A former Marine Corps intelligence sergeant testified Tuesday that up to 19 Afghan civilians died unnecessarily as his special operations unit responded to a car bomb attack on its convoy.
"I really felt there were a lot of people who died who didn't need to," Nathanial Travers said. "They were just driving their cars."
Travers, who left the Marines last year and now works for the Army Corps of Engineers, was the first witness called by government attorneys at a Court of Inquiry, a rarely used administrative fact-finding proceeding that is investigating the conduct of two officers who led the unit involved in the March incident.
The three-member panel will recommend whether the officers - Maj. Fred C. Galvin, 38, commander of the 120-person special operations company, and Capt. Vincent J. Noble, 29, a platoon leader - should be charged with a crime. That decision will be made by Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland, commander of US Marine Forces Central Command.