Para ver este documento
en español, oprima aquí.
THE MIAMI HERALD
Civilian Fatality Prompts Study on Future of Bombing
Range in Puerto Rico
by Carol Rosenberg
June 12, 1999
Copyright © 1999 THE MIAMI HERALD
Responding to Puerto Rican ire over a fatal U.S. training accident,
the Navy has indefinitely halted live fire on the island of Vieques
-- and President Clinton has ordered a study that will question
whether the Navy needs its prime bombing range in the Atlantic,
the Pentagon said Friday.
David Sanes, 35, a Vieques native who was working as a civilian
security guard, was killed April 19 when a U.S. jet mistakenly
bombed a watchtower where he worked. Three other people were wounded
in the blast.
In response, Clinton instructed Defense Secretary William Cohen
to name a four-member panel to examine the mishap.
The idea was proposed by Puerto Rican Gov. Pedro Rossello,
who wanted an independent investigation of the mishap -- and outside
scrutiny on whether the range should be closed. Rossello will
visit the Pentagon on Monday, Navy sources said.
Panel members are:
- Chairman Frank Rush, acting assistant secretary of defense
for force management.
- Lee Hamilton, former Democratic congressman from Indiana
and former chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
- Richard Neal, a retired Marine general who was the corps'
former assistant commandant.
- Diego Hernandez, a retired vice admiral who was commander
of the Navy's Third Fleet.
Meanwhile, Navy Secretary Richard Danzig ordered a study and
assessment of the Vieques operation, formally called the Atlantic
Fleet Weapons Training Facility.
"The review will address whether operations at Vieques
should continue and if alternative sites for these operations
exist,'' according to a Pentagon announcement.
If the study finds that the Navy still needs the operation,
it said, it will examine ``possible modifications to operations
to lessen the impact on the people of Vieques, including constraining
or eliminating live fire.''
Danzig has ordered U.S. military personnel to cease using live
fire and exploding live ordnance until the study is complete.
The announcement said the study could be done as soon as July,
to be forwarded to the Rush panel along with Danzig's comments.
Danzig described the study Friday as trying to balance U.S.
national security needs and the concerns of the people of Puerto
The Pentagon announcement characterized Sanes' death as a ``tragic
accident'' and said it was the only fatality at the Vieques range
since training began there in the 1940s.
The Navy's study will be led by Vice Adm. William Fallon, the
Navy's Second Fleet commander, and Lt. Gen. Peter Pace, commander
of U.S. Marine forces in the Atlantic.