First Australian soldier dies in Iraq.

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by dogbone, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. dogbone macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #1
    Now I don't pretend to be a firearms expert or even to know anything at all about guns. But it doesn't seem like normal practice to point a loaded gun at ones own head while cleaning it? Especially a trained sniper.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #2
    Poor thing. One more reason to pull our troops out?
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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  4. angelneo macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Do you have a link?

    The SOP is to remove all ammo and check clear before stripping the weapon but there have been cases where the ammo is stuck in the chamber although it should be easy to spot. However, on rare cases, removing the stuck ammo sometimes could cause chamber explosion. Anyway, it all depends on the weapon, but I have to say, sometimes freak accident do happen.
     
  5. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #5
    Sorry about the missing link, it was a couple of days ago and it was difficult to locate.

    link-a-rama
     
  6. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #6
    the australian army's standard rifle is a license made Steyr AUG

    of course standard procedures normally prevent that the end of the barrel faces towards the face/body

    to extract the barrel so the first thing you have to do is pull back the lock with left hand with right hand on grip into the position where it holds back (this normally ejects the round in the chamber) and then with the left hand you take the front grip in your hand press the release button with the thumb and turn the barrel clockwise and then you can simply straighten your arm to pull out the part of barrel which is inside with the chamber .. so if a round is stuck you would see it there

    actually removing the barrel while holding the rifle differently is difficult because of the release mechanism


    i don't know ... the whole thing is rather fishy too me... my guess is on suicide .. i haven't heard of an injury because of weapon cleaning _ever_ with this rifle in austria (and the only article on an accident was that a shot was fired somewhere on a building during the check if the gun is armed where the private forgot to take of the clip during testing)

    on the other side in the last 15 years there have been 19 suicides during the assistance service on the border
    from my personal experience it gets critical after the first 1 - 1 /2 months mental wise for a lot of soldiers

    edit: of course it could be a different rifle as well
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #7
    An extremely tragic situation, combat deaths are terrible but accidents are worse for those involved.

    The first rule of firearms saftey is to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction - generally at the ground or up in the air. And the first thing you should do when picking up a firearm (after pointing it in a safe direction) is to check the breach for a round so you know whether the weapon is loaded.

    The problem for soldiers is that they always have their weapon with them so sometimes it can be easy to forget whether the gun is safe or not. This is especially true with assault rifles, since they generally don't have any outward difference in appearance when they are cocked and loaded or empty.

    However, no assault rifle I know of was designed to be cleaned from the muzzle end. Generally an assault rifle is field-stripped before cleaning (to allow easy access), so that in the process of stripping it you would see if their was a round in the chamber, even if you hadn't checke in the first place.

    However
    , it is possible that the soldier decided to clean the weapon without dissasembling it or checking the breach. If he did this, and if the weapon was loaded and not on safe, pushing a cleaning rod down the barrel from the muzzle end *could* have pushed a chambered round into the firing pin with enough force to set it off.

    It's small comfort, I suppose, to know that this is at least only the first casualty.

    On a side note, I notice that the Australian Army uses the Steyr AUG assault rifle as their infantry weapon...interesting choice.
     
  8. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #8
    I also think it's suicide, especially as it was immediately denied. Even knowing nothing about these types of weapons and notwithstanding that as you [zensure] said it could be a different rifle, it just seems completely implausible that *anyone* let alone a trained sniper would under *any* circumstances have the barrel of the gun pointing at their head while dismantling/cleaning it, unless they were absolutely 100% sure that it was not loaded and even then it would be strange.
     
  9. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #9
    I didn't see anything about him being a sniper in the article?

    Australia uses the Accuracy International Arctic Warfare frifle for sniping duty, which is, like the USMC M40A3 and US Army M24, a bolt-action rifle. These are inherently safer than a semi-auto or select-fire weapon, so an accidental discharge is even less likely than with an assault rifle.
     
  10. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #10
    the AUG / StG 77 has a security which can be pushed some how left to right and reverse so if it's secured you see on the outter side (the one where the trigger finger is) the small block standing out which has white dot painted on front and back
    if ready to fire the block is standing out on the other side and has red points painted on them
    to secure you press the block with your thumb back through the gun untill it comes out on the other side and to unlock you can with a fluid motion press it in and then pull the trigger all in one movement without using your thumb
    and normally the gun is operated with "finger long" (as seen on the picture) and while having the index finger in this position you can feel if the lock is in position


    currently it's in use several countries even ireland and indonesia etc. afaik
     
  11. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #11
    Many rifles use a similar system, and it works pretty well. It is a well documented problem that soldiers who carry their weapons every day on patrol might start neglecting the safety and always carry the weapon "hot", which leads to accidents

    The AUG is a great design and like the M16 (probably even more so) looked very futuristic when it was first produced. and like you said it's been an export success too. Steyr as an arms manufacturer has always been pretty forward thinking.
     
