Caso Calipari: il rapporto USA (in inglese) senza omissis.
>Caso Calipari: il rapporto USA (in inglese)
A. (U) Administrative Matters
(U) Appointing Authority
I was appointed by LTG John R. Vines, Commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq
(MNC-I) on 8 March 2005 to investigate, per U.S. Army Regulation 15-6 (Annex
1B), all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident at a Traffic
Control Point (TCP) in Baghdad, Iraq on 4 March 2005 that resulted in the death
of Mr. Nicola Calipari and the wounding of Ms. Giuliana Sgrena and Mr. Andrea Carpani. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Thelin,
USMC was appointed as my legal advisor for this investigation. I was directed
to thoroughly review (1) the actions of the Soldiers manning the TCP, (2) the
training of the Soldiers manning the TCP, (3) TCP procedures, (4) the local
security situation, (5) enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), (6) the Rules of Engagement (ROE) employed during
the incident, and (7) any coordination effected with the Soldiers at the TCP or
their higher levels of command on the transport of Ms. Sgrena
from Baghdad to Baghdad International Airport (BIAP). (Annex
The appointing letter (Annex 1A) refers to the location of the incident as
being a Traffic Control Point (TCP). As will be further explained in this
report, the Soldiers involved were actually manning a former Traffic Control
Point, but executing a blocking mission. This mission took place at a
southbound on-ramp from Route Vernon (also known as Route Force on MNF-I
graphics) onto westbound Route Irish, the road to BIAP. The intersection of
these two routes has been designated as Checkpoint 541. For purposes of this
report, the position will be referred to as Blocking Position 541 (BP 541).
(U) Brief Description of the Incident
On the evening of 4 March 2005, personnel of A Company of 1-69 Infantry
(attached to 2d Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division), were patrolling
Route Irish, the road linking downtown Baghdad
with BIAP. Seven of those Soldiers were then assigned the mission of
establishing and manning a Blocking Position (BP) on the southbound on-ramp off
Route Vernon to westbound Route Irish. They were to man the BP until relieved,
which was anticipated to be after a convoy transporting the U.S. Ambassador to Camp Victory
had passed and arrived at its destination.
The Soldiers established the BP by approximately 1930 hours and began executing
their mission. At approximately 2050 hours, the car carrying Mr. Calipari, Mr. Carpani, and Ms. Sgrena, traveling southbound on
Route Vernon, approached the on-ramp to enter westbound Route Irish. For
reasons that are examined later in this report, the car came under fire. The
shooting resulted in the wounding of the driver (Mr. Andrea Carpani),
and Ms. Sgrena, and the death of Mr. Nicola Calipari. The Commanding General, Third Infantry Division
directed a commander’s inquiry/preliminary investigation be conducted that
(U) Constraints and Limitations
Ideally, the scene of the incident would have been preserved as it existed
immediately after the shooting was over and the car had stopped. Doing so would
have allowed the initial investigators to get precise measurements on the
distances and locations of the significant objects involved in the event. An
initial on-site investigation was conducted, but a number of circumstances that
occurred on the site prevented the incident site from being treated as a
sterile site. Both HMMWVs involved in the blocking
position were moved to transport Ms. Sgrena to the Combat Support
Hospital in the
International Zone. Further, the scene was not deemed to be a crime scene, and
efforts were made to clear the roadway. As a result, the car was moved from its
position, per the unit’s Standing Operating Procedure on Consequence
Management, before a location using a global positioning system could be
obtained. At the direction of the Commander, 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
the car was placed back in the position that was thought to be its actual
stopping point based on eyewitness testimony and digital photographs taken of
the car before its initial removal from the scene.
A further constraint was the inability to reconstruct the event so as to
provide accurate data for forensic analysis of bullet trajectory, speed of the
vehicle, and stopping distance due to the inherent danger in the vicinity of
the incident location. This was made evident during a site visit by the Joint
Investigation Team when a hand grenade was thrown (from the Route Vernon
overpass) at the Team’s vehicles as members were boarding, injuring one
These factors limited the forensic team’s ability to conduct an on-site,
in-depth analysis, although extensive tests were performed on Camp Victory.
As a result, the forensic studies of the car could not be as conclusive as they
normally would be.
Other limitations include the removal and disposal of the shell casings to
allow free operation of the turret in the blocking vehicle. Additionally, the
cell phones involved in the incident were returned to Mr. Carpani
before he left the scene. (Annex 4M). More importantly, while sworn statements
were provided by all the key U.S.
personnel involved in the incident, the Italian personnel provided only unsworn statements as they are not required under Italian
law to swear to statements until appearing before a judge.
(U) Format of the Report
This report is divided into five sections; (1) Background, (2) Atmospherics,
including a historical overview of attacks along Route Irish and prevailing
enemy Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs), (3)
Discussion of TCP and BP tactical missions and training received by BP 541
personnel, (4) Events and actions at BP 541 on the evening of 4 March 2005, and
(5) Coordination effected pertaining to the hostage recovery. Each section will
review the pertinent facts, set forth findings, and, as appropriate, provide
recommendations for future action. Additionally, documentary evidence used in
preparing this report is included in annexes.
This section examines the local security situation as of 4 March 2005, known
insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTPs),
and recent events occurring in the vicinity of Checkpoint 541. The previous
experience of the Soldiers manning the BP that night, their parent unit, and
their higher headquarters units in the Baghdad Area of Responsibility (AOR), is
also examined. The purpose of this section is to present a full picture of the
conditions facing the Soldiers manning BP 541 that night.
(U) Local Security Situation
From July 2004 to late March 2005, there were 15,257 attacks against Coalition
Forces throughout Iraq.
The U.S. considers all of Iraq a combat
zone. (Annex 8E).
(U) Baghdad. Baghdad is a city of six
million people and is home to a large number of suspected insurgents and
terrorists operating both in the city and its environs.
From 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 there were a total of 3306 attacks in the
Baghdad area. Of
these, 2400 were directed against Coalition Forces. (Annex 8E)
(U) Route Irish. Route Irish is an East-West road along south Baghdad. It is approximately 12 kilometers
long and runs from the International Zone in downtown Baghdad to BIAP. The highway is a four-lane
road with a 50 meter
wide median. (Annexes 8E, 144K).
Route Irish has six major intersections. Each of these has been assigned a
corresponding checkpoint number by Coalition Forces to facilitate command and
control. Entry Control Point 1 (ECP 1) is located at one end of the highway
near BIAP. Checkpoints 539-543 follow the road east going into downtown. (Annex
Checkpoint 541 refers to the intersection of Route Irish with Route Vernon
(also known as Route Force), which runs North-South. (Annex 142K).
Route Irish is commonly referred to as “the deadliest road in Iraq” by
journalists, Soldiers, and commanders. There is no corresponding alternative
route from downtown Baghdad (and the International Zone) to BIAP, which gives
the route a heavy traffic flow and causes Coalition convoy movement to become
more predictable. These conditions make Route Irish a lucrative target area for
insurgents to employ improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
of varying types and to achieve effects in terms of casualties. Soldiers in 1st
Cavalry Division and 3d Infantry Division have come to refer to Route Irish as
“IED Alley.” (Annex 8E).
Between 1 November 2004 and 12 March 2005, there were 135 attacks or hostile
incidents that occurred along Route Irish. These included 9 complex attacks
(i.e., a combination of more than one type of attack, e.g., an IED followed by
small arms fire or mortars), 19 explosive devices found, 3 hand grenades, 7
indirect fire attacks, 19 roadside explosions, 14 rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), 15 vehicle borne explosive devices, and 4 other
types of attacks. (Annexes 1E, 8E).
The attack density for the period 1 November 2004 to 12 March 2005 is 11.25
attacks per mile, or a minimum of one attack per day along Route Irish since
November. (Annex 8E).
The highest concentration of IED attacks occurs at 1000 hours, with the second
highest concentration of attacks occurring at 1600 hours. These times
correspond to convoys departing from or arriving at the Victory Base complex,
the largest Coalition military facility in Baghdad. (Annex 5E).
Approximately 66 percent of all night time attacks along Route Irish occur
between the hours of 1900 and 2100. (Annex 8E). The
incident at BP 541 occurred between 2030 and 2100 hours on 4 March 2005.
The majority of IED and VBIED attacks occur in and around three overpasses (CP
540, CP 541, and CP 543) and the turnoff to the International Zone. As
mentioned earlier, CP 541 is the location where the incident occurred on 4
March 2005. (Annex 3E).
(U) Known Insurgent Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures
(U) Methods of Attack
Insurgent attacks throughout the Iraqi Theater of
Operation fall into one of several categories, all of which have occurred along
Route Irish in the past year. They include:
Explosive Devices (IEDs), Unexploded IEDs, Hand Grenades, Indirect Fire (mortars, rockets, and
unidentified indirect fire), Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs),
Small Arms Fire (SAF), Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs), and Complex Attacks. The most common attacks along
Route Irish are IEDs, VBIEDs,
and SAF. (Annex 8E).
(U) Insurgent TTPs for IEDs
A large number of evolving techniques have been adopted by the insurgents in
placing IEDs along Route Irish. Examples of currently
used techniques are listed below:
(S//NF) Explosives positioned alongside guard rails. The large number of guard
rails on the road make these devices difficult to detect and relatively easy to
emplace by staging equipment in vehicles or near overpasses, and, in a matter
of minutes, having the IED armed and in the desired location.
(S//NF) Explosives wrapped in a brown paper bag or a plastic trash bag. This is
a particularly easy method of concealment, easy to emplace, and has been used
effectively against Coalition Forces and civilians along Route Irish.
(S//NF) Explosives set on a timer. This technique is new to the Route Irish
area, but is being seen more frequently.
(S//NF) Use of the median. The 50 meter wide median of Route Irish provides a
large area for emplacing IEDs. These can be dug in,
hidden, and/or placed in an animal carcass or other deceptive container.
(S//NF) Surface laid explosives. The enemy will drop a bag containing the
explosive onto the highway and exit the area on an off-ramp with the detonation
occurring seconds or minutes later depending on the desired time for the
(S//NF) Explosives on opposite sides of the median. Devices have been found
along both sides of the median that were apparently designed to work in tandem,
to counter Coalition Force tactics to avoid the right side of the highway while
traveling Route Irish.
(S//NF) Explosives hidden under the asphalt. Insurgents pretend to do work on
the pavement, plant the explosives, and repair the surface. These are usually
(U) Insurgent TTPs for VBIEDs
There are two basic types of car bombs, i.e., suicide (where the car is moving)
and stationary (where the car is parked). Both can be either command or
remote-detonated. (Annex 8E).
The enemy is very skillful at inconspicuously packing
large amounts of explosives into a vehicle. The most commonly used detonation
materials are plastic explosives and 155mm artillery shells. When moving, these
VBIEDs are practically impossible to identify until
it is too late. (Annex 8E).
The techniques for employing VBIEDs continue to
evolve. Some of the more commonly used techniques include:
suicide vehicles. The first
vehicle either creates an opening
for a second, more powerful
vehicle, or acts as bait to draw other personnel,
such as medics and other first
responders, into the kill zone of the first vehicle.
people respond, the second VBIED engages the responders.
