The investigation continues into the circumstances leading to the deaths of the four BDF soldiers on Thursday, February 27. While a preliminary report is due Thursday, March 5, Admiral Borland says one of the key questions being asked is who gave the men the order to fly.
Reporter: Who gave the order?
Admiral John Borland, Chief of Defense Staff: “That is yet to be ascertained and that is one of the questions that are in the forefront of the interviews to be conducted. By the time we give that preliminary report in three days time we should have that information available and ready to present. It’s very unfortunate, one of the objectives of this investigation is to find out who is responsible, what protocols were breached, what procedures were breached, why did this happen, how did we leave those men out there for twenty four hours. I agree with what the Major wives have said that is what it seems like. We have to ask the hard questions, we have to do an in depth investigation and find out what really happened and hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions. It wasn’t just systemic failures, it wasn’t just human error, it was a combination of a number of factors but like I said initially if anything points to negligence or dereliction of duty here people will be held accountable. You know our pilots are trained to push the envelope, to fly to the limit of their resources being their physical capabilities, their equipment’s capabilities but no mission supersedes the value of the lives of the pilot and the crew and our pilots are trained to understand this. While it’s always mission first, duty to country, service first but if it endangers your lives where you know it will get to the point of it becoming dangerous to become a fatality then you have to use your discretion as a commander, a leader based on your training, you background and your experience to make that call and say ‘Sir, respectfully I cannot comply with this order. I cannot complete this mission because it is too risky and it will result in the loss of my men and my equipment.’
While several agencies including the opposition and the unions are asking for an independent investigation, Admiral Borland says he is confident that with the cooperation from other agencies, they will be thorough and transparent.
Admiral John Borland, Chief of Defense Staff: “I’m a professional. I have an extensive extensive background as you know as a military man, as a leader, as a commander. My civilian leadership looks to me in times like these and this is where I prove myself. So while I am responsible to coordinate all these investigations I am not conducting the interviews, I am directing and leading, I am supporting, I share my experience, I share my knowledge but I depend on the lead investigators that are running these parallel investigations. I depend on the expertise from the United States Army- I’m not sure if it’s the army they’re coming from maybe it’s from the Air Force- from our friends from BATSUB from the British Forces, from the Mexicans either the army or the air force or the navy, from the Bell support crew who are the real experts, my job is to make sure that they do their jobs and do it professionally and get the best end product at the end of the day that we can present our facts, present our findings and make recommendations not only for the BDF or to the Ministry but to the people of this nation, the people who we work for.”
In the last few days since the news surfaced that the BDF chopper went down, multiple reports have been coming out of Price Barracks from soldiers regarding what happened to the men. There are several conspiracy theories that Admiral Borland says he is disappointed about especially considering there is a breach of loyalty and confidentiality.
Admiral John Borland, Chief of Defense Staff: “Like you I find it quite shocking, I find it quite disappointing, I find it quite deplorable that there would be such a lack of loyalty to the organization to their commander. Military men and military officers aren’t trained to be like that. If they have issues with their commander then they need to work those issues out at various levels. There are different levels of authority and command in the BDF and then there are authorities above the commander’s level in the BDF where they can take these issues to but to be out there disrespecting their commander that is uncalled for, that is unprofessional that is unnecessary. The thing I used to tell my people is that whatever you do to your commander one day when you’re in the seat the same thing will be done to you so be careful of the seeds you sow. I don’t think it’s an occasion where people should take the opportunity to undermine him, to demean his position, to disrespect him, to be disloyal. I completely discourage that and if it is creating instability and if it is creating uncertainty then it is the responsibility of the commander and of the civilian leadership including myself to step in and do something about it in order to restore a sense of calm, a sense of respect, a sense of loyalty not only to the commander, not only to the organization but to this country and to the people of this nation.”
As we noted, a preliminary report is due on Thursday, March 5, 2020.