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Friendly Fire Court-Martial Opens

Fri., June 2, 1995

A 10-officer panel was chosen Thursday to hear the court-martial of an Air Force captain charged in the friendly fire shootdown over Iraq that killed 26 people.

The defendant, Capt. Jim Wang, complained that the jury pool didn’t include enough people familiar with the Airborn Warning and Control System, or AWACS, and that it included mostly commanders or former commanders.

Wang was a senior officer aboard an AWACS radar plane monitoring the no-fly zone over Iraq when two U.S. F-15 jets shot down two U.S. helicopters in 1994.

Wang, 29, faces three counts of dereliction of duty. He is accused of failing to warn the fighter pilots that friendly helicopters were in the area and failing to ensure that the choppers were broadcasting the proper identification codes.

Opening statements begin today.

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