(S//NF) Suicide VBIEDs are typically used against
convoys, Coalition Force
Coalition checkpoints where they can achieve maximum damage.
vehicles will rapidly approach the convoy from the rear and attempt to
get in between convoy vehicles
(S//NF) Stationary VBIEDs are typically parked along
main supply routes,
like Route Irish, and often have
been found near known checkpoints. These
are usually remotely operated and
may be employed in conjunction with a
(S//NF) A particularly devious technique is for a driver to approach a
checkpoint and claim
that he has injured people in his vehicle. The VBIED is
then detonated when Coalition
(U) Effectiveness of Attacks (U) The number of IED detonations from 15 June
2003 through 4 March 2005 (the date of the incident), has steadily increased.
Although the effectiveness of those detonations has decreased over that
timeframe, the overall average number of casualties during that period is
nearly one per IED detonation. (Annex 4E).
The week of the incident saw 166 IED incidents, with 131 detonations and 35 IEDs rendered safe. There were 82 casualties from those
incidents. (Annex 4E). (U) The number of VBIED
detonations from 15 June 2003 through 4 March 2005 has also seen a relatively
steady increase. Similar to the decrease in the effectiveness of IEDs, the effectiveness of VBIEDs
has also decreased over that period, but there have been spikes for particular
VBIED events that have produced large numbers of casualties. (Annex
There were 17 VBIEDs detonated during the week of the
incident with five rendered safe. The average casualty per VBIED detonation
that week was 23 due to the large number of casualties that resulted from a
VBIED detonation in Al Hillah. The Al
Hillah attack was widely publicized and
caused all Coalition Forces concern as they patrolled Baghdad and its environs. Any intelligence
gained on potential VBIEDs was passed in the form of
a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) message to units on patrol
via FM radio. (Annex 4E).
(U) Recent Incidents in the Vicinity of Checkpoint 541
Overpasses like Checkpoint 541 are particularly susceptible to attacks. Such
sites provide excellent early observation in all directions, easy escape
routes, and high speed access to Route Irish. The latter factor is particularly
evident at Checkpoint 541 where there is a long (380 meter) exit lane coming
off of southbound Route Vernon leading to the on-ramp to Route Irish. (Annex 5E).
(S//NF) Checkpoint 541 has been the site of 13
attacks between 1 November 2004 and early March 2005. Two of those attacks
involved VBIEDs. Other attacks included mortars,
small arms fire, and IEDs. (Annex
1E). (U) On the evening of the incident, there were at least two cases
of small arms fire in the immediate vicinity, one before and one after the
incident. Also, as mentioned earlier, while the Joint Investigation Team was
examining the site, a hand grenade was tossed at the personnel from the Route
Vernon overpass. This site is under the observation of insurgents in the
adjoining housing complex and local neighborhoods
anytime a position is established at Checkpoint 541. (Annex
The two adjoining Route Irish checkpoints, numbers 540 and 542, were also the
target of attacks during the 1 November 2004 to early March 2005 period.
Checkpoint 540 had 15 attacks, with three of those attacks being VBIEDs. Similarly, Checkpoint 542 had 12 attacks during
that period, with two of those attacks being VBIEDs. (Annex 1E).
(U) Furthermore, two days before the incident,
two Soldiers from the same unit (1-69 IN) were killed by an IED at Checkpoint
543. The Commander, A Company, 1-69 IN lost a very close friend in that attack.
(Annexes 1E, 74C).
(U) Unit Experience in the Baghdad
Area of Responsibility
(U) Third Infantry Division (3ID)
(U) The Division returned to Iraq in early
February 2005. It conducted a formal Transfer of Authority with the 1st Cavalry
Division and assumed responsibility for MND-Baghdad on 27 February 2005. (Annex 15E).
(S//NF) The Division consists of seven U.S.
Brigades and one Iraqi Brigade. Since their arrival, units of 3ID have
conducted 14,463 patrols throughout the Baghdad
area, to include 33 Rhino Bus escort missions (See Section III.C.5. of this
report for background information on
the Rhino Bus), through 25 March 2005. (Annex 15E).
In its first month since TOA, 3ID has received 422 attacks from insurgents
resulting in 13 killed and 60 wounded. (Annex 15E).
(U) Second Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (2/10 MTN)
The Second Brigade has been in Iraq
for nearly eight months. (Annex 65C).
From 12 August 2004 to 11 March 2005, 2/10 MTN Soldiers conducted approximately
50,000 patrols. The Soldiers also conducted 5,237 Traffic Control Points (TCPs) during that period. (Annex 4E).
Between 15 December 2004 and 13 March 2005, 2/10 MTN Soldiers conducted 712 TCPs in support of Rhino Bus operations. There were usually
eight such TCPs conducted per night in support of
Rhino Bus movements. (Annex 4E).
The “TCPs” that were conducted for the Rhino Bus
movements are more properly called hasty Blocking Positions (BPs). (See Section III.B. of this report for a discussion
of the difference between TCPs and BPs).
(U) 1-69 Infantry Battalion (1-69 IN)
1-69 IN arrived in the Iraqi Theater of Operations on
4 November 2004. The unit first served in Taji, north
where they spent approximately three months. While in Taji,
the primary mission of 1-69 IN was to conduct patrols in search of insurgents
responsible for firing rockets and mortars at Coalition bases. (Annex 10E).
In February 2005, 1-69 IN relocated to Baghdad
under the command and control of 2/10 MTN. The Commander, 1st Cavalry Division
assigned the unit the mission of patrolling and securing Route Irish as of 15
February 2005. (Annex 65C).
Through early April 2005, 1-69 IN had conducted over 2000 patrols in Iraq. About
two-thirds of those patrols were dismounted patrols requiring the Soldiers to
leave their vehicles. About one-third of the patrols were conducted at night. (Annex 10E).
The unit has conducted over 1000 Traffic Control Points (TCPs)
since arriving in Iraq.
Most of those occurred along Route Irish. Other than the subject incident,
there was only one incident involving civilians (one
wounded civilian in Taji). (Annex
Since arriving in Iraq, 1-69 IN has experienced 19 roadside explosive devices,
38 incidents of small arms fire, 4 RPGs, 3 VBIEDs, 3 hand grenades, 16 indirect fire attacks, and 2
complex attacks. (Annex 10E).
Five attacks against 1-69 IN in November resulted in
two fatalities and three wounded. Five detonations in December resulted in one
fatality and three wounded. In January 2005, 1-69 IN received six detonations
that resulted in seven fatalities and three wounded. The seven fatalities all
came in one attack involving 10 buried 155mm artillery rounds. After relocating
to Baghdad in
February, the unit received one attackwith no
fatalities or wounded. Through early March, 1-69 IN has received four
detonations resulting in three fatalities and three wounded. (Annex
Overall, 1-69 IN suffered 10 fatalities and 9 wounded while in Taji, followed by 3 fatalities and 3 wounded while
conducting security operations on Route Irish. All 13 of the unit’s combat
related fatalities in theater have come as a result
of IEDs. (Annex 10E).
(U) 1-76 Field Artillery Battalion (1-76 FA)
1-76 FA was new to the Baghdad AOR, having arrived on 21 February 2005. Their
Right Seat/Left Seat Ride program began on 22 February 2005. 1-76 FA personnel
were in the last night of their Right Seat/Left Seat Ride program with 2-82 FA
and in charge of VIP security operations on the evening of 4 March 2005. The
Transfer of Authority occurred the next day, 5 March 2005. (Annexes
1-76 FA is responsible for security inside the International Zone as well as
U.S. Embassy VIP movement security along Route Irish. (Annex
58C). (U) 1-76 FA has Direct Liaison Authorized (DIRLAUTH) to coordinate
directly with 1-69 IN for security along Route Irish. This is the same level of
coordination previously authorized by 1st Cavalry Division to 2-82 FA. When
executing DIRLAUTH, 1-76 FA directly coordinates an action with units internal
or external to its command and keeps the 3ID commander informed.
The 1-76 FA TOC passes all coordination efforts through the 4th Brigade TOC to
3ID JOC. (Annex 58C).
Route Irish and its checkpoints, particularly the ones at the three overpasses
(CP 540, CP 541, and CP 543), are continually subject to attacks from IEDs, VBIEDs, SAF, and other
methods of attack. It is a road filled with dangers that can kill, maim, and
injure Soldiers and civilians. (Annexes 3E, 5E, 8E).
The insurgents are continually adjusting their methods of attack along the
Route Irish corridor. (Annex 11E).
The long straightaway off southbound Route Vernon leading to the on-ramp to
westbound Route Irish provides an excellent opportunity for a suicide VBIED to
build up speed and threaten Soldiers in their positions. (Annex
The Soldiers of 1-69 IN had suffered a significant number of deaths in the four
months that they had been in Iraq
as of 4 March 2005, including two Soldiers that were killed by an IED at
Checkpoint 543 two days before the incident. (Annexes 1E,
1-69 IN Soldiers were experienced in patrolling, providing route security, and
conducting TCPs. (Annex 10E). (U) Due to it being
their first full day on shift, 1-76 FA Soldiers lacked experience in issuing
operational orders and in battle tracking security forces during execution of
blocking missions. (Annexes 59C, 63C).
TRAFFIC CONTROL POINTS, BLOCKING POSITIONS, AND TRAINING
This section examines TCPs, BPs,
and training matters. It first discusses the difference between a TCP and a BP.
Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the various units involved regarding TCPs and BPs are assessed, and
the Rhino Bus TTP is outlined. This is followed by a review of the training on TCPs, BPs, weapons, and Rules of
Engagement (ROE) that the Soldiers manning BP 541 had received before 4 March
2005. The ROE that were in effect that night are explained. The section
concludes with findings and recommendations.
(U) Traffic Control Points and Blocking Positions
Task Force 1-69 IN had received missions to establish TCPs
and blocking positions numerous times in the past. Although the terms are used
interchangeably (Annex 65C), there are subtle, but distinct, differences in
approach to establishing the two positions. (Annex 96C).
A traffic control point involves
(1) the stopping of a
vehicle, (2) a search of that vehicle, and (3) the authorized passage of the
vehicle through the control point. (Annexes 66C, 68C, 70C,
72C). TCPs can be of limited or extended
duration. (Annex 97C).
A blocking position, in contrast, does not involve the search of a vehicle.
Ideally, the underlying intent of a blocking position involves no contact with
a vehicle. In Iraq,
the purpose of a BP is twofold: (1) to prevent vehicles from gaining access to
the protected location, and (2) to prevent VBIEDs
from getting close enough to kill or injure Soldiers or civilians. Blocking
positions are neither intended nor designed to allow traffic to pass. The
intent is to achieve maximum standoff from approaching vehicles and force them
to turn around. (Annexes 66C, 68C, 70C). Blocking
positions can be temporary or for longer durations. (Annex
97C). As indicated to 1-69 IN during Relief in Place operations, patrols
must be prepared to execute hasty BPs when required.
