Here is what military inquiry found in Sgt. La David Johnson's death
DOD: Johnson 'gave their last full measure of devotion to our country'
MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – A Department of Defense investigation revealed some of what went wrong during the Special Forces mission that left Miami's Sgt. La David Johnson and three other soldiers dead after an ambush in Niger, near the village of Tongo Tongo.
The other soldiers who died were Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright. They were traveling in an unarmored sports utility vehicle without a mounted machine gun.
The Oct. 4 ambush by militants aligned with the Islamic State led to the largest reported loss of U.S. soldiers serving in Africa since "Black Hawk Down" in Somalia in 1993.
Here is what the DOD released Thursday in their eight-page executive summary:
- The 11-member Green Beret unit, known as Operational Detachment-Alpha Team 3212, did not undergo training as a unit before deployment because of "personnel turnover."
- The team, which included 30 Nigerians, did not rehearse the mission before leaving the base in Ouallam, Niger, for a mission near the town of Tiloa.
- There were "individual, organizational and institutional" mistakes. The lieutenant colonel ordered Team 3212 "to execute the mission" even though the weather was preventing the assault force from flying in the area.
- Two junior officers, including Team 3212's Capt. Michael Perozeni, were accused of "mischaracterizing" the mission ias a daylong trip to meet with tribal elders when they were actually involved in a counter-terrorism mission. The mission would have required orders from senior officers who would have ordered reconnaissance and backup. The document "contributed to a general lack of situational awareness and command oversight at every echelon."
- The team was not properly equipped to search for Doundoun Cheffou, a local Islamic State "key member," without backup or air support. Cheffou had left by the time Team 3212 arrived and the eight-vehicle convoy stopped in Tongo Tongo for water.
- It took four hours to evacuate the two U.S. soldiers and three Nigerian partners wounded. Nigerian and French units "assisted without hesitation" and "very likely saved" their lives when two French Mirage jets scared the dozens of extremists.
- Sgt. La David Johnson's "hands were not bound and he was not executed but was killed in action while actively engaging the enemy." Johnson was killed by small arms file and when he died he "was laying on his back with his arms to his sides."
- The four soldiers killed "were never captured alive by the enemy." They "gave their last full measure of devotion to our country and died with honor while actively engaging the enemy."
THE ANIMATION: Sgt. La David Johnson was the driver of U.S. vehicle 3
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