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Lakehead University Magazine Spring/Summer 2006


Friendly Fire - The Untold Story of the U.S. Bombing that Killed Four Canadian Soldiers in AfghanistanFRIENDLY FIRE - The Untold Story of the U.S. Bombing that Killed Four Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan

Moments after he dropped a laser-guided bomb on a platoon of Canadian paratroopers near Kandahar, Major Harry Schmidt sensed that he might have made a terrible mistake. “I hope that was the right thing to do,” the elite U.S. fighter pilot said over the cockpit radio, as smoke billowed underneath his jet.

“Me too,” replied his flight lead, Major Bill Umbach. Thousands of feet below, four Canadian soldiers—Sgt Marc Léger, Corporal Ainsworth Dyer, Private Nathan Smith, and Private Richard Green—were dead. Eight of their comrades were wounded.

What happened on April 17, 2002, forever changed lives on both sides of the border. For years, the incident grabbed front-page headlines, culminating in unprecedented criminal charges against the F-16 pilots who unleashed the bomb. However, despite the overwhelming media coverage, much of this story has never been told—until now. Based on dozens of exclusive interviews and thousands of pages of classified documents that were never publicly disclosed, Friendly Fire: The Untold Story of the U.S. Bombing that Killed Four Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan (Wiley Canada, November 2005, $36.99) by Michael Friscolanti is the first comprehensive account of that tragic night and its controversial aftermath.


Mike Friscolanti Michael Friscolanti (HBA‘99), now a Senior Writer with Maclean’s magazine, covered the friendly fire story for the National Post newspaper from the night of the fatal bombing. He quickly emerged as one of the foremost reporters on this story, traveling across Canada and the United States to investigate the unfolding drama. Along the way, he broke many of the most important stories about the case, including the first-ever interview with one of the pilots. 
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