Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Hayles was commander of an Apache helicopter which fired two Hellfire missiles at friendly vehicles killing two US soldiers and wounding six other. This friendly fire incident took place on February 17, 1991 at about 1am Persian Gulf time during operation Desert Storm. Below is full video of the incident along with commentaries (9 minutes long, but an interesting watch).
On that February night of 1991, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Hayles and his pilot Chief Warrant Officer Larry LeBlanc started up an Apache helicopter to patrol the north of Saudi-Iraqi border. US ground forces operating in the area reported possible enemy sightings – suspected Iraqi armored vehicles moving towards the 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry (1-4 CAV), 4th Brigade. Commanders of the ground forces asked for assistance from the 1st Battalion of the 1st Aviation Regiment Apaches to examine the area and if enemy presence is found, to engage them from the sky. This would have been the battalion’s first no-drill combat mission in the Desert Storm conflict. Because an actual sand storm was imminent and visibility was low, Ralph Hayles decided to command the Apache himself.
Three Apache helicopters responded to the call and found two military vehicles in the area. The Apache commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Hayles fired two Hellfire missiles at suspected vehicles. Shortly thereafter the Apaches received cease fire requests as there were friendlies in the area. The Hellfire missiles were already fired and both vehicles – Bradley Fighting Vehicle and an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier – destroyed killing two US soldiers inside.
Full length video of the friendly fire incident commanded by Ralph Hayles is below: