Dramatic new drone video of the Niger ambush that killed 4 American troopers reveals U.S. forces desperately making an attempt to flee and combating for his or her lives after pleasant Nigerien forces mistook them for the enemy.
It describes how the fleeing troops arrange a fast defensive location on the sting of a swamp and — considering they have been quickly to die — wrote messages dwelling to their family members.
The video, launched by the Pentagon with explanatory narration, consists of greater than 10 minutes of drone footage, file tape and animation that wasn’t made public final week when the navy launched a portion of the ultimate report on the October assault. The video depicts for the primary time the harrowing hours as troops held off their enemy and waited for rescue.
There have been 46 U.S. and Nigerien troops out on the preliminary mission within the west African nation, going after however failing to discover a high-value militant, then accumulating intelligence at a web site the place the rebel had been. The staff was heading dwelling when it was attacked by greater than 100 militants simply exterior the village of Tongo Tongo. Throughout the firefight, quite a few the Nigeriens escaped by truck, however 4 U.S. and 4 Nigerien troops have been gunned down.
The video depicts seven American forces and 4 Nigeriens fleeing on foot, below heavy mortar and small arms fireplace. They crossed by a swamp, and at about 12:50 p.m. on Oct. 4, they hunkered down on the fringe of a clearing.
“They wrote brief messages to family members on private units, believing they’d quickly be overrun,” the video narrator says. Simply 21 minutes later, two unarmed U.S. drones arrived overhead and established contact with the staff, and after one other seven minutes, two French Mirage plane screamed throughout the sky at a low altitude, in a present of power to frighten the enemy. Quite a lot of militants will be seen transferring shortly away.
After practically three hours of ready, French helicopters arrived, and an American soldier will be seen on the video transferring out into the clearing, waving a U.S. flag to assist the plane find them.
The video shifts to an overhead view close to the staff ready on the clearing, and two vans will be seen transferring into the body. The drone video zooms in on them, and flashes of gunfire gentle up the display.
A pleasant Nigerien response power had arrived to assist, and mistook the staff for enemy insurgents. For 48 seconds they fired on the staff with computerized weapons, till they have been capable of verify their identification. Nobody was injured in that transient gunfight.
On the similar time, U.S. Africa Command had launched a search and restoration mission for the one U.S. soldier who was lacking, Military Sgt. La David Johnson. The our bodies of the others who have been killed had been recovered, however Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, couldn’t be discovered.
About two days later, Nigerien navy forces positioned Johnson’s physique, within the heavy brush below a thorny tree, the place he had hidden and fought in his last stand towards the enemy. The video reveals the Nigeriens rigorously carrying his physique to the again of a ready truck, and later transferring him to a helicopter.
Additionally killed within the ambush have been: Employees Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Employees Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio, and Employees Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. Two American troopers and eight Nigerien forces have been wounded.
The investigation of the incident by U.S. Africa Command discovered there have been quite a few failures related to the mission, however none immediately induced the enemy ambush. It additionally described a number of acts of heroism, because the members of the outmanned and outgunned Military Particular Forces staff struggled to guard and rescue each other.
Protection Secretary Jim Mattis has directed the Military and U.S. Particular Operations Command to conduct evaluations, which might lead to awards of valor or disciplinary actions.
Navy Capt. Jason Salata, spokesman for Particular Operations Command, mentioned Mattis requested a assessment “of the coaching and insurance policies pertinent to Particular Forces troopers which will influence their capacity to successfully prepare international companions.”
He mentioned the assessment, which started instantly, will take a look at counterterrorism operations, personnel insurance policies that have an effect on models getting ready to deploy and any administrative necessities which are related.