death, but officials said the 22-year-old was killed by a lieutenant who pointed his M-16 rifle at Tackett in a "safe haven," a place where loaded weapons are forbidden.

"He was killed by a stupid, senseless, irresponsible act," said his mother, Kathy Tackett, 52, a food service manager.

At a court-martial, Lt. Willie Davis pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to negligent homicide and negligent dereliction to clear his weapon and maintain muzzle awareness, said Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, spokesman for the Army's 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

The maximum sentence for the crime is 45 months in prison. Davis, of Lithonia, Ga., was sentenced to 30 months at a military prison at Fort Knox and was discharged from the Army, Kent said.

The Tacketts, from Johnson County, said Davis should have received the maximum sentence.

"To me, that's not enough punishment," said Wendell Tackett, 53, a house builder. "But what I want most from him is an apology."

Wendell Tackett said he and wife only recently learned that Davis is being held in Kentucky and have been going through military channels to try to talk to him.

Davis declined an interview request and Davis' family could not be reached for comment.

In an e-mail to the Tacketts, Col. Daniel Pinnell, Tackett's battalion commander, said he and witnesses to the shooting didn't suspect "any malicious intent" on Davis' part.

Tackett's shooting occurred in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, a walled compound where soldiers can relax and let others protect them, Fort Stewart spokesman Rich Olson said. Pinnell said in his e-mail that Tackett was shot during a nightly briefing with his and Davis' platoon.

Kathy Tackett said military officials told her the shooting occurred in the basement of one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, which was being used as living quarters.

"They said Lt. Davis came in carrying his weapon and willingly pulled the trigger on a gun he thought was empty," Kathy Tackett said.

Other soldiers asked Davis why he was bringing a weapon into the briefing, against the rules, Kathy Tackett said she was told. To prove the weapon was unloaded, Davis pointed it at Tackett and fired, she said.

The Army's casualty report on Tackett says he died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Wendell Tackett said he hopes the Army's official report provides more details, including why Davis' gun was loaded, why its safety was off, and why Davis didn't fire at the ceiling.

He said military officials told him the report would be completed by early next year.

"It's hard to know why these procedures weren't followed," Wendell Tackett said. "Not knowing exactly how this happened is the worst part."

Tackett, a 2000 graduate of Johnson County Central High School, felt a duty to enlist after 9/11, his mother said.

He was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003. After more than a year at Fort Stewart, he was deployed again in January.

Wendell Tackett said his son's death has soured him on the military.

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HD
October 12, 2005, 11:08 PM
:cuss: :banghead: :scrutiny:

Standing Wolf
October 12, 2005, 11:12 PM
See? Proves it. Only the police and military are qualified to have guns.

possum
October 12, 2005, 11:14 PM
We had an officer accidentally discharge his pistol during "cleaning", he was in the trailer type living quarters at camp liberty. The round went through his leg and three of these horrible made trailers. luckily there was no one home in the other trailers. he was a butter bar! :banghead:

Lupinus
October 12, 2005, 11:16 PM
Because of course, they are so responsible and accident's never happen.

And they absoloutly never use a gun for non sporting purposes

Everytime they pick up a gun....they go hunting :evil:

jobu07
October 12, 2005, 11:20 PM
Terrible loss. Always remember the 4 rules.

Car Knocker
October 13, 2005, 12:05 AM
the words 'lt. willie' tell me all i need to know...

Would you care to expand on that statement?

Kurt_M
October 13, 2005, 01:04 AM
LT's are notoriously incompetent and cocky. Not all of them, but enough to make it a valid stereotype. This one though... 30 months in prison? It should be 30 years. :fire:

Lupinus
October 13, 2005, 01:20 AM
If it wasa civilian at home in his garage cleaning his weapon and a neighbor came over and said, "Hey buddy that thing loaded?"

And you went "Nah it aint loaded," and then pointed it at his chest and went, "see?" Pulled the trigger and shot him through the heart. The book would be thrown at him.

