Originally created 03/10/99

Questions accountability of accident 031099 - The Augusta Chronicle

I have only been out of the military for a little over a year now. I am all too familiar with poorly maintained equipment, inadequate training and superiors who only want to hear reports that give them "warm fuzzies." The "higher-ups" don't like to hear about equipment breakdowns or lack of training time and materials.

I have no doubt that the plane Capt. Richard Ashby was flying when he cut the cable of the ski gondola, sending 20 people to their deaths, may not have been completely functional. Neither would I be surprised if his maps were out of date or inaccurate. However, I do find it hard to believe that a pilot with his supposed experience could not tell the difference between an altitude of 360 feet and 1,000 feet or realize that he was flying 100 mph over the 517 mph speed limit set for his training mission.

I believe there was some element of "hot-dogging" involved in this incident. Captain Ashby, however, should not be held solely responsible. His superiors, his peers, his trainers (especially those in charge of this particular training exercise), indeed, the military establishment as a whole all bear some responsibility for this tragedy.

Where is the outrage at this verdict and the total lack of accountability? I am sure the families of those who lost their lives would like to know who is responsible. Will anyone be held accountable?

Erika Pracht,North Augusta

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