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Tommy's Day

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Essay title: Tommy's Day

U.S., Kuwait ask why

bombing went terribly wrong

WASHINGTON-- A team of Kuwaiti

and U.S. investigators sorted

through evidence on Tuesday trying

to learn how and why a U.S. Navy

jet dropped a 500-pound bomb near

observers at a training range, killing

six of them.

The F/A-18 Hornet was taking part

in a twice-yearly training flight on

Monday when the accident


The training flights have been a

regularly scheduled part of the

Persian Gulf area military

experience for 10 years -- since a multinational force repelled an Iraqi

invasion of Kuwait and pledged to keep the tiny oil-rich nation safe in the


But on Monday, something went wrong. A Navy pilot practicing "close air

support" for ground troops suddenly dropped live ordnance near an

observation area, according to the U.S. Central Command.

The blast killed five Americans and a New Zealander, 27-year-old acting

Maj. John McNutt. The names of the five Americans killed have not been

released. Five other Americans and two Kuwaitis were injured.

Two of the injured have already been released, and some of the injured

Americans were evacuated to a U.S. airbase in Germany.

Central Command appointed an investigation board to arrive later this week

in Kuwait, where U.S. and Kuwaiti officials were already trying to learn

whether the error that led to the accident came about in the air -- the pilot's

mistake -- or somewhere on the ground, either from faulty direction for air

traffic controllers or a tragic miscommunication that put the observers in

the line of fire.

"We will work hard to take care of the families involved, and to find out how

such an accident could occur," U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H.

Rumsfeld said in a statement.

'It shouldn't happen'

Meanwhile, New Zealand Prime

Minister Helen Clark pressed for

answers into the death of her

country's soldier.

"We don't, in the normal course of

events, expect to have people come

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