The investigating officer for a hearing into last year’s fatal Coast Guard helicopter crash off the coast of Washington State says he’ll consider an additional charge of dereliction of duty against the crash’s sole survivor, Lieutenant Lance Leone.
Captain Andrew Norris is leading the Article 32 hearing, taking place this week in a courtroom at the Juneau Federal Building.
Norris was already investigating Leone for one count of dereliction for failing to navigate the helicopter to avoid hazards. Leone is also charged with destruction of government property, and negligently causing the deaths of two of his crewmates.
The new dereliction charge is for not following proper Crew Resource Management procedures. It follows testimony yesterday (Thursday) from Leone’s commanding officer, Air Station Sitka Commander Doug Cameron, who suggested Leone may have been reluctant to question the helicopter’s pilot-in-command, Lieutenant Sean Krueger. Cameron speculated that Leone deferred to Krueger, because of rank and experience.
Krueger died in the crash, but Leone is only being charged in the deaths of Aviation Maintenance Technicians Adam Hoke and Brett Banks.
The Article 32 hearing – similar to a grand jury proceeding in civilian court – began on Wednesday and is expected to wrap up today (Friday).
Norris will then make a recommendation to Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo, commander of the 17th Coast Guard District in Alaska. Ostebo will decide whether to drop the charges, pursue discipline internally, or through a court martial.
- Lawmakers who represent areas outside Juneau receive $295 for each day of the special session. Juneau lawmakers receive $221.25 per day.
- Sixteen veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard will be honored at a discharge ceremony today. Four of them are from Western Alaska.
- The historic houses in Juneau and Douglas were predominately built by miners and fishermen long before today's zoning was put into place. That's prevented homeowners from restoring or rebuilding homes in these neighborhoods without running into conflict with the city's zoning laws -- a temporary fix may be on the way.
- Alaska U.S. Rep. Don Young wants to know why Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan. He has co-sponsored a bill that would end funding for the war in a year, unless the president and Congress affirm the need for it.