CENTCOM releases Wanat investigation

Release No: UNRELEASED June 23, 2010 PRINT | E-MAIL

MAC DILL AFB,  Fla. (June 23, 2010) –  The U.S. Central Command investigation into the combat action that occurred at Wanat,  Afghanistan, on July 13, 2008 has been released and posted online at CENTCOM’s Freedom of Information Act Reading Room. To view those documents, click here.

Upon recommendation by Department of Defense Inspector General and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed CENTCOM to reinvestigate the combat action that occurred at Wanat.  The investigating officer was Lt. Gen. Richard Natonski and the deputy investigating officer was Maj. Gen. David Perkins.

The investigation team conducted interviews and collected evidence during several thousands of investigative hours across three months at Fort Leavenworth, Kans.;  Vicenza, Italy; Fort Benning, Ga.; and Norfolk, Va.  Forty-eight witnesses from all levels of command were interviewed under oath.  The investigation team collected and reviewed thousands of pages of data, to include doctrinal publications; operational reports and summaries;  maps; charts; photographs; intelligence summaries; briefings; notes;  logs; and the report of the initial investigation directed by the Combined Joint Task Force 101 Commander.

The opinions and conclusions of the investigation report include:

§       No one single person, action, or decision caused this event to occur; it was the result of a confluence of factors and a series of events.

§       There was no intentional wrongdoing on the part of anyone in the chain of command.

§       Dereliction resulted from inaction prior to the battle.  Dereliction of duty was found at the Company, Battalion and Brigade Commander levels.

§       A lack of detailed planning and supervision at battalion level and below contributed to the outcome of events at Wanat.

§       The Soldiers at Wanat fought courageously and in the highest traditions of the nation and the U.S. Army.  Non-commissioned officer (NCO) leadership was particularly outstanding.

The investigation was completed in January and forwarded to the Department of the Army as a matter under its cognizance, as units involved had redeployed and were no longer under CENTCOM’s command authority.

Copies of the investigation were also forwarded to U.S. Forces - Afghanistan, ISAF and U.S.  Joint Forces Command for their use in development of lessons learned and sharing of those lessons.

“This was a thorough investigation done with painstaking attention to detail over three months, reviewing thousands of pages of documents and reams of information,” said Rear Admiral Hal Pittman, a CENTCOM spokesman.  “We stand by the investigation’s findings of fact, opinions and recommendations, and we support the process by which it was adjudicated.”