Piper, Laura Ashley, 1st Lt

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1994-1994, 14NX, CTF-Provide Comfort
Service Years
1992 - 1994
Foreign Language(s)
Officer Collar Insignia
First Lieutenant

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Sgt D.L. Kimbrow (Skip) to remember Piper, Laura Ashley, 1st Lt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Apr 14, 1994
Hostile, Died
Not Specified
Location of Interment
US Air Force Academy Cemetery - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Plot: Section 6, Row F, Grave 13

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Association of Graduates USAFAGWOT Fallen
  1992, Association of Graduates USAFA
  1994, GWOT Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Intelligence  (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Department of Defense (DOD)Air Force Intelligence CommandUS Air Force
  1992-1993, 14NX, Department of the Air Force, Pentagon
  1993-1994, 14NX, Air Force Intelligence Command
  1994-1994, 14NX, CTF-Provide Comfort
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1991-1991 Operation Provide Comfort (Iraq)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Air Force AcademyUniversity of Texas at San Antonio
  1987-1992, United States Air Force Academy
  1989-1990, University of Texas at San Antonio
 My Aircraft/Missiles
MH-60 Pave Hawk  
  1994-1994, MH-60 Pave Hawk
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
This was one of those tragic "friendly fire" events that too often occur during the "fog of war" as it's called. Those responsible in this incident have to live with what they did and failed to do as professionals in the loss of these 26 souls.

1st Lt. Piper was a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, class of 1992. She was fluent in German and Russian, ran track and played for the rugby team at the Academy. She was selected to attend flight school in 1995, already being flight qualified.

After intelligence training at Goodfellow AFB, she was stationed at Ramstein AFB, Germany. From there, she was given a TDY assignment to Turkey for duty in Northern Iraq with "Operation Provide Comfort". This mission was aimed at supporting Kurdish refugees in the region.

Unfortunately, she, along with 25 passengers and crew, were killed by "friendly fire" while flying on U.S. Army Blackhawk U-60 helicopters.  The Army helicopters were attacked and shot down by two U.S. Air Force F-15s (of Incirlik AB) in the "no-fly zone" of Northern Iraq.  Apparently, misidentifying the American helicopters as Russian made "Hinds", the pilots of the F-15s attacked and launched their missiles. (See details at websites listed.)

Laura was the first female Air Force Academy graduate to be killed in combat and awarded the Purple Heart.

Note: Also, see profile on the Army TWS for  Captain Patrick M. McKenna, (Eagle-1 Pilot Command) of the Blackhawk helicopter shot down in this incident..

Black Hawk shootdown victims

US Military:
SSG Paul Barclay (SF Commo NCO)
SPC Cornelius A. Bass (Eagle-1 Door Gunner)
SPC Jeffrey C. Colbert (Eagle-1 Crew Chief)
SPC Mark A. Ellner (Eagle-2 Door Gunner)
CW2 John W. Garrett, Jr. (Eagle-1 Pilot)
CW2 Michael A. Hall (Eagle-2 Pilot Command)
SFC Benjamin T. Hodge (Linguist)
CPT Patrick M. McKenna (Eagle-1 Pilot Command)
WO1 Erik S. Mounsey (Eagle-2 Pilot)
COL Richard A. Mulhern (Incoming Co-Commander)
1LT Laurie A. Piper (USAF, Intel Officer)
SGT Michael S. Robinson (Eagle-2 Crew Chief)
SSG Ricky L. Robinson (SF Medic)
Ms. Barbara L. Schell (State Dept. Political Advisor)
COL Jerald L. Thompson (Outgoing Co-Commander)

British Military:
MAJ Harry Shapland (Security/Intel Duty Officer)
LTC Jonathan C. Swann (Senior UK Officer)

French Military:
LTC Guy Demetz (Senior French Officer)

Turkish Army:
LT Ceyhun Civas (Laison Officer)
LT Barlas Gultepe (Liason Officer)

Kurdish Partisans:
Abdulsatur Arab
Ghandi Hussein
Bader Mikho Ahmad
Mohammed Salid Said (Linguist)

Laura was interred in the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, Plot: Section 6, Row F, Grave 13.

http://memwall.usafalibrary.com/files%5CPIPERLAURAA_BIO.PDF http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/blackhawk.html

http://www.findagrave.com/  (gravesite photo)
http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/21/us/blunder-over-iraq-hopes-that-died.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Black_Hawk_shootdown_incident http://www.blackfive.net/main/2009/04/remembering-eagle-flight-annual-memorial-on-blackfive.html
http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jthompso.htm  (info)

Aircraft Accident Investigation Board Report U.S. Army UH-60 Helicopters 87-26000 and 88-26060, vol. 18, TABS W through Z

After the findings were made, non-military victims were compensated.  Due to the Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135 (1950), no compensation was made to service personnel, in spite of the findings!  However, the U.S. Congress passed legislation authorizing compensation to the families of U.S. personnel.

Joan Piper,  A Chain of Events: The Government Cover-Up of the Black Hawk Incident and the Friendly-Fire Death of Lieutenant Laura Piper, Brassey's, Virginia, 2000.   (account by her mother)

OPERATION PROVIDE COMFORT: Review of U.S. Air Force Investigation of Black Hawk Fratricide Incident, General Accounting Office, Washington, D.C., 1997

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