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Salvage crews prepare to move a C-130 U.S. Military transport aircraft which crash landed at a Kuwait Airport on December 10. An American captain and two airmen were killed in the incident while 17 others were injured. The plane was carrying almost 100 military personnel. (Reuters)
Pilot Faces Article 32 Hearing

Air Force Captain Charged In Connection With Fatal Crash of C-130E in Kuwait

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (July 24, 2000) -- The special court-martial convening authority has determined an investigating officer should be appointed and an Article 32 hearing under the Uniform Code of Military Justice should be held to investigate the charges preferred against Capt. Darron A. Haughn on July 17.

Brig. Gen. Paul J. Fletcher, 314th Airlift Wing commander, decided July 24 that the charges of dereliction of duty and negligent homicide preferred against Haughn for his role in December's fatal C-130E aircraft accident at Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, warranted an investigation under Article 32. Fletcher appointed Lt. Col. Gregory E. Pavlik, U. S. Air Force Trial Judiciary Central Circuit, as the investigating officer.

"An Article 32 hearing is similar to the civilian preliminary hearing and grand jury process," said Capt. Jeff Glenn, Air Mobility Command spokesman. "The purpose of the hearing is to inquire into the truth of the matters set forth in the charges, consider the form of the charges, and make recommendations as to the disposition of the case in the interest of justice and discipline.

"Unlike civilian grand jury proceedings though, an Article 32 hearing affords Capt. Haughn an opportunity to see the evidence against him, cross-examine witnesses, and present any witnesses or evidence he deems important for consideration," Glenn said. "Throughout the proceedings, Capt. Haughn has the right to be present and represented by counsel."

A specific date for the Article 32 hearing, which will be held at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., has not been set. The hearing date will be based upon consultations with Haughn's defense counsel, Pavlik and government representatives.

At the conclusion of the judicial investigation, Pavlik, as the investigating officer, will recommend a course of action to Fletcher. After considering the report and recommendations, Fletcher will make a decision about the charges against Haughn: either dismiss them, address them through some action short of court-martial, send them to a special court-martial, or forward them to Maj. Gen. John D. Hopper, the 21st Air Force commander, for general court martial consideration. Hopper is the general court martial convening authority for the case.

Under the UCMJ, Haughn is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Pilot Haughn was in command of the C-130E when it crashed on Dec. 10, 1999, killing three passengers. The plane, assigned to the 61st Airlift Squadron, was transporting 86 military passengers from Kuwait International Airport to Al Jaber Air Base southwest of Kuwait City. In March, an Air Force investigation board concluded that pilot and crew error were responsible for the crash.

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