WASHINGTON — The officer who shot and killed Private First Class David H. Sharrett II in a friendly-fire incident in Iraq in 2008 should be terminated from the Army and stripped of a combat badge he received for a battle he fled, leaving the mortally wounded Sharrett and four other soldiers behind, military officials have ruled.
The move was revealed on the eve of what would have been Sharrett’s 32d birthday, and it was the result of four years of investigating and agitating by his father, David Sharrett Sr., a retired English teacher in Fairfax County, Va.
At least four previous reviews by the Army resulted in little more than reprimands for the officer, Captain Timothy Hanson, now 33, who was promoted from lieutenant a year after the incident, and who had been allowed to transfer from active duty to a full-time Army Reserve job in his home state of Wisconsin.
Hanson claimed in an Army probe last year that he did not know he had shot Sharrett, even as the investigating general repeatedly showed him overhead video of the two soldiers within feet of each other. Hanson said he needed to leave the battlefield to assist two wounded men and brief his commanders. The wounded men told the general that Hanson did not assist them, and Hanson apparently did not brief commanders or return to his unit, which remained on its mission for two additional days.
Hanson said earlier this year that he did not want to discuss the incident, but that he was sorry and wanted to apologize to the Sharrett family. He did not respond to requests for comment in recent days.
The Army sent an e-mail to Sharrett Sr. last week saying Army Secretary John McHugh had referred the awarding of Hanson’s Combat Infantryman Badge to the Army’s Human Resources Command for review. The e-mail reported that the command’s Army Awards Board had recommended revoking Hanson’s badge and that McHugh had approved that move.
Army officials declined to give details on Hanson’s separation proceedings, though a dishonorable discharge would require a court-martial. They also would not discuss why the move is underway more than four years after the killing.