  12. takao macrumors 68040

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    #12
    well that's of course only leading into trouble ;) on the safety i think i partially depends on the design of the safety system.. the AUG system is rather convenient since you can unlock it as fast as it would take to pull the trigger (as said before) .. don't know .. we could keep the routine (and we were conscripts) during our border patrol service where of course less happens than in iraq ;) ... one would think that highly professional soldiers are being better about security but we saw it ourselves that the only accidentally fired shot were made by a master sergeant (roughly the same rank.. perhaps one lower)
    it's a matter of discipline .. after all being sloppy about safety normally means injuries sooner or later

    at the moment there is a US embargo against Steyr-Mannlicher because they sold some sniper rifles to Iran ;)
     
  13. Peterkro macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Have I got this wrong?The reports I read said he was cleaning a 9mm Browning pistol.Either way suicide looks the most likely reason.
     
  14. kretzy macrumors 604

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    #14
    I suppose it's a possibility, but it has been strongly stated that it was not suicide. Either way, a real tragedy.
     
  15. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    #15
    Before that ban was enacted a few hundred civilian (semi-auto) versions of the AUG made it to the US, and they are prized by collectors. Nice rifle. there are not many bullpup rifles available in the US.

    The I would say that the vast majority of soldiers in modern Western armies are very assiduous about safety. Unfortunately, just one mistake could cost a life.

    I hope it is not suicide.
     
  16. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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    #16
    Not suicide, just a big mistake that cost him his life.

    Very tragic, a sad day for we Aussies watching the US forces suffering terrible losses and hoping the day never comes when we lose one of our own.

    This war is a mess, there should never have been this many deaths.
     
  17. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    #17
    I just stumbled across this passage in Wikipedia, which calls into question the safety system used on the Australian version of the AUG:

    I still don't know what weapon was involved in the accident, but if it was the Aussie version of the AUG this issue is food for thought.

    Still, even if there was a problem with the safety catch, you simply do not clean a loaded weapon...
     
  18. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #18
    After this informed discussion it seems you have reached the same conclusion i reached in the first post.
     
  19. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #19
    Thanks for that ( :rolleyes: ), but it stands to reason that he obviously did not know the weapon was loaded (assuming this was inded an accident, either through negligence or some mischance.

    At any rate you never point a firearm at yourself, ever. When I'm cleaning one of my own rifles I always keep the muzzle pointed away from me or other people, even when the weapon is in pieces. That much care may not always be possible in combat, but you should always practice the maximum amount of safety practical for a given situation.
     
  20. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #20
    At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, it depends on what you mean by 'know'.

    This whole episode sounds incredibly suspicious. This was not a novice recruit. If he didn't *know* then it would follow that he deliberately chose not to know. One cannot accidentally 'not know'.
     
  21. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    #21
    I can't comment further in the absence of information. Obviously you are skeptical - hey, anything's possible. I can't think of a reason that the Australian military would want to cover up a suicide, but I don't have any real info on the incident.

    Accidental discharges are not unknown in the military. It is also possible that the weapon wasn't pointed at his head, there was an accidental discharge and the bullet ricocheted of the ground or a wall and hit him, is is a more common occurance than you might think.
     
  22. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #22
    I'm just looking at it from a purely logical pov

    I suppose this is the only explanation I could accept. It would still have been extremely remiss of him but this is about the only scenario that seems possible that was also accidental. If you say it is more common than it seems then OK I'll bow to your greater knowledge in this regard.

    EDIT: if this were the case I'm sure it would be very obvious from a forensic examination of the injuries, so we should know soon enough.
     
  23. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

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    #23
    Possibly, but if they truly are concealing a suicide I imagine they'll supress actual forensic data as well. A ricochet wound would certainly be obvious.
     
  24. dogbone thread starter macrumors 68020

    dogbone

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    #24
    And there you have it. If the forensic results are not released or at least commented on (should be available under FOI) then we cannot but conclude it was suicide. Perhaps a suicide disguised as an accident to save his family from extra trauma. He looked like a decent enough bloke.
     
  25. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #25
    To be honest I really don't care how it happened, it's a tragedy. Many people deal with death on a daily basis, but for those of us that don't, the impact of death falls heavier.
     

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