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Posted: 12/14/2005 3:41:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 3:57:42 PM EDT by Young-Kiwi]
Expensive reminder...

www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpost/0,2106,3511931a6479,00.html

Army officer fined for firing his rifle
15 December 2005

An army officer has been fined $1400 for accidentally firing his rifle in Afghanistan three months ago.

Major Patrick Julian Butterworth, 45, of Wellington, who has just returned from a tour of duty, pleaded guilty at a full court martial at Trentham army base yesterday.

"I admit making a mistake and I'm very sorry for wasting everybody's time by having to come here," he told the five officers presiding.

The court was told the unauthorised discharge of Major Butterworth's Steyr rifle took place on September 29 when the 12-member squad he was commanding went to a range near the New Zealand base to practise live firing ambush drills before going on a two-week patrol.

He failed to carry out proper unloading drills. This meant a bullet was still in the rifle when he aimed it and pulled the trigger to test that it was clear.

Major Butterworth, who served 20 years in the British Army before signing up with the New Zealand Army last year, is the 12th officer in six years to be convicted and fined by court martial for unauthorised-discharge incidents in Afghanistan, East Timor and New Zealand.

Similar offences by lower-ranking personnel are dealt with summarily by commanding officers but courts martial are required for those over the rank of major.

The formal charge of omitting an act which could prejudice service discipline carries a maximum penalty of two years' jail but most cases are dealt with by a fine.


Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:43:47 PM EDT
ouch
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:43:57 PM EDT
ND
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:47:26 PM EDT
Holy shit, a courtmartial for an ND?

I could understand if he damaged/hurt something or someone, but damn.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:50:34 PM EDT
I am going to ask a stupid question, but when someone says courtmarshal, does it always mean that you are in court determining whether or not you can be ini the military or is it like a court system that you go through when you screw up on the job?
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:56:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 8:52:29 PM EDT by bblake00]
Let me get this strait. He points it in a safe direction to confirm that it's empty by pulling the triger and it goes boom and he gets a court martial.



Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:10:19 PM EDT
Really not enough information given here to have an informed opinion about the incident in question.

Was he at the place where the weapons were supposed to be cleared, or was he at another location much later?

To me, it's not as big a deal if you pop a round into the clearing barrel. After all, that's what the barrel is for. And I have to wonder about the range procedures for clearing weapons coming on and off the line (course of fire).

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:13:52 PM EDT
$1400? That same ND in the US might have cost $14,000.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:15:40 PM EDT
A court martial makes more sense these days if you say it the other way: martial court.
It's just a military court proceeding, but the only ones we tend to hear about are the ones where people are getting ejected from the military.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:19:42 PM EDT


Dumbass.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:38:55 PM EDT
That gentlemen is called Strict Discipline. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say ND's are probably not that common in the NZ Army.

Wanna bet how common they are in the U.S.Army??????

Something to think about.....
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:24:24 PM EDT
Just fininshed reading "Fireforce" by Chris Cocks. While a private in the Rhodesian Light Infantry, he had an AD which resulted in 28 days sentence in a Disciplinary Battalion. I wish we had a similar policy in the US army.

AD's have been a tremendous problem in the Army, since 9/11 over 45 soldiers have died. Basic training Recruits are living with their rifles 24/7 now, and have to clear their weapons before entering a building. I was at Fort LenardWood this summer and it's is true.



Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:37:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Harv24:
That gentlemen is called Strict Discipline. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say ND's are probably not that common in the NZ Army.

Wanna bet how common they are in the U.S.Army??????

Something to think about.....



Yea because their government can't afford to waste the ammo. Cost to much!

Seems excessive. Is that not the whole point of the clear barrel? Its the last line of safety measures. Now all they have done is to encourage folks to not use them because they might fire and get court martialed.

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:42:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Young-Kiwi:

The formal charge of omitting an act which could prejudice service discipline carries a maximum penalty of two years' jail but most cases are dealt with by a fine.




Sounds like he wasn't busted for the ND but for failing to properly clear. The charge sounds like he could have been nailed even if he didn't pull the trigger and just turned in his weapon.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 6:53:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dracster:

Originally Posted By Young-Kiwi:

The formal charge of omitting an act which could prejudice service discipline carries a maximum penalty of two years' jail but most cases are dealt with by a fine.




Sounds like he wasn't busted for the ND but for failing to properly clear. The charge sounds like he could have been nailed even if he didn't pull the trigger and just turned in his weapon.



Yep, I'd say that's the case.
I guess the failure was to clear the weapon properly, if he had done all the right steps in the right order, the weapon would not have been loaded. He must not have.

{Oh and BTW, the government not being able to afford the ammo, is close enough to the truth to be funny}
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 6:56:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/14/2005 6:56:33 PM EDT by SWO_daddy]
For the grammar and/or spelling disabled: Court MARTIAL

That is all.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 7:01:03 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
$1400? That same ND in the US might have cost $14,000.



