HAMPTON, Va. - An Air Force enlisted man avoided a possible life sentence by pleading guilty yesterday to involuntary manslaughter for shooting a fellow airman while in their living quarters in Iraq.

Carl J. Ware Jr., 22, of Glassboro, N.J., had been in Iraq for a month when Kyle J. Dalton shot him in the chest on July 1, 2006.

Dalton told the judge at his Langley Air Force Base court-martial that he hadn't thought his 9 mm pistol was loaded when he pointed it at Ware, his bunkmate, and pulled the trigger.Dalton faces a maximum of 12 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge. The Air Force refused to release Dalton's age and hometown, citing privacy regulations. *

- Associated Press