Harve Curry
October 13, 2005, 01:22 AM
I'm surprised it was only 30 months or the max of 45 months.
What would it have been if the Sgt. shot the Lt.?
Same penalty or are Lt.'s worth more?
What kind of sentence is manslaughter in civilian life?

Lupinus
October 13, 2005, 01:27 AM
10-20 years if a civilian crime likly

here in florida there is a 10-20-life law

If you commit a crime with a firearm it's automaticly ten year's minimum, you rob a gas station at gun point, etc.
If you shoot someone with it, it's automaticly 20 year's minimum.
And if you kill someone with it, (are we catching on yet?) it is life minimum.

Kurush
October 13, 2005, 02:15 AM
Kathy Tackett said military officials told her the shooting occurred in the basement of one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces, which was being used as living quarters.

including why Davis' gun was loaded, why its safety was off, and why Davis didn't fire at the ceiling.Fire at the ceiling??? :uhoh: In the basement??? :eek: Better than aiming at a guy's face, admittedly, but I think maybe just pulling back the charging handle and locking the bolt might be a better first choice :banghead:

I'm the only officer in this palace professional enough to show clear by pulling the trigger!
:uhoh:

tater_salad
October 13, 2005, 02:15 AM
Such a shame gentlemen (and ladies). This just goes to show, brilliance in the basics. Never forget those 4 weapons safety rules, LIVE by those and you will never have any problems, or any guilt on your head about an accident that never should have occoured. Things like this just make me go :banghead:. We have enough to worry about over there with everybody and their brother trying to kill us, we don't need to be doing this kind of stupid crap. And thirty-some months inprisonment? That's unbelieveable, if the shooting were the other way around, I would almost guess life in the brig, what a shame... :(

Jeff White
October 13, 2005, 04:10 AM
There shouldn't be anyplace where loaded weapons are prohibited. Most of the negligent discharges occur near clearing barrels where soldiers unload after coming into a safe area.

Soldiers have poor weapons handling skills anyway because they don't handle loaded weapons much and when they do have their weapons, there are usually a lot of precautions taken to see they don't have any ammunition. Then we send them to a combat zone and give them ammunition, bring them back to a safe area and tell them to download and they treat their weapons the same way they did in garrison back stateside.

Jeff

Cosmoline
October 13, 2005, 04:17 AM
Do Army officers get any training at all with long arms before deployment? IIRC they get some minimal handgun training, but more than that I do not know.

Jeff White
October 13, 2005, 04:40 AM
Yes, officers are trained with their assigned weapon just like anyone else. The days when officers had pistols only are long gone. Nowdays, unless you are a field grade officer or in a command position you are more likely to have a rifle issued to you then a pistol.

Jeff

Delmar
October 13, 2005, 04:50 AM
Regretably, there are going to be terrible accidents like this from time to time. It is the nature of human beings to override safety briefings and such mechanical devices from time to time. It's been my experience that new people are generally more safe in weapons handling when properly trained than those who have done so for a while and get careless.

Nobody wins at this game-certainly not the victim, parents and loved ones, and the LT has to live with this for the rest of his days. I would never want to walk that walk. Can't speak to the sentence he received, only that I truly hope the lighter than max sentence was given due to the shooter's remorse.

As to officer vs EM shootings, I don't think there should be a different mandatory sentence. Bullets and death have a way of equalling the ranks, so to speak. We do hold our commissioned officers to a higher standard, and their punishment is less than an EM's in many cases. That is something I tend not to agree with.

tater_salad
October 13, 2005, 05:44 AM
There shouldn't be anyplace where loaded weapons are prohibited. Most of the negligent discharges occur near clearing barrels where soldiers unload after coming into a safe area.
+1, outstanding observation

Soldiers have poor weapons handling skills anyway because they don't handle loaded weapons much and when they do have their weapons, there are usually a lot of precautions taken to see they don't have any ammunition. Then we send them to a combat zone and give them ammunition, bring them back to a safe area and tell them to download and they treat their weapons the same way they did in garrison back stateside.