Uh, no. With exchange at today's rate about 987.881 USD.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 7:05:08 PM EDT
That's just BS
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 7:13:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
$1400? That same ND in the US might have cost $14,000.



Uh, no. With exchange at today's rate about 987.881 USD.



Not talking exchange rates. Talking about the cost of an ND.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 7:23:53 PM EDT
To everyone saying this fine is BS, over the top, outrageous, bla blah blah... Maybe you've never had to wonder if the guy next to you is competent enough to carry his weapon. I'm not scared of the enemy as much as the idiot next to me that can't remember if he has a round chambered or not.

Just graduated the "new and improved" Army Warrior Leader's Course AKA PLDC, part of the new and improved is weapons integration. We carry weapons all day from the time we finish PT until after dinner, with a mag full of blanks. We had two AD's. One of which could have resulted in serious injury had the rifle been pointed two inches to the right. Soldier was clearing the weapon prior to turn in, didn't drop the magazine first, pulled the trigger while walking by someone. He got a headache instead of a face full of burning powder. Person responsible received only a 4856 and was disqualified from any individual honors at graduation and was excluded from the jump prior to graduation. Sorry but I find that unacceptable. Not only that it happened but that the punishment (if you could call it that) was so light. We were in this course as junior enlisted about to become NCO's, ie Leaders of Soldiers. This is not the person I want next to me in any situation involving loaded firearms and not the person I want in charge. Should have at least been dropped from the course, removed from promotion standing list for failure to complete NCOES course.

Fratricide is a HUGE problem in our military. Granted no one was hurt in either the case I cited or the topic of the post but any AD/ND should be treated as though someone was. I always tell anyone I'm in charge of during training with weapons that each round in that magazine is a life, it may be the enemy's or it may be your buddy's. Treat it as such.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 8:09:32 AM EDT
He got what he deserved. I got what I might have deserved (though my own companies senior NCO's thought it was too harsh) when I had my ND last year. I do have a bit of an excuse though. I had a tumor (didn't know it was a cancer tumor then though) growing in the side of my face pushing on my jaw joint. That caused me so much constant pain that I couldn't sleep for more than maybe 20 minutes at a time every couple hours. I had maybe 40 hours of sleep in a 30+ day period, many daysas little as 1, the most was a day off I had and I did nothing but try to sleep. I got I think 6 hours when I added it all up. I was at the point of dozing off while standing up and catching myself as I was falling, and once fell asleep while in the middle of a conversation. I told my PSG that I was afraid it was affecting my job, since I didn't trust myself when searching cars (deployed to be a gate guard basically), and would double check myself just to sure I didn't miss anything. The next day I stuck a mag in my M9, forgot about it and we did function checks on our weapons. I didn't clear it first, didn't look into the chamber when racking the slide to check the single action and reset. End result was a 9mm hole in the top of the tent, and a round coming down somewhere in the desert.
A week later I finally got to see a dentist (the doc I saw first thought it was a TMJ condition).
The LTC who gave me my Article 15 thought it was bullshit and an excuse. He never used the excuse, "that I was tired," when he made a mistake. Well sorry, there is a difference between just being tired and completely exhausted. Fucking Ranger School students get more sleep.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 8:23:49 AM EDT
Court-Martial for ND in a combat zone, hmmmmmmmmm a little sensitive they are.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 8:27:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Combatvet:
Court-Martial for ND in a combat zone, hmmmmmmmmm a little sensitive they are.



perhaps they don't have the nonjudicial punishment avenues that our UCMJ has? Dunno....
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 8:42:09 AM EDT
That SUCKS, but kudos for the guy for standing up and taking it like a man. It's sad that it is so rare these days to see someone stand up and admit to even a simple mistake.


"I admit making a mistake and I'm very sorry for wasting everybody's time by having to come here," he told the five officers presiding.


That is a hell of a man, an officer, and a leader. It sucks that an ND will cost him and blemish his record.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 11:43:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/15/2005 11:46:17 AM EDT by kar98k]

Originally Posted By ArmyAirborne:
Just graduated the "new and improved" Army Warrior Leader's Course AKA PLDC...



Congratulations on making (or about to make) E-4.


Originally Posted By spartacus2002:
perhaps they don't have the nonjudicial punishment avenues that our UCMJ has? Dunno....



Article said that the policy is that Majors and above get judicial pinushment (Court Martial) for this particular offense, Captains and below would have been eligible for non-judicial punishment (Art. 15 equivilent.)
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 12:17:55 PM EDT
Damn, beat me to it. Notice how many guys didn't read the first post where it said Majors and up get Courts where lower ranks might not.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 2:17:01 PM EDT
Well, during Desert Storm, I remember reading in the newspaper that a USA soldier was accidently killed, shot in the head while he slept by the soldier who did not clear his rifle properly, the guy removed the mag, but forgot to clear the chamber.
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