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Two U.S. Troops Reportedly Killed By Drone-Fired Missile

Apr 12, 2011

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The Pentagon says it is looking into reports from NBC News, the Los Angeles Times and some other news outlets that two American troops — "a U.S. Marine reservist and a Navy corpsman," according to NBC — were killed in Afghanistan last week by "friendly fire" from an American drone flying overhead.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski says "it's believed that this is the first time that U.S. service members have been killed by a Predator in a friendly fire incident."

According to the Times:

"Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy D. Smith of Arlington, Texas, and Seaman Benjamin D. Rast of Niles, Mich., were hit as they moved on foot in a group trying to reach other Marines who had been pinned down by insurgent gunfire.

"One Pentagon official said the Marines called in the airstrike when they saw images on the video feed of unknown men heading toward them. It wasn't immediately clear why the rescue team headed their way was not clearly identified."

The Associated Press reports that "two senior Pentagon officials said Tuesday the investigation is looking at the deaths of a Marine and a Navy medic in southern Afghanistan. The two were apparently mistaken for insurgents. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is pending."

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