(U) Standing Operating Procedures in use on 4 March 2005
SOPs are designed to serve as guidelines for specific operations and are not
prescriptive in nature. They provide a baseline for acceptable operations from
which commanders can derive principles and techniques and adapt them to their
current mission. (Annexes 44C, 65C, 72C, 96C, 98C).
(U) Doctrinal Discussion of TCPs and Roadblocks (Army
Field Manual 3-21.9, Chapter 7)
Construction and manning of checkpoints and roadblocks are high frequency tasks
for an infantry company and subordinate elements when they must establish area
security during stabilization operations. (Annex 5F).
A checkpoint is a predetermined point used as a means of controlling movement,
such as a place where military police check vehicular and pedestrian traffic,
to enforce circulation measures and other law, order, and regulations. (Annex 5F).
A roadblock is used to limit the movement of vehicles along a route or to close
access to certain areas or roads. Checkpoints and roadblocks can be either
deliberate or hasty. The primary difference is the extent of planning and
preparation conducted by the establishing force. (Annex 5F).
Checkpoints and roadblocks may be established to:
(U) Check and/or inspect and register all personnel and vehicles in and out of
the controlled area.
• (U) Deter illegal movement.
(U) Create an instant roadblock.
• (U) Control movement into the area of operations or
on a specific route.
• (U) Prevent smuggling and contraband.
The layout, construction, and manning of checkpoints and roadblocks should
reflect the considerations of Mission,
Enemy, Terrain, Troops Available – Time, Civilians (METT-TC), especially the
time available for emplacing them. (Annex 5F). The
following factors should be considered in establishing a checkpoint or
(U) Position the checkpoint or roadblock where it is visible and where traffic
cannot turn back, get off the road, or bypass without being observed.
• (U) Place obstacles in the road to slow or canalize
traffic into the search area.
• (U) Position a combat vehicle
off the road, but within sight, to deter resistance to Soldiers
the checkpoint. It must be able to engage vehicles attempting to break through
a checkpoint. (Annex 5F).
(U) Many items are used to reinforce a roadblock or a checkpoint. These include:
barrels filled with sand, water, or heavy concrete blocks (emplaced to slow and
canalize vehicles), concertina wire (emplaced to control movement around the
checkpoint), and signs stating the speed limit into and out of the checkpoint
(in both English and the local language.) (Annex 5F).
(U) 3ID TCP SOP
In 3ID’s published Field Standard Operating Procedures (FSOP), there is a
section directly addressing traffic control points. A TCP is defined as a
“Structured Engagement Area.” The 3ID FSOP does not include guidelines for
positions with a blocking mission (i.e., blocking positions). (Annex 1F).
The TCP SOP calls for an Alert Line, a Warning Line, a Stop line, a Search
Area, and an Overwatch Area. (Annex
The Search Area should be a well-lit checkpoint, provide standoff from neighborhood structures, allow a sufficient area to accommodate
more than one search team, the establishment of warning signs with sufficient
distance for drivers to react, the use of physical barriers to force vehicles
to slow down, and other barriers like tire poppers, to block movement of
vehicles attempting to continue through the search area. (Annex
The Warning Line and Alert Line should provide maximum standoff for oncoming
traffic. (Annex 1F).
Soldiers should fire into engine blocks before engaging the driver. (Annex 1F).
The equipment for a TCP includes warning signs, triangles, sawhorses, traffic
cones, and/or tire poppers. (Annex 1F).
Minimum leader requirements for executing a TCP are listed as (1) map
reconnaissance, (2) mission briefing, (3) safety briefing, and (4) back brief
to the commander or designated representative. Position selection
considerations are not specifically addressed. (Annex 1F).
(U) 2/10 MTN TCP SOP
The 2/10 MTN’s published Tactical Standing Operating
Procedures (TACSOP) addresses checkpoint operations. The TACSOP does not
provide guidance on blocking positions. (Annex 2F).
A unit establishes checkpoints to control its area of responsibility, deny the
enemy freedom of movement, and contribute to security of military units as well
as the populace. They must be established to ensure that the position cannot be
bypassed. (Annex 2F).
The 2/10 MTN TACSOP distinguishes between vehicle checkpoints (VCPs) and personnel checkpoints (PCPs). These are further
divided into three types: deliberate, hasty, and flying. (Annex
Deliberate checkpoints are permanent or semi-permanent. They are used near
operating bases or along Main Supply Routes (MSRs). (Annex 2F).
Hasty checkpoints are planned in advance and will be maintained for a set
period of time of short duration. Hasty checkpoints are frequently employed
during the conduct of vehicle or foot patrols. (Annex 2F).
Flying, or immediate, checkpoints are conducted when specific intelligence
indicates that a checkpoint will hinder the enemy’s freedom of movement at a
specific time and place. They are conducted immediately and often with little
or no planning. (Annex 2F). Although not a TCP
mission, the mission given to 1-69 IN to block Route Irish on 4 March 2005 fell
into this category.
Vehicle checkpoints should consist of four zones: canalization zone, turning or
deceleration zone, search zone, and safe zone. (Annex 2F).
The canalization zone uses natural obstacles and/or artificial obstacles to
canalize the vehicles into the checkpoint. It usually consists of disrupting or
turning obstacles, such as serpentines and other barrier systems. Warning signs
should be placed at least 100 meters in front of the checkpoint. (Annex 2F).
The turning or deceleration zone forces vehicles to make a rapid decision,
i.e., decelerate, make slow hard turns, or maintain speed and crash into
obstacles. (Annex 2F).
The search zone is a relatively secure area where personnel and vehicles are
positively identified. (Annex 2F). (S//NF) The safe
zone is the assembly area for the checkpoint that allows personnel to eat,
sleep, and recover in relative security. (Annex 2F).
The use of radios or cell phones should be limited to essential communications
and/or entirely prohibited as their transmissions may detonate any IEDs present. (Annex 2F).
The SOPs used by 2/10 MTN originated with the 1st Armored
Division, and then were adopted by the 1st Cavalry Division, and in turn by
3ID. (Annexes 66C, 67C). It is noted that the SOP is
not prescriptive, i.e., there is no requirement for signs, only a suggestion. (Annex 2F). Soldiers and leaders alike acknowledged using
this SOP as a reference for establishing blocking positions, adopting certain
procedures and equipment as required. (Annexes 65C, 66C, 98C).
4. (U) 1-69
IN TCP SOP
The 1-69 IN has its own Tactical Standard Operating Procedures (TACSOP). It is
a modified version of the 256th Brigade TACSOP. (Annexes 72C,
98C, 3F). It addresses checkpoint operations, but not blocking
positions. (Annexes 72C, 96C, 3F). In addition, there
are checklists for equipment to be used at TCPs.
The TCPs described in the 1-69 TACSOP are of a more
enduring nature than those described in 2/10 MTN’s
TACSOP. Even hasty checkpoints are more like 2/10 MTN’s
deliberate checkpoints. There is no similar position as the flying or immediate
TCP described by the 2/10 MTN SOP. (Annex 3F).
The Battle Drill for TCP occupation described in the 1-69 IN
TACSOP is the same as that found in 3ID’s FSOP. (Annexes
The Battalion considers barriers as mandatory equipment for blocking positions
(Annexes 96C, 97C, 98C). These can be existing barriers on site or other
obstacles such as concertina wire. (Annexes 96C, 98C).
The team at BP 541 considered the on-site Jersey
barriers as meeting this requirement. (Annexes 74C, 77C).
Signs are required for TCPs. (Annex 96C). Signs were
not used at BPs by 4-5 Air Defense
Artillery (ADA), 1-69 IN’s predecessor. Based on
their experience, the opinion of the BP 541 Soldiers was that signs had been
marginally effective for TCPs conducted in the
daytime in Taji. They were less effective at night.
During both day and night operations, the signs were easily bypassed. (Annexes 79C, 87C).
The Soldiers have found concertina wire to be effective at TCPs
in the daytime. Wire becomes quite ineffective at night as motorists cannot see
it, even when chemlights are attached to it.
Furthermore, the BP 541 Soldiers believed that the emplacement of concertina
wire exposes them to additional risk. (Annexes 79C, 87C).
The signs that A Company, 1-69 IN Soldiers had used in Taji
had not been available since their move to Baghdad on 5 February 2005. (Annexes 81C, 112C). On or about 12 February 2005, the signs
were unloaded and stored next to a conex. There were
approximately 25 signs in this shipment. These were TCP signs that said “Stop
and Wait to be called forward.” Other signs that had been for the rear of
vehicles said “Stay back 100 meters or you will be shot.” The last part of that
phrase “or you will be shot” was to be covered with tape. (Annex
112C). The signs had not been modified, and, therefore, not reissued as
of 4 March 2005. (Annex 95C).
(U) Rhino Bus Run TTP Background Information
Since October 2004, there had been significant insurgent contact on Route
Irish. Most of the contacts were RPGs, SAF, IEDs, and VBIEDs. These attacks
prompted a re-assessment of the Coalition’s responses for operations along
Route Irish is the primary route to BIAP for U.S. Embassy personnel, and there
was routinely at least one convoy each day. Rhino buses (armored
buses) were procured to provide better protection for passengers. Additionally,
a series of briefings and plans were developed to address the insurgent
situation along Route Irish. The result was the Rhino Bus Run Program. (Annex 65C).
Under the Rhino Bus Run Program, 1-76 FA escorts two or three Rhino armored buses and one or two baggage trucks to and from the
Embassy staging area in the International Zone and the BIAP passenger terminal
twice nightly, seven days a week. Each run consists of up to 65 escorted passengers.
This is the standard TTP 1-76 FA learned during the Right Seat/Left Seat Ride
program conducted by 2-82 FA as part of Relief in Place operations. 1-76 FA’s
higher headquarters, Fourth Brigade, coordinates attack helicopter support to
conduct route reconnaissance ahead of the convoy and Close Air Support in the
event of an attack. (Annex 59C).
Under the Rhino Bus Run TTP, 1-76 FA identifies the escort platoon. Once the
escort platoon leader receives the number of passengers for transport at the
staging area, and has established communications with the attack helicopters,
the 1-76 FA TOC requests clearance from the 3ID TOC (the battlespace
owner) through 4th Brigade TOC to move the convoy. Once 4th Brigade receives
clearance from 3ID TOC, the 1-76 FA Battle Captain contacts 1-69
IN Battle Captain and requests that they establish blocking positions
along Route Irish. Once the 1-69 IN Battle Captain
notifies the 1-76 FA Battle Captain that the units are set in position, the
convoys depart from the staging area. Once the convoy has passed ECP 1, the
1-76 FA Battle Captain contacts the 1-69 IN Battle Captain
and clears the units to open their blocking positions. The same process is
followed for the reverse trip. (Annex 59C).
There is no written SOP that covers Rhino Bus operations. The TTPs that 1-76 FA used on 4 March 2005 are the same TTPs employed by 2-82 FA. (Annex 59C).
