Two years ago Iraqi dfense forces ambushed and killed two American soldiers who had been training them in the art of war. The US military covered it up until yesterday.
A few weeks before he died, a depressed Spc. Patrick Ryan McCaffrey called his father from Iraq and told him that he had just been fired upon by the Iraqi troops he was helping to train.
“They were on night patrol, and they had been fired upon by what they thought were 12 insurgents. They killed several of them, and three surrendered,” said Bob McCaffrey on Tuesday in a phone interview with The Chronicle. “Some of the dead ones were part of the group that they had been training for a week, and the survivors were also part of that group.”
McCaffrey said that his 34-year-old son notified his commanding officer but “was told to keep his mouth shut.” A month later, on June 22, 2004, his son was dead. The Army said his unit was ambushed by enemy forces on a patrol near Balad, Iraq.
On Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said that the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command has concluded that McCaffrey, from Tracy, and 2nd Lt. Andre Demetrius Tyson, 33, of Riverside, were killed by Iraqi soldiers who were patrolling alongside the U.S. soldiers.
“It’s god-awful,” said Bob McCaffrey, a Redding rancher and Army veteran. “It underlies the lie of this whole situation in Iraq. It’s all to me a pack of lies.”
Bob McCaffrey said that his son was assigned to assist in the training of Iraqi civil defense forces, helping them learn how to fire their weapons accurately, march in order, and clean and dismantle their weapons. He also said that his son would call him frequently on a satellite phone.
McCaffrey said that he was not surprised at all by the Army’s conclusions, but angry that it took the Pentagon so long to verify his suspicions about the incident. “It does not take two years to produce investigation results,” he said. “I’m sure this was known very quickly.”
He said that members of his son’s company told him that insurgents were offering Iraqi soldiers about $100 apiece for each American they could kill.
“Members of his unit had mentioned to me and his mother a year ago that (Iraqi civil defense forces) were responsible for the ambush or a part of it,” he said. “It wasn’t the first time that they had turned on them. … We discussed it openly and freely. Some of these boys are pretty traumatized over this.”