At least four previous reviews by the Army had resulted in little more than reprimands for the officer, Capt. Timothy R. Hanson, now 33, who was promoted from lieutenant a year after the incident, and who had been allowed to transfer from active duty to a full-time Army Reserve job in his home state of Wisconsin.
“This is a vindication of our efforts to discover what happened and what did not happen,” the senior Sharrett said Monday. “This whole thing was about Dave, about giving him a voice. He acted honorably on the battlefield. He did everything he was supposed to do. And the ones who knew about this covered it up, acted cowardly.”
Hanson claimed in an Army probe last year that he didn’t know he had shot Sharrett, even as the investigating general repeatedly showed him overhead video of the two soldiers within feet of each other. Hanson said he needed to leave the battlefield to assist two wounded men and brief his commanders. The wounded men told the general that Hanson did not assist them, and Hanson apparently did not brief commanders or return to his unit, which remained on its mission for two additional days.
Hanson said earlier this year that he did not want to discuss the incident, but that he was sorry and wanted to apologize to the Sharrett family. He did not respond to requests for comment in recent days.
The Army sent an e-mail to David Sharrett Sr. last week saying that Army Secretary John McHugh had referred the awarding of Hanson’s Combat Infantryman Badge to the Army’s Human Resources Command for review. The e-mail reported that the command’s Army Awards Board had recommended revoking Hanson’s badge, and McHugh had approved that move.
The e-mail continued that McHugh, in late February, had ordered a review of Hanson’s actions by the U.S. Army Reserve Command, since Hanson is now a reserve. The reserve commander “initiated elimination proceedings against CPT Hanson. As a result, CPT Hanson is currently being processed for separation from the Army.”
Army officials declined to say whether the separation was honorable, though a dishonorable discharge would require court-martial proceedings. They also would not discuss why the move came more than four years after the incident.
Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who commanded the multinational forces in northern Iraq in 2008, said in an e-mail Monday that Sharrett was “incorrect about his perception about what the chain of command knew regarding Capt. Hanson’s actions the night of the fratricide, or after.” Hertling said the commanders’ focus was on the fratricide itself, “and how to prevent it from happening again,” not Hanson’s actions after the shooting.