(U) Training of BP 541 Soldiers
The Soldiers manning BP 541 on 4 March 2005 received SOP training on TCPs at Fort
Hood and the National
Training Center (NTC). (Annexes
72C, 96C, 97C, 98C). The training at Fort Hood
was part of mobilization training, and was conducted by the Battalion
leadership and the Mobilization Assistance Team, while the training at NTC
occurred as part of the Mission Rehearsal Exercise. (Annex 96C).
The Soldiers were trained to the following standards for TCPs:
(1) 360 degree security, (2) one element controls traffic entry to the TCP, and (3) one element conducts searches and
operates the detainee holding area. Soldiers are to control traffic effectively
and efficiently, keep Soldiers safe, and accomplish the mission. (Annex 96C).
The Battalion Commander gave verbal guidance at Fort Hood
on using M4s as the primary weapon for firing warning shots. This was intended
for mounted mobile operations as a TTP for clearing overhead passes instead of
static blocking positions due to difficulty in traversing the gunner’s turret. (Annex 73C).
There is no evidence to indicate that the Soldiers were trained to execute
blocking positions before arriving in theater. TTPs for blocking positions and other operations were
learned and practiced during the Right Seat/Left Seat Ride exercises as part of
the Relief in Place/Transfer of Authority process with the Soldiers of 4-5 ADA from 5 to 15 February
2005. Gunners and leaders were able to watch tasks being performed before they
had to perform these tasks themselves under the supervision of 4-5 ADA. (Annexes
72C, 96C, 97C, 98C, 9G). These TTPs were
accepted by the 1-69 IN Battalion Commander as approved higher headquarters
sanctioned guidance. (Annex 72C).
The 4-5 ADA
blocking position TTP called for one vehicle, either a HMMWV or a Bradley
Fighting Vehicle, to pull up next to the last Jersey barrier (closest to Route
Irish). The Soldiers at the BP would then use a hand-held spotlight and laser
pointer to get drivers’ attention, and make them stop and turn around.
Normally, these blocking positions, which were hasty in nature, would be held
for 10-15 minutes before the TOC would order the road opened. Signs were not used by
4-5 ADA. (Annexes 74C, 83C).
As demonstrated by 4-5 ADA
previously, the standard practice by Alpha Company, 1-69 IN personnel at blocking
positions is for the gunner to use the spotlight, while the HMMWV commander or
Truck Commander operates the laser pointer. If the gunner must fire his weapon,
M4 or M240B, he drops the hand-held light to engage the threat with well-aimed
fire using both hands. (Annexes 74C, 79C). There is no
specific training for operating the spotlight and the M240B simultaneously. (Annex 66C).
Based upon the fact that two 1-69 IN Soldiers were killed by an IED two nights
before at Checkpoint 543, his experience, training, and risk assessment, the
Alpha Company Commander chose to augment the 4-5 ADA TTP on 4 March 2005 by
placing two HMMWVs at BP 541 for additional force
protection. Force protection was paramount in his mind because of the threat of
IEDs and VBIEDs. (Annex 74C). As a result, Second Lieutenant Acosta tasked
the overwatch vehicle gunner to operate the green
laser pointer rather than have Staff Sergeant Brown, the Truck Commander do so.
(Annexes 77C, 87C).
(U) Rules Of Engagement (ROE) Training Received by BP
The Soldiers were trained on ROE as part of their deployment preparation at Fort Hood
and the National Training Center (NTC), as well as in
Kuwait and Iraq. (Annexes 111C, 128C, 134C). The training at Fort Hood
and NTC centered on basic ROE concepts of the
escalation of force, hostile intent, hostile act, and positive identification.
Specifically, Soldiers were briefed on the right of self defense,
which allows them to defend themselves and Coalition Forces with all necessary
force to negate the potential threat. Soldiers also received training in
graduated force, which is designed to allow them to employ escalating measures
of non-lethal force to properly discern hostile intent and prevent accidental
civilian injury. Soldiers were briefed on positive identification (PID), which
requires Soldiers to have a reasonable certainty that the object of attack is a
proper military target. Soldiers were also briefed on the protections afforded
detainees and civilians, their duty to care for the wounded and sick, military
necessity, proportionality, discrimination, and collateral damage1. (Annexes 111C, 1G, 3G).
While at NTC, judge advocates from the Center for Law
and Military Operations (CLAMO) conducted impromptu interviews with the
Soldiers, including Soldiers from 1-69 IN, where they were questioned about
basic ROE principles. ROE is a key aspect of training at NTC and Soldiers are
challenged with difficult, real world scenarios that emphasize ROE issues, such
as, the use of force and properly identifying hostile intent. (Annexes 111C, 1G).
The Soldiers of the BP 541 team had received formal refresher ROE training
approximately one month before the incident. (Annexes 129C,
132C, 133C, 137C). This training included vignettes on TCP operations,
fixed site security, and patrols, and emphasized the use of graduated force and
how and when to use non-lethal measures of force. Specifically, the vignettes
highlighted how to discern hostile act and hostile intent from innocuous civilian
activity. (Annexes 111C, 1G).
The entire battalion, including every member of the BP 541 team, received an
in-depth review of a recent AR 15-6 investigation involving a shooting incident
that further reinforced proper
execution of ROE. (Annex 133C). The investigation
involved the wounding of a civilian at a TCP, in which the vehicle was driving
at a high rate of speed and the Soldiers at the TCP engaged the vehicle. The
brief discussed the use of signs, chemical lights, spotlights, and graduated
force as it applies to fixed position operations. Failure to follow the SOP was
discussed and how proper use of the SOP can help a Soldier to discern hostile
intent. Escalation of force to discern hostile intent was emphasized. (Annexes 111C, 1G, 2G, 3G).
Furthermore, the Soldiers were briefed on ROE before going out on patrol each
day. They were so briefed on 4 March 2005. (Annexes 83C,
129C, 130C, 132C, 134C, 135C).
(S//NF) 1 Military necessity requires that all targets are proper military
targets, i.e., they possess a military attribute, the destruction of which
provides a military advantage. Proportionality refers to whether any expected
collateral damage is excessive in comparison to the overall military value of
the target. Discrimination requires Soldiers to employ force in a manner that
properly distinguishes between lawful targets and unlawful targets. Collateral
damage encompasses any death or injury to civilians and damage or destruction
of civilian property.
The 1-69 IN
TACSOP ROE defines a Hostile Act as “a use of force against 1-69 IN or friendly forces, or
persons or property under the protection of 1-69 IN forces that is likely
to cause serious permanent injury or death or significant property damage.” (Annex 3F).
The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE defines Hostile Intent as “a threat of imminent use of
force against 1-69 IN or friendly forces, or persons or property under the
protection of MNC-I forces that is likely to cause serious permanent injury or
death or significant property damage. Hostile intent may be judged by the
threatening force or individual’s capability and preparedness to inflict
damage, or by evidence, particularly intelligence, that clearly indicates that
a surprise strike is imminent.” (Annex 3F).
The 1-69 IN TACSOP ROE allows the use of deadly force if a Soldier, his unit,
forces, or designated friendly forces are attacked or threatened with imminent
attack. (Annex 3F).
The ROE taught to the Soldiers was shout, show, shove,
shoot. (Annexes 129C, 130C, 131C, 132C, 133C). The
1-69 IN TACSOP ROE also provides for shout, show, shove, shoot. (Annex 3F). For the night of 4 March 2005 at BP 541, the
Soldiers were told the ROE was: Shout, i.e., use the spotlight on an
approaching vehicle as far in advance of the Alert Line as possible; Show,
i.e., use the green laser light, aimed at the driver, at the Alert Line; Shove,
i.e., fire warning shots; and Shoot, i.e., disabling shots first, then, if
necessary, shoot to kill. (Annexes 77C, 81C).
F. (U) Findings
The leaders and Soldiers understood their mission to block vehicle access to
Route Irish on the evening of 4 March 2005. They were knowledgeable of the
Rules of Engagement to be employed in that mission. (Annexes 74C, 77C, 83C).
The Soldiers at BP 541 had been trained, and routinely refreshed on, the Rules
of Engagement since their arrival in theater. (Annexes 77C, 81C, 111C).
There is no written SOP or TTP in 3ID, 2/10 MTN, or 1-69 IN for the execution
of the blocking mission and establishing a blocking position. (Annexes 1F, 2F, 3F). The procedure was passed on from the
departing unit (4-5 ADA) to the incoming unit (1-69 IN) during the Relief in
Place/Transfer of Authority, where leaders observed the execution of the
mission one week, and executed the mission the following week under the
supervision of the outgoing unit (Right Seat/Left Side Ride). The only training
received by 1-69 IN Soldiers on blocking positions was that employed along
Route Irish during after-curfew Rhino Bus Runs, and occurred during the Left
Seat Right Seat Ride process with 4-5 ADA.
(Annexes 72C, 96C, 97C, 98C, 9G). It is clear that
these BPs were not
established as TCPs.
There is no clear guidance in these units on what equipment is required for
establishing a blocking position (e.g., different road signs). (Annexes 1F, 2F, 3F).
Requiring the gunner in a blocking position to operate the hand-held spotlight
as well as his crew-served weapon is an accepted practice in 1-69 IN. (Annexes
Recommend that all Major Subordinate Commands (MSCs)
review the inherent differences between the blocking mission and any other
mission involving TCPs. Given the nature of the
environment in Iraq,
recommend that blocking positions be addressed separately in unit SOPs.
(S//NF) Soldiers and leaders must understand that in a BP, the goal is to
achieve standoff as far away and as quickly as possible, with no vehicle
Recommend a comprehensive review of TCP and blocking position procedures, to
include risk assessment, required equipment, considerations for site selection,
and the establishment of clearly visible warnings or indicators, both day and
night, for Soldier and civilian recognition. The Soldiers and leaders must look
at the position holistically, i.e., from the perspective of Iraqi drivers and
what they might see. Units must enforce a quality control program to maintain
As of this writing, MNC-I has already embarked on a comprehensive analysis of
Entry Control Points (ECPs), TCPs,
(S//NF) This analysis will produce standard practices
and guidelines for the selection and establishment of ECPs,
TCPs, and BPs.
Recommend that permanent Coalition participation be included in the Force
Protection Working Group to solicit lessons learned from other nations’
experiences in operating ECPs, TCPs,
and BPs in an insurgency environment. (U) Recommend
the development and publication of a written SOP for Rhino Bus Runs.
THE INCIDENT AT BP 541
This section examines the shooting incident at BP 541 on the night of 4 March
2005. The section begins with a description of the site and then a brief look
at the individuals involved. The mission assigned to the 1-69 IN Soldiers is
detailed. The incident itself is then described. The events immediately
following the shooting are addressed next. Following this is a look at the
forensic evidence. The section concludes with findings and recommendations.
(U) Site Description
BP 541 was located on the on-ramp from southbound Route Vernon onto westbound
Route Irish approximately six miles west of the International Zone in Baghdad. Specifically, BP
541 (Grid 38S MB3571 8371) was located at the intersection of Route Vernon and
Route Irish, which is the second intersection on Route Irish east of Baghdad
International Airport (BIAP). The road leading to the on-ramp begins where the
westernmost lane of Route Vernon separates from the highway. The on-ramp itself
begins near a side street that borders the edge of a housing area on the west
side of the road. This point is approximately 640 meters south of the nearby
underpass on Route Vernon, and approximately 380 meters from where the road to
the on-ramp splits from Route Vernon. (Annexes 141K, 144K).
