Friday, July 31, 2009

Soldier a weapons instructor after shooting: victim's uncle

The uncle of Cpl. Kevin Megeney, killed by his tentmate in Afghanistan in 2007, said Friday that the military should explain why the soldier who shot him was subsequently used as a weapons instructor.

George Megeney said he was told that before Cpl. Matthew Wilcox's military trial he was employed as a junior weapons instructor on a summer training course.

Wilcox, 24, was convicted on Thursday of criminal negligence causing death and neglect of duty for firing his Browning 9-mm at Kevin Megeney's chest in their tent at Kandahar Airfield on March 6, 2007. Megeney died in a trauma unit 30 minutes after he was shot.

"Cpl. Wilcox was charged for negligent use of a firearm and his commanders had him out there instructing other reservists on safety issues dealing with firearms, which is ludicrous," Megeney's uncle said in a telephone interview Friday from Stellarton, N.S.

The former soldier and police officer, who often mentored his 25-year-old nephew during his eight years as a reservist, said he wasn't aware that the military was breaking any rules in what it did, but added that it "doesn't make sense" as far as he's concerned.

"They had this guy [Wilcox] out there instructing other young reservists, who may or may not end up in Afghanistan, on safety issues dealing with the safe use of firearms," Megeney said. "I mean think about it, it's ridiculous."

"I think that his commanders should be called to task for it," he said. "They should explain their actions, why they would do such a thing."

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