The Marine William Hunt, referred me to CNN.com’s casualty count for March 23, 2003. It lists 19 Marines killed in or near Nasiriyah on that day, including 15 from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment. William Hunt gave interviews to several reporters, insisting that although the deaths were attributed to enemy fire, they were actually the result of friendly fire. A NPR report, based on studies by military historians, suggests that they may have been strafed with depleted uranium rounds by a U.S. A-10 warplane.
A March 30, 2004 report from the Lakeland, Florida Ledger, with material from AP and The Los Angeles Times, lends credence to Hunt’s claims:
HEADLINE: MOM DOUBTS STORY OF SON’S DEATH; MARINE KILLED IN IRAQ
BYLINE: BILL RUFTY The Ledger
LAKELAND — The mother of a Marine killed last year in the worst “friendly fire” incident of the Iraq war said Monday she does not feel she has gotten the entire story about her son’s death.
Cpl. Nolen Hutchings, formerly of Lakeland, was one of 18 Marines killed on March 23, 2003, the fourth day of the war, near the city of Nasiriyah in southern Iraq, amid a chaotic battle with Iraqi forces.
At least eight of the Marines were killed when a Marine air controller mistakenly cleared Air Force attack planes to shoot at U.S. positions, officials said Monday.
Cpl. Hutchings, 20, lived here in the mid-1990s and attended Crystal Lake Middle School in Lakeland. His parents are Carolyn and Larry Hutchings, who once lived in Mulberry and now reside in Boiling Springs, S.C.
“I really don’t know if I am satisfied that they told us everything,” Carolyn Hutchings said….
Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Monday said the investigators could not determine with complete certainty how many of the 18 Marines were killed by gunfire and missiles launched by the Air Force A-10 aircraft. They said the number was as high as 10. The others were killed by enemy fire; some were hit by friendly as well as enemy fire.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Larry Hutchings said …. he was told that film from the gun cameras aboard the A-10 plane no longer existed because it had accidentally been recorded over.
“I want to know about the pilots in the A-10,” Carolyn Hutchings said in an interview with The Ledger. “And I want to know what happened to the tapes, why they taped over them and why they didn’t get into trouble for that,” she said. “You get the distinct feeling that they are lying.”