At the interchange of the on-ramp and Route Vernon, the highway becomes an
overpass extending over Route Irish. Three separate concrete Jersey
barriers are located in the on-ramp to Route Irish. The barriers are arranged
with the first two barriers on the right hand side of the on-ramp and the third
one on the left hand side of the on-ramp, but not in a serpentine
configuration, as one approaches from the north. The
first barrier is approximately 75 meters from the concrete abutment of the
Route Vernon overpass near the beginning of the on-ramp. The second barrier is
approximately 37 meters beyond the first barrier (112 meters from the concrete
abutment). The third barrier is approximately 31 meters beyond the second
barrier (143 meters from the abutment). This third, or southernmost, barrier is
approximately 80 meters from where the on-ramp merges with westbound Route
Irish. The total length of the on-ramp is approximately 223 meters. (Annexes 142K, 144K).
From the vantage point of the southernmost barrier, Route Irish is directly
south of the position with a 50-meter median separating the eastbound and
westbound lanes. To the north and northwest of the position, there is a large
open area that is littered with garbage and debris. The field extends from the
bottom of the on-ramp to the side street and west.
Immediately beyond the side street, approximately 150 meters from the
southernmost barrier, is a large housing community with windows and porches
that overlook the on-ramp. There is a clear line of sight from the houses to
the on-ramp. The Route Vernon overpass stands several stories higher than the
on-ramp and runs parallel to the on-ramp until the on-ramp curves to the
southwest, approximately 50 meters from the beginning of the on-ramp. The
overpass is supported by large cylinder concrete supports. The ground under the
overpass is also littered with garbage and debris. (Annexes 16K, 143K).
The road itself is concrete. There is a slight elevation gain between the
beginning of the on-ramp and its merger with Route Irish. The curve is banked
slightly. The on-ramp, but for the Jersey
barriers, is wide enough to accommodate two vehicles abreast of each other,
i.e., it is two-lanes wide. (Annexes 16K, 19K).
C. (U) Personnel
(U) Captain Michael Drew, New York Army National Guard, a New York City Police
Department Sergeant was the Commander, A Company, 1-69 IN, in charge of
patrolling Route Irish and establishing blocking positions at four checkpoints
on the night of 4 March 2005. (Annex 1J).
2. (U) First Lieutenant Robert Daniels, New
York Army National Guard, was the Executive Officer for A Company, 1-69 IN on 4
March 2005 and was initially present at BP 541. (Annex 2J).
(U) Second Lieutenant Nicolas Acosta, Louisiana National Guard, was the platoon
leader in charge of BP 541 on 4 March 2005. (Annex 6J).
(U) Sergeant Sean O’Hara, Louisiana National Guard, was in the overwatch vehicle at BP 541 on 4 March 2005. (Annex 8J).
(U) Sergeant Luis Domangue, Louisiana National Guard,
was the secondary gunner in the overwatch vehicle at
BP 541 on 4 March 2005. (Annex 5J).
(U) Specialist Kenneth Mejia, Louisiana National Guard, was the driver of the overwatch vehicle at BP 541 on 4 March 2005, and a trained
combat life saver. (Annex 4J).
(U) Staff Sergeant Michael Brown, New York Army National Guard, a New York City
Police Department officer was the acting Platoon Sergeant at BP 541 and the
Truck Commander of the blocking vehicle on 4 March 2005. (Annex
(U) Specialist Mario Lozano, New York Army National Guard, was the gunner on
the blocking vehicle at BP 541 on 4 March 2005. He had been an M240B and M249
gunner in previous assignments. (Annex 10J).
(U) Specialist Brian Peck, New York Army National Guard, was the driver of the
blocking vehicle at BP 541 on 4 March 2005. (Annex 9J).
(U) Sergeant First Class Edwin Feliciano, New York Army National Guard, was
with the Company Commander’s vehicle on 4 March 2005. (Annex
(U) Mr. Nicola Calipari was an Italian military
intelligence officer with the rank of Major General who was in charge of the
recovery of Ms. Sgrena on 4 March 2005. (Annex 104C).
(U) Mr. Andrea Carpani is an Italian military
intelligence officer with the rank of Major in the Carabinieri
with years of experience working and driving in Baghdad. He was driving the car involved in
the incident on 4 March 2005. (Annex 104C).
(U) Ms. Giuliana Sgrena is
an Italian journalist for Il Manifesto. She had been kidnapped and held hostage
in Baghdad for
one month at the time of her release on the night of 4 March 2005. (Annex 103C).
(U) The Mission
(U) Receipt of the Mission
The mission of A Company, 1-69 IN on 4 March 2005 was their standard mission,
i.e., to provide security along Route Irish. The mission entailed looking for IEDs and VBIEDs and ensuring
Coalition convoys could safely transit between the International Zone and BIAP.
A Company, 1-69 IN had been performing this mission since 15 February 2005.
Their normal patrol shift was 1500 to 2300 daily. (Annex
While on patrol, Captain Drew received two VBIED BOLO reports via radio, one
for a black car, another for a white car. (Annexes 74C, 13E,
14E). He passed that information
via radio to his subordinate leaders, including Second Lieutenant Acosta, who
passed it on to his troops. (Annexes 74C, 77C).
At 1843 hours, the 1-69 IN Battle Captain received a
call from the 1-76 FA Battle Captain asking how quickly they could establish
blocking positions along Route Irish. (Annexes 60C, 61C, 3L).
Adverse weather had mandated that the VIP travel by ground rather than by
helicopter, and the Embassy requested that access to Route Irish be blocked for
the movement. (Annexes 60C, 61C, 3L).
At approximately 1900 hours, A Company, 1-69 IN received a mission from its
Battalion TOC. A Company was directed to establish blocking positions on the
four westbound on-ramps along Route Irish to support the movement of a VIP from
the International Zone as they would for a Rhino Bus Run mission. (Annexes 58C, 133C, 137C).
At 1916 hours the 1-76 FA Battle Captain called the 1-69 IN Battle Captain to
order all elements to report to their blocking positions for the VIP transit. (Annex 3L).
Captain Drew considered the current enemy situation, and decided to place an M2
Bradley Fighting Vehicle at both Checkpoint 542 and Checkpoint 543, and two HMMWVs each at Checkpoint 540 and Checkpoint 541. He
assigned Checkpoint 541 to a team led by Second Lieutenant Acosta. (Annex 137C).
At approximately 1930 hours, Second Lieutenant Acosta arrived at Checkpoint 541
with three HMMWVs. He found First Lieutenant Daniels
in position at the on-ramp. Second Lieutenant Acosta relieved First Lieutenant
Daniels. A short time later, Captain Drew pulled up in his HMMWV, took one of
Second Lieutenant Acosta’s HMMWVs for placement at
Checkpoint 540, and then left with First Lieutenant Daniels accompanying him. (Annex 133C).
At 1938 hours, the 1-69 IN Battle Captain reported to
the 2/10 MTN Battle
Captain that all blocking positions had been established. The 1-76 FA Battle
Captain reported to the 2/10 MTN Battle
Captain that the VIP would depart in approximately five to ten minutes. (Annex 2L).
At 1945 hours, the VIP security convoy NCOIC reported to the 1-76 FA Battle
Captain that the convoy with the VIP departed the International Zone with a
destination of Camp
Victory. The 2/10 MTN
Battle Captain requested the VIP’s convoy departure time and composition from
the 3ID JOC Battle Captain, as they were not in direct contact with 1-76 FA.
Meanwhile, the 1-76 FA Battle Captain directed 1-69 IN Battle
Captain to initiate the Route Irish closure plan. (Annexes 59C, 64C, 2L).
2. (U) Establishing the Blocking
The instructions given to Second Lieutenant Acosta by Captain Drew were to set
up a blocking position to facilitate the movement of a VIP down Route Irish. (Annex 77C). Captain Drew also issued guidance on the
importance of force protection. (Annex 74C). He
expected to maintain the blocking position no more than 15 minutes. (Annexes 74C, 77C).
Second Lieutenant Acosta emplaced his two vehicles to establish the blocking
position. He positioned the blocking vehicle commanded by Staff Sergeant Brown
on the road, near the outer curb, positioned in conjunction with the second
barrier of three Jersey barriers already
on-site on the on-ramp. Second Lieutenant Acosta placed the overwatch
vehicle by the third Jersey barrier, closest to Route Irish. (Annexes
142K, 143K). In their final positions, both vehicles were facing toward
Route Irish. (Annex 77C).
Second Lieutenant Acosta, using the factors of METT-TC, positioned the vehicles
to provide standoff from the overpass (a common hand grenade throwing
location), a clear line of sight to on-coming traffic, overwatch
field of view (to watch for threats from nearby buildings), and to allow
adequate room for on-coming vehicles to stop and turn around. (Annexes 77C, 83C).
Staff Sergeant Brown’s vehicle was positioned to block traffic from using the
on-ramp to enter Route Irish. The other vehicle was positioned to provide overwatch of the area as well as to block traffic entering
the on-ramp the wrong way from Route Irish. (Annexes 77C,
After consulting with Staff Sergeant Brown, Second Lieutenant Acosta
established the Alert Line at the concrete abutment of the Route Vernon
overpass. The Warning Line was established as the second light pole on the
overpass up the on-ramp from the Alert Line. (Annexes 77C, 83C, 16K).
Second Lieutenant Acosta and Staff Sergeant Brown informed
the gunners of the Alert Line and Warning Line locations, and reviewed when to
shine the spotlight, and when to fire warning shots. (Annexes
(U) The duties of the Soldiers
Specialist Peck was the driver of the blocking vehicle and was to remain in the
driver’s seat, facing west down Route Irish. (Annexes 85C,
Specialist Lozano was the gunner in the blocking vehicle. He was to remain in
the turret, facing north up the on-ramp toward on-coming traffic. From there,
he was to operate a three million candlepower hand-held spotlight that he was
to shine on approaching vehicles as soon as possible, even before the Alert
Line (he was able to see at least 20 meters beyond the Alert Line). (Annexes 77C, 79C, 83C, 134C).
Staff Sergeant Brown, the Truck Commander of the blocking vehicle and acting
Platoon Sergeant, was to be dismounted so he could execute local security
around his vehicle. (Annexes 83C, 131C).
Specialist Mejia was the driver of the overwatch
vehicle and was to remain in the driver’s seat, facing west down Route Irish. (Annexes 89C, 128C).
Sergeant Domangue was to be in the turret of the overwatch vehicle where he would operate a green laser
pointer. He was to shine the laser pointer on a vehicle as soon as he saw it,
but no later than at the Alert Line, focusing it on the driver’s side of the windshield.
He was also to keep watch on the area between Route Irish and the on-ramp. (Annexes 87C, 129C).