Like the Honorable Mr. Reagan said, '...Marines don't have that problem!' :evil: (Not trying to start anything here, but when we were overseas, we went 6 months in country, not one ND in our entire company.

It's been my experience that new people are generally more safe in weapons handling when properly trained than those who have done so for a while and get careless.
+1, If you've been overseas, you've seen the 'Complacency Kills' signs stenciled on every piece of concrete barrier / bunker they could find. It's for a reason.

Stinkyshoe
October 13, 2005, 06:08 AM
That is truly sad. The fact that this individual would knowing point a real weapon (for anything but sanctioned training) at a comrade is just unacceptable. *** is wrong with him? He should get more than 30 months. He should get his dumb ass sentenced to hard labor for being a cocky piece of ******. His arrogance killed a man! :cuss: :cuss:

My friends in the military scare me the most(with the exception of one). I can't count the number of times I have been flashed with a muzzle of weapon during 'show&tell' or while at the range. One of my airborne friends told me how when he was stationed in Kuwait, the guys in his unit would play chicken with their Berettas(loaded) while pointing them to their own head, pulling the trigger in double action mode(releasing the trigger before the gun went off)!

Has the military changed its standards since "back it the day"? I credit my dads drill sergant in the army (inpart) for my current level of safety awareness (and of course the rest goes to you fine gentleman here and my hunter safety teacher). Through the fear of a size 12 boot in the ass and fear of major butt chewing, my dad learned firearm safety. He was nicer to me about it though :)

tater_salad
October 13, 2005, 06:30 AM
I'll tell you what I've seen a lot of recently. Cocky punks fresh out of high school that want to join the military just to be 'cool' or 'bad-ass.' These are the kids that come home after basic or MOS school and try to start fights with everyone and their brother to show how 'bad' they are. They're the ones that tell the lies to all their friends about how they fast-roped from the moon in boot camp and how their drill instructors flew them straight to Iraq to finish their training because they were that 'damn' good. The military is still a very fine organization, with extremely dedicated and professional instructors. Unfortunately, a lot of power has been taken away from those instructors and with courtmartials flying freely through recruit training depots, many are afraid to overstep their bounds. It is truly unfortunate because the people that want to be there for a reason, to fight for their country and really take some hell to the people that threaten it, don't get the real training they came for and then get a bad rap because of all the punks joining the ranks that just don't give a damn and don't care if they tarnish the record and reputation of every single veteran and fallen hero. Then these punks feel they have the right to call themselves 'soldier' or 'airman' or 'sailor' or 'Marine' Hell no. Sorry gentlemen, that doesn't cut it. You are none of those after you graduate boot, I don't care what your recruiter told you. You finally become what you joined when you feel it inside of you, and you'll know when. It could be 2 months or it could be 20 years. It's when you make a concious decision to take everything you've learned about discipline and honor and courage and commitment, and live by those codes. To realize 'this is who I am now, and I have a responsibility not only to my self, but my brothers and sisters in arms NOT to be a piece of ???? and to uphold the customs and traditions, the honor and privelage of being a member of the United States Armed Forces 24/7. Cockieness has no place in the military, I'll give you a little motto my platoon commander gave us in our workup before we hit the sand box. Confident, Cocky, Lazy, Dead. Make of it what you will.

Switching rant mode to off now, thanks :)

CombatArmsUSAF
October 13, 2005, 09:16 AM
Just another example of Officer related incompetence. I see this kind of stupidity on a daily basis in my classes. Also, we can't lay down the iron fist because then they go back to their commander, who calls our commander, who calls us, and now we're on the commander's s*** list for disrespecting a commisioned officer. For some reason they think that because they have a degree that they know better than us who teach and handle firearms on a daily basis.

