Canadian Brigadier General Has Negligent Discharge

Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard, who commands the Canadian and American troops who make up Task Force Kandahar, approached the media on Saturday, citing a need for openness, to say that his C8 carbine had fired unexpectedly at Kandahar air base on March 25th.

Full Story – HERE

I admire his coming forward and ordering an investigation on himself.  I’d assume that most, with such a high rank may have tried their hardest just to sweep it under the rug.  I guess the fact that he fired the rifle inside an American helicopter and almost hit a Canadian official probably made it a bit more of a big deal.

As you see in the title of the post I put “negligent” discharge, as opposed to it being a possible “accidental” discharge according to the article.  By my definition (and the definition of most) an accidental discharge is a mechanical failure of the weapon system, whereas a negligent discharge is a failure of the operator. Since the Brigadier-General was holding the rifle when it fired, I’d be willing to put my money on the fact that he had the safety off, and his booger hook on the bang switch.

I found the last paragraph in the article also interesting:

In the past 18 months, more than 600 Canadian Forces soldiers have been convicted of negligently discharging their weapons. Most of those incidents involve junior soldiers or recruits and many of them an instance of pulling the trigger prematurely during firing range practice.

Convicted?  So soldiers and recruits get convicted of a negligent discharge even if they are practicing on a the shooting range and the shot goes down range?  Although I don’t like the idea of a shot going ANYWHERE that is unintentional, I think it’s kind of harsh to tarnish the permanent record of a soldier that is still learning in cases where no one got hurt, and there was absolutely no chance of someone being hurt.  I wonder how a ND during training will affect their military career?  Seeing as retention is key in military organizations, this seems like a good way to lose soldiers.

600 ND’s in a year and a half seems like quite a lot, regardless of where they are occurring.

More info on the C8 carbine at Colt Canada – HERE

8 COMMENTS

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DC April 20, 2010 at 01:36 am

I’ve seen two NDs in my eight years in the national guard, and heard of two more cases while I was deployed. The two I saw were by idiots who had apparently been sleeping through the weapons classes. Once in basic training, we were waiting in the company area to turn in our rifles. When we went to show clear, a guy down the line dropped the hammer on a blank. The second time was maybe two years ago during A.T.. A guy with an M9 went over to the clearing barrel, racked the slide, dropped the hammer and BANG! Apparently he had no concept of how a magazine works and didn’t bother to remove it.

The first I heard of overseas was that a very high ranking female soldier had fired her M4 no less than four times into a clearing barrel because she just kept racking the bolt and not removing the magazine. The second was that a Lithuanian special forces soldier had refused to clear his Glock at our gate and jammed it back into his holster in a fit of self-righteous anger, snagging the trigger and launching a 9x19mm into his upper right buttock. I was home on leave when that one happened.

I’ve never seen anyone punished more severely than an Article 15 over an ND. Mostly it gets taken care of at the company level and they do some extra duty and weapons training and get made fun of forever. Nothing too serious.

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Admin (Mike) April 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Pretty crazy stories, glad no one got hurt, except for the 9mm in the ass cheek, but it sounds like he was asking for it. Interesting info about the Article 15.

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Z April 20, 2010 at 08:31 am

As stated above, an Article 15 is pretty common when it comes to a negligent discharge for US Forces. We had several throughout our time in Afghanistan and Kuwait but uusally they took place in a clearing barrel.

The things I’ve never understood are 1, why a discharge in a clearing barrel often earns you the A.15 when that’s the intent of the barrel, and 2, why our clearing procedures involve a trigger squeeze at all. Seems to me the more sensible way to go about it would be to charge the weapon at least three times and then have your battle buddy inspect the chamber. Seems there’s a good chance you’d notice three brass rounds come rollin out.

However, in the example above, very ballsy of the BG. I have a lot of respect for generals that actually listen to their own policies.

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Admin (Mike) April 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I agree, there definitely are easy ways to decrease the chances of a round being in the chamber on a trigger pull.

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K April 21, 2010 at 08:23 am

Just wanted to inform that he didn’t fire it inside a helicopter, that was a rumor. He was cleaning his rifle at the time apparently.

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Admin (Mike) April 21, 2010 at 02:24 pm

It wouldn’t surprise me. That’s a classic move by the press, to blow it out of proportion. A negligent discharge when cleaning isn’t half as interesting.

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K in Kandahar June 3, 2010 at 02:58 am

OK guys, I’m with a US brigade in/around Kandahar so let me give you the real deal. Menard is no stand up guy, he screwed up very publicly and had no choice but to man up. He had the ND while chambering a round as he approached a helicopter in the company of the Canadian chief of staff (a 4 star). He fired not one, but two rounds! Not much chance to cover that up, it was witnessed by many people. Second, the Canadians don’t even know how to safely handle their individual weapons. They drop the hammer at the clearing barrel and leave the weapon on “semi” as they go about their daily duties inside the wire. I don’t know about you but that violates Rule #1: The gun is always loaded. So every time I see a Canadian soldier with his weapon on “SEMI” I wonder if his weapon is rendered safe. They’ve had 600 (that’s SIX HUNDRED) courts-martial in 18 months for this offense…you think they would get a clue and change their procedures. We (US) don’t use clearing barrels. We cycle the action to extract the live round, inspect the chamber (NCOs check their troops), keep the weapon on safe…all the time unless engaging (finger off the trigger until sights are on target sound familiar?…see Rule # 3). Out of 4,000 Americans in our Brigade (nearly twice as many as there are Canadians in the whole country) we’ve had less than 50 NDs all year. Training, discipline, NCOs, common sense. It’s that simple. How can you have confidence in any army that doesn’t even understand the basics of firearms safety?

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Admin (Mike) June 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the info. Sounds like a dangerous place to be even inside the wire! I wonder if the Canadians are not being trained properly, or if its an issue of them thinking they know better. 600 incidents in 18 months is ridiculous.

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