Sergeant O’Hara was to be dismounted from the overwatch
vehicle so as to provide local security for his vehicle. (Annexes
Second Lieutenant Acosta was to be dismounted so he could supervise the
operation of the BP. (Annexes 77C, 133C).
4. (U) Communications Regarding the Mission Duration
Captain Drew, Second Lieutenant Acosta, and Staff Sergeant Brown were all
concerned about the length of time that the Soldiers had been manning their
blocking positions. (Annexes 74C, 77C, 83C). Captain
Drew was concerned that leaving his Soldiers in a static position for more than
15 minutes left them open to attack. He was also
concerned that he was not adequately performing his patrolling mission because
his Soldiers were tied down to the blocking positions. (Annex
Captain Drew checked with the 1-69 IN TOC at least two times
seeking to collapse the blocking positions and return his Soldiers to their
patrolling mission. The 1-69 IN TOC, after checking with 2/10 MTN TOC, informed him that the convoy had not passed and to
stay in position. (Annexes 74C, 2L).
At 2010 hours, the 2/10 MTN Battle Captain requested
permission from the 3ID TOC to remove blocking positions until 15 minutes
before VIP movement. (Annex 2L).
At 2014 hours, the 3ID TOC Battle Captain informed
the 2/10 MTN Battle Captain that A Company, 1-69 IN could reduce their blocking
positions until 2018 hours. (Annex 2L).
At 2015 hours, the 2/10 MTN Battle Captain reported to the 3ID TOC Battle
Captain that A Company, 1-69 IN blocking positions would remain in place.
At 2020 hours, the 2/10 MTN Battle Captain notified 1-69 IN to keep blocking
positions in place. (Annex 2L).
At 2030 hours, Captain Drew asked again about collapsing the blocking
positions. He was told that the word from 3ID was not to move off the blocking
positions, that the convoy would be coming down Route Irish in approximately 20
minutes, and that the convoy would consist of four HMMWVs
and an up-armored Suburban. (Annexes 97C, 3L).
1-76 FA was able to communicate the requirement for blocking positions along
Route Irish for a VIP movement from the International Zone to BIAP. (Annexes 58C, 59C, 62C, 63C). The security escort platoon
with the VIP was able to, and did, relay departure and arrival times to the
1-76 FA Battle Captain. (Annexes 59C, 64C).
VIP convoy departed the International Zone in four HMMWVs
(and no Suburban) at approximately 1945 hours. It arrived at the Camp Victory
gate at 2010 hours (Annex 59C). The convoy reached its destination on Camp Victory
at 2020 hours (Annex 59C). The VIP returned to the International Zone by
helicopter at approximately 2205 hours. The determination to fly by helicopter
back to the International Zone was not made until shortly before the VIP
departed as a result of clearing weather conditions. (Annexes
The 1-76 TOC had two means of communicating with 4th Brigade, its higher
headquarters: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP)2 and
FM. The 1-76 FA Battle Captain was using only VOIP to communicate with 1-69 IN,
but experienced problems with VOIP, therefore losing its only communication
link with 1-69 IN, other than going through 4th Brigade. (Annex
97C). As a result, the Battle Captain was unable to pass updated information about the blocking mission either
directly to 1-69 IN, or to 4th Brigade. He did not attempt to contact 4th
Brigade via FM communications. (Annex 63C). Fourth
Brigade, in turn, could not pass updated information
to its major command, 3ID. (Annex 57C). Likewise, 3ID
had no new information to pass to
its subordinate command, 2/10 MTN. Finally, 2/10 MTN was thus unable to pass
updated information to its
subordinate command, 1-69 IN. (Annexes 51C, 52C).
There is no evidence to indicate that 1-76 FA passed on the information about the VIP departure and arrival
times to any unit. (Annexes 59C, 63C). As a result, A
Company, 1-69 IN’s Soldiers were directed to remain
in their blocking positions.
Other than the duty logs, there are no other written records of communications
or tape recordings among involved units relating to the coordination to block
Route Irish on the evening of 4 March 2005. (Annex 6M).
(U) The Incident
After arriving at BIAP from Italy
in the late afternoon of 4 March 2005, and taking care of some administrative
matters, Mr. Carpani and Mr. Calipari
went to some undisclosed location in the Mansour
District of Baghdad. (Annexes 104C, 105C). At
approximately 2030 hours they recovered Ms. Sgrena
and headed back toward BIAP. (Annexes 103C, 104C, 109C).
Both agents made a number of phone calls to various officials during the drive.
(Annex 104C). Mr. Carpani
was mostly talking to his colleague, Mr. Castilletti,
who was waiting for them outside of BIAP near Checkpoint 539. He updated Mr. Castilletti on his location and discussed arrangements at
the airport. (Annex 105C). Mr. Carpani,
who was driving, had to slow down at one point due to a flooded underpass on
Route Vernon. (Annexes 103C, 104C). Mr. Carpani, who had experience driving in Baghdad, did not have an alternate route to
the airport planned.
(S//NF) 2 VOIP is a technology that allows telephone calls to be made using a
broadband internet connection instead of a regular (analog)
(Annexes 104C, 105C). He was
taking what he considered to be the most logical route to BIAP, but was not
checking his speedometer. (Annex 105C). Neither he,
nor Mr. Calipari, knew the on-ramp to Route Irish was
blocked. (Annex 104C). Indeed, Mr. Carpani
believed the road to the airport was open. (Annex 105C).
At approximately 2045 hours the Soldiers at BP 541 were in the positions that
they had been occupying since 1930 hours. They had successfully turned around
15-30 vehicles, with none getting more than a few meters beyond the Alert Line.
(Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 87C, 132C). Specialist
Lozano was in his turret, his M240B (on which he had last qualified just five
days before (Annex 6G)) pointed down and to his left at a grassy area with
Specialist Peck in the driver’s seat in the blocking vehicle. Specialist Mejia
was in the driver’s seat of the overwatch vehicle
with Sergeant Domangue in the turret. Sergeant O’Hara
was sitting in the rear passenger’s seat of the overwatch
vehicle, cleaning his protective glasses. Staff Sergeant Brown, the acting
Platoon Sergeant, was seeking to determine how much longer they were to remain
in position. As such, he was standing with Second Lieutenant Acosta near the overwatch vehicle, their backs to the on-ramp. (Annexes 79C, 83C, 128C, 129C, 130C, 131C, 132C, 133C, 134C).
None of the Soldiers knew that the Italians were coming. (Annexes
116C, 117C, 118C, 119C, 120C, 121C, 122C).
As the car approached the on-ramp to Route Irish, Mr. Carpani
was on the cell phone updating Mr. Castilletti on
their position and reporting that everything was going fine. (Annexes
104C, 105C). Though not in the habit of checking his
speedometer, Mr. Carpani estimated his speed at 70-80
kph as he exited off of Route Vernon, heading toward the on-ramp to Route
Irish. (Annex 105C). The courtesy light in the
car was on and had been since picking up Ms. Sgrena
in the Mansour District of Baghdad. (Annex 104C). Additionally, Mr. Carpani
had his side window halfway open to listen for possible threats. (Annex 105C). Ms. Sgrena and Mr. Calipari were in the rear of the car talking to each other.
(Annexes 103C, 105C). The atmosphere in the car was a
mix of excitement over the recovery of Ms. Sgrena,
and tension from the tasks yet to be completed. (Annex 140C).
At approximately 2050 hours, Specialist Lozano saw a car approaching the
on-ramp, approximately 140 meters from his position. (Annexes
79C, 134C, 144K). Specialist Lozano, holding the spotlight in his left
hand, shined his spotlight onto the car before it arrived at the Alert Line. (Annexes 79C, 85C). At this time, Sergeant Domangue acquired the vehicle’s headlights and saw the
spotlight shining on it. He then focused his green laser pointer onto the
windshield of the car as it reached the Alert Line. (Annexes
87C, 129C). Both Specialist Lozano and Sergeant Domangue
perceived the car to be traveling in excess of 50 mph
(and faster than any other vehicles that evening). (Annexes
79C, 87C, 129C, 134C).
The car crossed the Alert Line still heading towards the Soldiers’ position
without slowing down. Specialist Lozano continued to shine the spotlight, and
shouted at the vehicle to stop, a fruitless effort, but an instantaneous
reaction based on his training.
(Annexes 85C, 130C). Without
slowing down, the car continued toward the Warning Line with the spotlight and
laser still on it. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 129C).
The car continued to approach at a high rate of speed, coming closer to the
Soldiers than any other vehicle that evening. (Annexes 79C,
87C, 129C). When the car got to the Warning Line, Specialist Lozano,
while still holding the spotlight in his left hand, used his right hand to
quickly fire a two to four round burst into a grassy area to the on-coming
vehicle’s right (the pre-set aiming point) as a warning shot. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 125C, 129C, 134C).
The vehicle maintained its speed as it went beyond the Warning Line. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 129C, 131C, 132C, 133C). Staff
Sergeant Brown, a New York City Police Officer trained in vehicle speed
estimation, estimated the car was traveling at 50 mph
and believed that it would not be able to stay on the road around the curve at
that speed. (Annex 83C). Specialist Lozano dropped the
spotlight and immediately traversed his weapon from his left to his right,
without having to move the turret, to orient on the front of the car. With both
hands on the weapon, he fired another burst, walking the rounds from the ground
on the passenger’s side of the vehicle and towards the car’s engine block in an
attempt to disable it. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 87C,
129C, 131C, 132C, 133C). The rounds hit the right and front sides of the
vehicle, deflated the left front tire, and blew out the side windows. (Annexes 104C, 105C, 132C, 1I).
Mr. Carpani reacted by saying into the phone, “they
are attacking us,” not knowing who was shooting at him. (Annexes
103C, 104C, 105C). He stepped on the brakes, curled up on the left side
of the car, and dropped the phone. (Annexes 104C, 105C).
Specialist Lozano stopped firing as he saw the car slow down and roll to a
stop. Approximately four seconds had elapsed between the firing of the first
round and the last round, and no more than seven seconds from the time the car
crossed the Alert Line until it came to a stop. (Annexes 77C,
79C, 81C, 83C, 87C, 129C, 131C, 132C, 133C, 134C). The car came to a
stop near the middle of the on-ramp, such that the first Jersey barrier was
aligned with the vehicle between the front and back doors. (Annexes 79C, 83C, 105C).
F. (U) Post-Incident
Once the car came to a stop, Mr. Carpani got out of
the car with his hands raised, cell phone in one hand, and told the Soldiers
that he was from the Italian Embassy. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C,
83C, 85C, 104C, 130C, 131C, 132C, 133C, 134C). Second Lieutenant Acosta,
Staff Sergeant Brown, Sergeant O’Hara, and Specialist Peck approached the car
with weapons raised and secured the driver. (Annexes 130C,
131C, 132C, 133C). Staff Sergeant Brown patted him down and asked him if
there were others in the car. Mr. Carpani said there
were two others and that there was one weapon on the front seat and another on
the male passenger in the back seat. He warned Staff Sergeant Brown that both
weapons had a round in the chamber. Staff Sergeant Brown then moved Mr. Carpani about 10 meters away from the car and off to the
side of the road to question him and examine him. After initially taking
control of the cell phones as well as Mr. Carpani’s
and Mr. Calipari’s identification and badges, Staff
Sergeant Brown returned those items to Mr. Carpani.
