Niger ambush resulted from multiple failures, Pentagon says

Niger ambush resulted from multiple failures, Pentagon says

Niger ambush resulted from multiple failures, Pentagon says

The October ambush, carried out by a local Islamic State affiliate, has brought increased scrutiny of the US counterterrorism mission in the West African country, and the report will likely raise more questions about U.S military operations on the continent. The team had not trained for this mission and did not notify higher-level commanders that it would be undertaking it.

Defense officials said they will lay out Thursday how the mission unfolded and led to the gruesome ambush, and then explain what is being done to correct the problems brought to light by the incident.

The body of La David Johnson was found at a second site, near a tree, hundreds of meters away, where he was killed after he and two Nigerien soldiers had been separated from the rest of the group.

On Oct. 3, the special forces team, along with partner Nigerien forces, set out on a mission to target a key Islamic State militant near the village of Tiloa, Niger. La David Johnson at his burial service in the Memorial Gardens East cemetery in Hollywood, Florida, Oct. 21, 2017. It said the soldiers "did not conduct pre-mission rehearsals or battle drills with their partner force [Nigerien soldiers]" prior to the mission.

The report summary includes recommendations to improve mission planning and approval procedures, re-evaluate equipment and weapons requirements, and review training that US commandos conduct with partner forces.

However, the U.S. team commander had "inaccurately characterized" the nature of the mission in order to get it approved at a low level instead of requesting permission from battalion-level commanders based in Chad.

The Army Special Forces team, assisting the Nigerien forces, initially left Camp Ouallam in Niger on October 3 to hunt for a high-ranking Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant linked to the kidnapping of a USA aid worker, the military said.

From left, Workers Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Workers Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; Sgt.

The noontime briefing at the Pentagon on the investigation is expected to be led by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert S. Karem and Marine Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command.

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"We are now far more prudent in our missions", said Waldhauser.

According to a 10-minute video recreation of the incident shown during the press briefing, a caravan of eight vehicles operated by US and Nigerien forces moved out of the village and ran into the ambush. The French aircraft arrived over the battlefield 47 minutes after that notification.

The U.S. soldier killed in the attack were Army Sgt.

A small group of soldiers - Black, Wright and Jeremiah Johnson - prepared to move out, but Black, trying to shield himself as he walked along the protected side of his vehicle, was quickly shot and fell, the investigation found. Wright and Johnson stopped the vehicle to assess Black's wounds, but were quickly forced to withdraw as the attack continued. His body was treated like all the other remains - both US and Nigerien: "His serviceable equipment was stripped and taken from him".

Those killed in the patrol were Sgt. The sergeant fought back using an M240 machine gun and a sniper rifle, but ultimately was forced out of his truck by enemy gunfire and tried to escape on foot.

However, Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, who led the Pentagon probe, said Thursday it "wasn't a deliberate intent to deceive".

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared to allude to the deployment of JSOC in October, telling reporters at the Pentagon that "national assets" were made available for the search after a request from Waldhauser. It is not clear if these two are among the many three service members he stated might face self-discipline. La David Johnson may have been taken alive by the ISIS militants.

Waldhauser said changes already have been made in the way military activities are carried out in Niger and elsewhere in Africa.

When asked if any of the USA troops who fought in Niger should be considered for the Medal of Honor, Waldhauser replied: "I don't have that level of detail at this point in time".

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