Army Reports Possible Friendly-Fire Deaths of 2 Soldiers

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Two soldiers killed in Iraq in February may have died as a result of friendly fire, Army officials said Wednesday.

The Army said it is investigating the deaths of Pvt. Matthew Zeimer, 18, of Glendive, Mont., and Spc. Alan E. McPeek, 20, of Tucson, Ariz., who were killed in Ramadi, in western Iraq on Feb. 2. The families of the two soldiers were initially told they were killed by enemy fire.

According to Army Col. Daniel Baggio, unit commanders in Iraq did not initially suspect they were killed by U.S. forces, but an investigation by the unit has found that may be a possibility.

A supplemental report filed Feb. 28 suggested that the initial reports might be wrong but that an investigation was still under way, he said. It took another month before the families of the two soldiers were told, on March 31, that friendly fire was suspected.

And according to a release from the Army, an official "investigation into this incident currently is under review by military commanders in Iraq. Once the report is approved, the Army will offer both families personal presentations on the contents of the investigation."

Wednesday's disclosure comes on the heels of the announcement last week that nine high-ranking Army officers, including four generals, made critical errors in reporting the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. The military found no criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of the former NFL player.

Three other soldiers were wounded in the incident that killed Zeimer and McPeek. There has been no indication whether they were also hit by friendly forces.