Byron Quick
October 13, 2005, 09:57 AM
Either procedures are different in the Army than the Air Force or things sure have changed. Some of the schools I went through in the Army back in the seventies had platoons of officers going through the same training. Ranked up to major. In jump in particular, I pitied those officers. The DI's spent so much time giving them hell that they didn't have much left over for the enlisted trainees. The NCO instructors were much tougher of the officers than the enlisted men in all the training I participated in. The officers were punished for infractions that the enlisted men were not punished for. The officers were roder harder by the NCO's. The NCO's talked more contemptuously to the officers than to the enlisted men. Punishment push ups were more. Time in the forward leaning rest position was longer. The officers caught hell.

Sir, give me forty, sir! Sir, you do push ups like a private, sir! A sissy private. How long have you been in the Army, sir? Six years? Doing what, sir? Sitting behind a desk? This is a sad day for my Army, sir. I've seen better officers made out of lead! And on and on. That was just the lead in.

KC&97TA
October 13, 2005, 02:43 PM
This proves my point in changeing the Marine Corps safety rules, I like the rules at GUN SITE.

1. all guns are always loaded

2. never let the muzzel cover anything you are not willing to destroy

3. keep your finger off the trigger till your sites are on the target

4. always be sure of your target

I was involved in training over 300 personel for carbine rifle and pistol earlier this year, I had a loaded pistol ceared while it was pointed at my stomach (pfc got knocked to the deck afterwards) and the most brilliant I've seen in 6 yrs of active service, two 2nd Lt's kneeling with drop holsters on, faceing each other, one had her 9mm berretta decocking lever up and hammer cocked, with a loaded mag and one in the chamber. Didn't even go there, the Gunny smoke checked her rump

one45auto
October 13, 2005, 03:23 PM
***?!? :scrutiny:

Are they scraping the bottom of the barrel for recruits, or what? :confused:

I'm beginning to think they'll take anyone with a pulse - brain cells are an optional extra.

tater_salad
October 14, 2005, 01:27 AM
***?!? :scrutiny:

Are they scraping the bottom of the barrel for recruits, or what? :confused:

I'm beginning to think they'll take anyone with a pulse - brain cells are an optional extra.

I did just read something about the Army letting in more recruits with GEDs insted of diplomas, loosening up on regs for criminal backgrounds and such also. All because enlistment rates are down. No wonder why they're down, nobody wants to fight with a bunch of morons, you have a better chance of getting killed by your own men then by enemy action it seems. (thankfully, the men in my unit were very disciplined and well trained. We had no problems.)

Harve Curry
October 14, 2005, 07:05 AM
QUOTE from Delmar "We do hold our commissioned officers to a higher standard, and their punishment is less than an EM's in many cases. That is something I tend not to agree with."


I was wondering about that, thanks for the answer.

If that's the case then that is a sorry military law that needs to be changed ASAP.

demusn1979
October 14, 2005, 07:38 AM
i dropped out of a gang infested Chicago high school where shootings were the norm.
Army denied me and directed me to U.S.N.
six years later honorable discharge and GED in hand off to U of A.

K-Man
October 14, 2005, 08:00 AM
Military law/punishments are a unique system. There are many factors that go into determining a sentence for a particular accused. You do have the maximum that can be imposed, though that's rarely done. Oftentimes you have a person negotiating a pretrial agreement, wherein they plead guilty to a certain offense in trade for a cap on the amount of confinement, reduction in rank, amount of fine, type of discharge, that can be imposed by either the judge or jury. There are no minimum sentence requirements, such as seen in many state/federal courts. In determining a "fair" sentence, some of the things that are looked at is what the offense is, what sentences have been imposed for that type of offense previously, what's been upheld on appeal/review, the track record of the accused, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances at the time the offense occurred, the amount of remorse "shown" by the accused, etc.

With respect to officer vs enlisted status and preferential treatment, I've seen officers nailed as severe as the enlisted, and sometimes harsher. It does, in part, depend on who's sitting in the command seat at the time and the standard to which they hold the officers responsible.

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