Bodies of two Green Berets arrive in Germany
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (CNN) -- The bodies of two of three U.S. Green Berets killed in a friendly fire incident near Kandahar arrived in Germany late Thursday, along with the body of a Navy sailor who died in an accident aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.
An honor guard stood at attention and saluted as the three flag-draped coffins were removed from a U.S. Air Force C-141 transport plane, placed into waiting vehicles and taken to a mortuary at Ramstein Air Force Base.
The bodies of Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Henry Petithory, 32, of Massachusetts, and Staff Sgt. Brian Cody Prosser, 28, of California, were flown to the air base. The body of Master Sgt. Jefferson Donald Davis, 39, of Tennessee, is expected to arrive later. All three belonged to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The three soldiers and six Afghan opposition fighters were killed Wednesday when a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb from a U.S. B-52 missed its target north of Kandahar. At least 20 other U.S. soldiers and 18 anti-Taliban Afghan troops were wounded.
The Pentagon said the bomb hit within 100 meters (330 feet) of the troops at 10 a.m. local time (12:30 a.m. ET).
The body of Electrician's Mate Fireman Apprentice Michael J. Jakes Jr., 20, of Brooklyn, New York, also was flown to the air base. Jakes died Tuesday after falling from his bunk bed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk on November 29. Officials said they are still investigating his death.
"Our condolences go to their families and their loved ones," said U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Thursday. "These men were engaged in a noble and an important cause and their families have every right to be proud, as we all are, of their commitment and their sacrifice."
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, also expressed sympathy to the families of the Afghans who were killed and wounded.
Including Wednesday's incident, four Americans have now been killed in combat in Afghanistan and four others have died in accidents.
Several others have been wounded, including five U.S. soldiers seriously when a similar bomb went astray while warplanes were helping put down a Taliban prisoner uprising near Mazar-e Sharif.
Rumsfeld said the United States has "the most accurate weapons on the face of the Earth" but that they are not perfect.
"A very smart weapon, a good weapon, might work 85 to 90 percent of the time," Rumsfeld said Wednesday on CNN's "Larry King Live."
"The rest of the time it doesn't work right. Now that's a very good percentage. But it means that there is one out of 10 that is not going to do what it was intended to do."
In Frazier Park, California, Prosser's father, also named Brian, said he was "very proud" of his son and "all of the guys over there."
"All of our family is up to the task of … doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done," said Prosser, noting that his son received a Bronze Star.
"Sometimes you pay the price. None of us are eager to do it, but none of us are afraid either."
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Bomb kills 3 U.S. soldiers, 5 Afghan fighters
December 5, 2001
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