At some point, Staff Sergeant Brown directed the car be placed in park since
the car continued to roll. (Annexes 83C, 105C).
Sergeant O’Hara and Second Lieutenant Acosta searched the vehicle. (Annexes 77C, 81C). Second Lieutenant Acosta ordered
Sergeant Domangue to inform
Captain Drew and to send Specialist Mejia over with his medical kit. Specialist
Mejia arrived at the car and found Mr. Calipari
gravely injured. Specialist Mejia was able to bandage Mr. Calipari’s
wound, but Mr. Calipari died a few minutes later.
Specialist Peck also tried to assist with Mr. Calipari.
He then returned to the blocking vehicle and relieved Specialist Lozano in the
turret to allow him to collect himself. (Annex 85C, 130C).
Specialist Mejia then turned his attention to Ms. Sgrena’s
wounds. (Annex 89C, 128C). He tried to administer an
IV, but his needles were too large. Meanwhile, Sergeant O’Hara bandaged Ms. Sgrena’s shoulder wound. (Annexes 128C,
Captain Drew then arrived on the scene along with Specialist Silberstein, who
was a qualified medic. (Annexes 127C, 128C, 133C, 134C).
Specialist Silberstein assessed Ms. Sgrena and
treated her for shock. He then confirmed that Mr. Calipari
was dead. (Annex 127C). Captain Drew assessed the
situation, passed all available information
to his command, and ordered the casualties to be evacuated to the Combat
Support Hospital (CSH) in the International Zone for treatment of their wounds.
He also requested an ambulance for Mr. Calipari’s
body. (Annexes 74C, 133C, 137C). Ms. Sgrena was loaded into the blocking vehicle and proceeded to the CSH with the overwatch
vehicle following as U.S.
military vehicles do not travel alone. (Annexes 127C, 128C,
129C, 130C, 132C, 133C). Mr. Carpani was
transported later by a separate vehicle from another element of Captain Drew’s patrol. (Annex 136C). All
equipment in the vehicle before the shooting was later returned to Mr. Carpani. (Annex 4M).
Before Mr. Carpani was transported to the CSH, he
made at least seven phone calls on his cell phone. He tried asking how his
companions were but was unable to get an answer. (Annexes
104C, 105C). Sergeant First Class Feliciano arrived with Captain Drew
and found that Mr. Carpani spoke Spanish, as did
Sergeant First Class Feliciano. He was able to tell Mr. Carpani
about the condition of his companions. (Annex 91C)
Mr. Carpani told Sergeant First Class Feliciano who
Ms. Sgrena was and that he was trying to get to the
airport. He told Sergeant First Class Feliciano that he heard shots from
somewhere, and that he panicked and started speeding, trying to get to the
airport as quickly as possible. Mr. Carpani further
told Sergeant First Class Feliciano that he continued to speed down the ramp,
and that he was in a hurry to get to the airport. (Annexes
Mr. Carpani became a little dizzy, so Sergeant First
Class Feliciano got some water for him. Mr. Carpani
kept making phone calls. He contacted Mr. Castilletti
who put Captain Green on the phone. Mr. Carpani then
had Captain Drew talk to Captain Green. Mr. Carpani
kept on insisting that he wanted to go to the airport. After one of the phone
calls, though, he said he needed to go to the hospital where Ms. Sgrena had been taken. (Annex 91C).
The incident was reported through command channels, and the Commanding General,
3ID ordered an immediate commander’s inquiry/preliminary investigation into the
incident. Before the investigator had arrived on the scene, the HMMWVs involved in the incident had departed to the CSH and
the car had been moved in an effort to clean up the site so that the on-ramp
could be re-opened. The Commander, 2/10 MTN arrived about two hours after the
incident and ordered the car be put back in its
stopped position to support the commander’s inquiry as much as possible. (Annex 65C).
G. (U) Forensic Evidence
1. (U) 5 March 2005 Report
Photographs of the incident scene were taken in the hours after the incident by
Combat Camera personnel, as advised by CID personnel. (Annexes 32K – 69K). The
exact locations of the three incident vehicles could not be determined since
the two HMMWVs had been moved upon transporting Ms. Sgrena to the Combat
and the car had been moved during cleanup efforts at the site. (Annex 5I).
(U) 11 March 2005 Report
The forensic investigation of the incident scene conducted on the morning of 11
March 2005 provided the following distances between relevant points based on
(U) Blocking vehicle to Alert Line – 389 feet, 7 inches (118.8 meters)
(U) Blocking vehicle to Warning Line – 272 feet (82.9 meters)
(U) Blocking vehicle to disabled vehicle stop point – 125 feet (38.1 meters)
• (U) Disabled vehicle stop point
to Warning Line – 147 feet (44.8 meters)
• (U) Disabled vehicle stop point
to Alert Line – 264 feet, 7 inches (80.7 meters)
• (U) Alert Line to Warning Line – 117 feet, 7 inches (35.9 meters)
(Annexes 5I, 143K).
3 The position of the Toyota was determined from photographs taken
before it was moved during cleanup efforts. The blocking vehicle location comes
from GPS readings provided by the Preliminary Investigating Officer based on
witness statements regarding its position at the time of the incident.
(U) 14 March 2005 Report
A forensic examination of the car was performed after its removal from the
scene. This analysis disclosed 11 entrance bullet holes. They are consistent
with 7.62 mm bullets. Three bullets perforated the front section of the car at
the bumper, right head light, and right fender. Two bullets perforated the
windshield. Six bullets perforated the right side, right door, right front and
rear passenger windows. No bullet holes or ricochet damage was noted on the
car’s undercarriage. (Annex 1I).
The trajectory analysis demonstrated that all 11 bullets came from one point of
origin. The actual distance from the car to the machine gun could not be
conclusively determined because of several variables: the grade of the curve
and curvature of the roadway; depressions or elevations of the terrain; the
lateral movement of the car; human reaction time, modulation of speed and
braking by the driver; a flat tire; and lateral and vertical movement of the
machine gun. The security situation at the incident site prevented examiners
from visiting the scene. (Annex 1I).
(U) BP 541 Traffic Samples
On Friday, 25 March 2005, a certified radar operator conducted two traffic
samples at BP 541. From 1809 hours to 1824 hours, 27 vehicles were clocked. The
average speed at the Alert Line was 44 mph. The average speed at the beginning
of the on-ramp’s curve was 24 mph. From 1956 hours to 2015 hours, 30 vehicles
were clocked. The average speed at the Alert Line was 46 mph. The average speed
at the beginning of the curve was 26 mph. Unlike the night of the incident,
which was also a Friday, the road was dry during these samples. (Annex 1M).
(U) Number of Rounds
The ammunition box in the blocking vehicle originally contained 200 rounds.
There were 142 rounds remaining in the M240B ammunition box. No casings were
collected. Eleven rounds hit the vehicle. The weapon had been fired on seven
previous occasions using the same ammunition box. As such, there were no more
than 40 additional rounds that could have been fired. (Annexes 85C, 99C).
H. (U) Findings
Second Lieutenant Acosta was under a time constraint to establish the BP
quickly and expected to be in position for a very limited time, i.e., no more
than 15-20 minutes. Further, the position was on a tight curve that caused
Second Lieutenant Acosta to make less than optimal choices in positioning his
vehicles. Still, Second Lieutenant Acosta properly considered and employed the
factors of METT-TC in deciding where to emplace his two vehicles so as to
provide vehicle stand-off, force protection, overwatch
field of view, and clear line of sight for the spotlight operator. From 15-30
vehicles were turned around without incident based upon how the position was
established. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 87C, 1F, 2F, 3F).
At the time of the incident, there were only two HMMWVs,
and seven U.S.
military personnel, at BP 541. Both the blocking vehicle and the overwatch vehicle were positioned on the on-ramp, facing
Route Irish. There were no other vehicles, or Soldiers in the immediate
vicinity of BP 541, and the BP could not be seen by any other BPs on Route Irish. (Annexes
77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 85C, 87C, 89C, 117C, 118C, 119C, 120C, 121C, 122C, 123C,
The Soldiers had a heightened sense of awareness because of the two VBIED BOLOs, one for a black car, another for a white car. (Annexes 74C, 77C, 13E, 14E). Given the number of vehicles
that had been stopped and turned around, and this awareness of VBIEDs, it is highly unlikely that Specialist Lozano was
not paying attention. Further, Specialist Lozano had recently rotated into the
position, replacing Specialist Peck, to ensure that there was a fresh set of
eyes in the turret. (Annexes 79C, 85C). Rotating
qualified personnel in and out of the turret to maintain alertness was a wise
decision by the BP 541 leadership.
Ineffective battle tracking procedures (communications, log posting, and information sharing) at the 1-76 FA TOC caused A
Company, 1-69 IN to be left in their blocking positions longer than expected.
The night of 4 March 2005 was the last night of the Left Seat Ride for 1-76 FA,
and 4-5 March 2005 was the first full duty day for the unit. (Annexes 59C, 63C, 97C).
The spotlight and green laser pointer had proven effective in stopping and
turning around vehicles before the car with the Italians arrived at the
on-ramp. Many of the vehicles, though, screeched their tires when stopping.
While effective for accomplishing the mission, the spotlight and laser pointer
may not be the best system from a civilian point of view. (Annexes 77C, 79C,
81C, 83C, 87C, 132C)
Specialist Lozano did not drop the spotlight until after he fired the warning
shots, then immediately transitioned to two hands on his weapon as he fired the
disabling shots. (Annexes 79C, 83C, 85C, 87C).
Specialist Lozano spotlighted the car before it reached the Alert Line, fired
warning shots as it reached the Warning Line, and fired on the vehicle in an
attempt to disable it immediately after it crossed the Warning Line. (Annexes 79C, 87C, 129C, 134C).
Specialist Lozano was the only one to fire his weapon. (Annexes 77C, 79C, 81C, 83C, 85C, 87C, 89C).
The car was traveling at approximately 50 mph as it
crossed the Warning Line. (Annex 83C).
Mr. Carpani did not apply his brakes until after the
rounds began striking the car. (Annexes 104C, 105C).
Given the cyclic rate of fire of the M240B, Specialist Lozano’s expertise with
the weapon, and that only 11 rounds struck the vehicle
with only five of those impacting the front of the car, it is highly unlikely
that any shots were fired after the car came to a stop. (Annexes
79C, 6G, 1I, 3M).
