The Washington Post

Timothy Hanson, Sharrett shooter, still captain in Army

At a memorial service in Iraq in January 2008, Gen. David Petraeus clutches the dog tags of Pfc. David H. Sharrett II of Oakton and pays his respects. Sharrett was one of three U.S. soldiers killed in a firefight days earlier. (U.S. Army)

Army commanders had said repeatedly that Capt. Timothy R. Hanson, 31, was “out of the Army.” But after Secretary of the Army John McHugh told Sharrett’s family on Thursday that Hanson was “still drawing a paycheck,” a Pentagon spokesman on Friday reported that Hanson is an infantry captain in the Army’s active guard reserve, stationed at Fort McCoy, Wis. The spokesman, George B. Wright Jr., said Hanson is employed full time as a member of the 86th Training Division.

Hanson’s military record, released by the Army on Friday after a month of requests, shows he was discharged from active duty in September 2010 at Fort McCoy. He has declined to comment on the case. As an executive officer and former platoon leader of the 101st Airborne Division, Hanson led an eight-man team into a firefight near Balad, Iraq, in January 2008, and forensics tests showed he shot and killed Sharrett in a friendly fire incident which Hanson has never fully explained. He did not tell anyone of the shooting, and left the battlefield with four of his men unaccounted for. Hanson may have received a reprimand last year, after the Army’s third investigation into the case, but the Army has declined to reveal if any action was taken.

The lieutenant colonel who designed the operation, Robert McCarthy, and who declined to seek discipline for Hanson’s actions, is now being considered for promotion to colonel by the U.S. Senate, Sharrett’s father was told. McCarthy did not respond to another request for comment last week.

David Sharrett Sr. said Monday, “My family is disgusted that the Army embraced and rewarded cowardice in an attempt to protect the careers of Lt. Hanson's chain of command. Apparently trust, responsibility and accountability have been deleted from the Army's code of conduct.”

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.

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