Both the blocking and overwatch vehicles were moved
after the incident as directed by Captain Drew to transport Ms. Sgrena to the Combat
Both vehicles were needed to provide security for the move to the hospital. (Annexes 74C,
The gunner complied with the Rules of Engagement. After operating the
spotlight, and perceiving the on-coming vehicle as a threat, he fired to
disable it and did not intend to harm anyone in the vehicle. (Annexes 79C,
There were a number of unrelated events that had a role in the incident. These
were: (1) bad weather forcing a VIP to convoy on Route Irish that evening vice
the preferred method of traveling by helicopter; (2)
communications problems involving a unit new to the AOR that caused the
Soldiers to be left in position longer than expected; (3) the recovery of Ms. Sgrena being pushed back daily, for several days, to 4
March 2005; (4) the Italians did not know the Soldiers were at the on-ramp, and
were not expecting any such roadblocks; and (5) the Soldiers did not know the
Italians were traveling to BIAP. (Annexes 51C, 52C, 57C, 59C, 60C, 61C, 63C, 97C, 104C, 105C,
107C, 109C, 116C, 117C, 118C, 119C, 120C, 121C, 122C).
Mr. Carpani was driving faster than any other vehicle
observed by the Soldiers that evening. He failed to stop for the spotlight
since he was not expecting a roadblock. Additionally, he was dealing with
multiple distractions including talking on the phone while driving, the
conversation in the back seat, trying to listen for threats, driving on a wet
road, focusing on tasks to be accomplished, the need to get to the airport, and
the excited and tense atmosphere in the car. (Annexes 104C,
105C, 125C, 140C). Any one of these would have affected his reaction
I. (U) Recommendations
Recommend the Force Protection Working Group consider the use of additional
non-lethal measures (e.g., spike strips, temporary speed bumps, and wire) be
emplaced to slow down or stop vehicles before the use of disabling shots. The
intent is to provide as many non-lethal options as possible before asking a
Soldier to focus on firing the weapon.
Recommend that the Force Protection Working Group, in conjunction with MNC-I
Information Operations, propagate a Public Awareness/Public Service Campaign to
inform all drivers of their
responsibilities for behavior when approaching and
while at Coalition Checkpoints. This information
could be posted on panels or boards at airports and other major transportation centers, as well as in pamphlets to be distributed from
various locations, to include rental car agencies and border control points.
This public awareness campaign should enhance safe operations by promoting
mutual trust, cooperation, and confidence for Coalition Forces and Iraqi
citizens as well as formally outlining expected driver behavior
throughout the AOR.
Recommend the Force Protection Working Group consider the following points as
they develop the MNC-I SOP for TCP operations:
(S//NF) Different signs for ECPs, TCPs,
and BPs. For example:
Road Closed – Do Not Enter (for BPs).
Coalition Checkpoint Ahead – Proceed Slowly and Follow Directions (for TCPs).
Signs written in Arabic and English should, where possible, also incorporate
international symbols to accommodate foreign nationals as they begin operating
(S//NF) Highly visible and quickly deployable
checkpoint and roadblock warning signs for Soldiers on patrol.
(S//NF) Standards for when and how to use spotlights and lasers.
(S//NF) The use of hand-held signs as an alternative
to hand-and-arm signals.
Recommend a review of frequently established TCP locations to consider the use
of existing permanent highway overpass signs that warn drivers that checkpoints
may be upcoming (e.g., “Possible Checkpoint Ahead – Next Exit”).
Recommend an assessment of the current technique of requiring the gunner to
operate both the spotlight and the weapon in the turret of the vehicle. This
will allow more reaction time and simplify duties and responsibilities of the
Further recommend a transition to a more driver friendly alert signal by
substituting devices such as rotating warning lights and sirens to replace
spotlights as early warning tools.
Recommend periodic reviews of Right Seat/Left Seat Ride Relief in Place
procedures based on:
(S//NF) Transfer of Authority between units (before and after).
(S//NF) Changes in MTOE equipment.
(S//NF) Significant changes in the operational environment.
These reviews will ensure there is rigor in enforcing standards and essential
tasks in accordance with existing SOPs. Further recommend MSC enforcement of
“Right Seat/Left Seat Ride” certification programs where outgoing commanders
certify incoming units’ ability to perform required tasks before TOA. This will
ensure Soldiers and leaders can properly execute tasks to standard and
understand the reasons for tasks that deviate from established procedures as a
result of any recent changes.
Recommend the MSC Commanders review MNF FRAGO 1269/5 2005 Dec 04 with
subordinate commands to ensure thorough fratricide reporting and investigation of
fratricide incidents. The use of Rapid Response Teams (SJA, PAO, PMO, CID,
Safety, etc.) to provide support to the on-site commander is highly
Recommend development of a casualty post-incident procedure reference guide to
assist junior leaders in accurately preserving incident scenes as much as time
and the tactical situation allow.
Some key pieces of information could
(S//NF) Diagram of the scene to include exact grid of locations of
(S//NF) Amount of ammunition expended.
• (S//NF) Digital
(S//NF) Chronology of events.
(S//NF) Personnel involved with the incident.
(S//NF) Personnel on-site at the time of the incident.
• (S//NF) Permission to stand down or
remove any equipment.
Recommend that no disciplinary action be taken against any Soldier involved in
Recommend that this report be circulated to all MNC-I Major Subordinate
Commanders for use as an After Action Review tool.
This section addresses the status of coordination with MNF-I, MNC-I, and their
subordinate units regarding the recovery and transport of Ms. Sgrena on 4 March 2005. Further, it examines the role that
Captain Green played in this incident.
B. (U) MNF-I/MNC-I Involvement
When moving through another unit’s battlespace in a
combat zone, coordination with forces in the area is required for situational
awareness, and, more importantly, for deconfliction
of unit movements, positioning, and operations. For example, 2/10 MTN has
successfully coordinated and executed previous movements and operations of
units and forces not assigned to their AOR. The unit had coordinated, sometimes
on relatively short notice, with numerous Joint Special Operations Units,
Special Missions Units, and Special Tactics Units before 4 March 2005, with no
incidents. (Annex 65C).
To determine who or what organizations were aware of the Sgrena
recovery and transport operation, sworn statements were taken from key military
officials within MNF-I, MNC-I, and their subordinate units that, by their
function, would have had access to information
about such an operation. A statement was also provided by the Political
Military Counselor, U.S. Embassy Baghdad. The results
are listed below:
(U) No one at the U.S. Embassy, including the Political Military Counselor, knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annex
(U) No one within the MNF-I leadership knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annexes 1C to 27C).
(U) No one, with one exception to be addressed below, within the MNC-I
leadership knew about the Sgrena operation until
after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annexes 28C to
(U) No one within the 3ID leadership knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annexes 44C to 56C).
(U) No one within 4 BCT knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annex 5M).
• (U) No one within the 1-76 FA leadership knew about
the Sgrena operation until after the shooting
incident had occurred. (Annexes 58C to
(U) No one within the 2/10 MTN leadership knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annexes
65C to 71C).
• (U) No one within the 1-69 IN leadership knew about
the Sgrena operation until after the shooting
incident had occurred. (Annexes 72C, 96C to
(U) No one at the BIAP Command Post knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annex
(U) No one at the Hostage Working Group knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annex
(U) No one with A Company, 1-69 IN knew about the Sgrena
operation until after the shooting incident had occurred. (Annexes
76C, 78C, 80C, 82C, 84C, 86C, 88C, 90C, 92C).
Thus, it can be positively stated that the U.S. military was totally unaware
of the recovery and transport of Ms. Sgrena on 4
March 2005 until after the shooting incident had occurred.
C. (U) Captain
Captain Green (USA) is the Aide-de-Camp to Major General Mario Marioli (ITAR), DCG, MNC-I. (Annex 107C).
As early as 28 February 2005, Captain Green was aware that a number of Italian
VIPs would be coming into BIAP. The date for their arrival kept getting pushed
back. He was aware that the VIPs would be involved in working the Sgrena hostage situation. Captain Green knew no specifics
beyond that. (Annexes 107C, 109C).
At approximately 1330 hours on 4 March 2005, Captain Green, Lieutenant Colonel Zarcone (ITAR), and one PSD departed for BIAP, arriving at
about 1350 hours. Major General Marioli and another
PSD arrived shortly thereafter. (Annex 107C). The
plane finally arrived at 1626. (Annex 1H). Eleven passengers deplaned and were
immediately taken to the Al Faw Palace at Camp Victory.
There, security badges were obtained for five of the VIPs. (Annexes 106C, 107C).
Captain Green accompanied three Italian VIPs, Major General Marioli,
and two PSDs in three cars to a location about one kilometer beyond Checkpoint 539 on Route Irish. Two
Italians left, heading into Baghdad.
The rest of the group waited at the site for a short while, returned to Camp
Victory, then went back to the spot past Checkpoint 539. Major General Marioli did not want Captain Green to go back out to
Checkpoint 539, but Captain Green, as his aide, insisted since his presence
would be necessary to interface with the U.S. security forces in the area. (Annexes 100C, 106C, 107C).
At approximately 2030 hours, Major General Marioli
approached Captain Green and asked him how he was doing and if Lieutenant
Colonel Zarcone had told him what was going on.
Captain Green said no, but that he suspected it had something to do with the
Italian journalist. Major General Marioli said “Yes,
but it is best if no one knows.” Captain Green took this as an order from a
General Officer not to pass that information
on to anyone. (Annex 109C). Moreover, Major General Marioli did not intend for Captain Green to take any action
whatsoever on that information. He
only told Captain Green so that he would not be surprised when Ms. Sgrena arrived. (Annex 100C).
Approximately 20 minutes later, a phone call came in to the third Italian VIP
at the site near Checkpoint 539. The call brought news of the shooting. Captain
Green made contact with U.S.
personnel in a nearby Bradley Fighting Vehicle and confirmed the shooting.
Captain Green subsequently was able to speak with Captain Drew at BP 541.
Captain Green discussed the matter with Captain Drew and relayed to Major
General Marioli that it was best for them to return
to Camp Victory
as the wounded were being transported to the Combat Support
Hospital in the
International Zone. (Annex 107C). Major General Marioli was very appreciative of Captain Green’s
coordination efforts following the shooting. (Annex 100C).
Captain Green was not informed of
the recovery and transport of Ms. Sgrena until a
short time before the incident at BP 541 occurred. (Annex
109C). He was not expected to take any action in the matter as it was an
Italian national issue, nor was he in a position of any authority to do so. (Annex 100C). He was obeying an order from Major General Marioli. (Annex 109C).
military personnel within MNF-I, MNC-I (to include Captain Green), or
subordinate units were informed by
the Government of Italy of the hostage rescue mission that occurred on 4 March
2005. (Annexes 1C to 56C, 58C to 63C, 65C to 72C, 76C, 78C, 80C, 82C, 84C, 86C,
88C, 90C, 92C, 96C to 99C, 110C, 114C, 126C, 7M).
Not coordinating with U.S.
personnel was a conscious decision on the part of the Italians as they considered
the hostage recovery an Intelligence mission and a national issue. (Annex 100C).
Based upon previous successful coordination efforts by 3ID and 2/10 MTN working
with organizations from various agencies outside their chain of command, it is clear
that, while the hostage recovery operation may have otherwise been a success,
prior coordination might have prevented this tragedy. Iraq is still a
hostile environment, i.e, a combat zone, and the more
coordination that can be done to increase situational awareness of those
operating within the battlespace, the better it is for all involved. (Annex 65C)