WASHINGTON – Dramatic new drone video of the Niger ambush that killed 4 American troopers exhibits U.S. forces desperately making an attempt to flee and preventing 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 had been quickly to die — wrote messages dwelling to their family members.
The video, launched by the Pentagon with explanatory narration, contains greater than 10 minutes of drone footage, file tape and animation that wasn’t made public final week when the army 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 amassing intelligence at a web site the place the rebel had been. The crew was heading dwelling when it was attacked by greater than 100 militants simply outdoors the village of Tongo Tongo. Through the firefight, a variety of the Nigeriens escaped by truck, however 4 U.S. and 4 Nigerien troops had been gunned down.
The video depicts seven American forces and 4 Nigeriens fleeing on foot, beneath heavy mortar and small arms hearth. 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 quick messages to family members on private gadgets, 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 crew, and after one other seven minutes, two French Mirage plane screamed throughout the sky at a low altitude, in a present of drive to frighten the enemy. A variety of militants will be seen shifting shortly away.
After practically three hours of ready, French helicopters arrived, and an American soldier will be seen on the video shifting 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 crew ready on the clearing, and two vans will be seen shifting into the body. The drone video zooms in on them, and flashes of gunfire gentle up the display.
A pleasant Nigerien response drive had arrived to assist, and mistook the crew for enemy insurgents. For 48 seconds they fired on the crew with computerized weapons, till they had been in a position to verify their id. Nobody was injured in that temporary gunfight.
On the identical 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 had been killed had been recovered, however Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, couldn’t be discovered.
About two days later, Nigerien army forces positioned Johnson’s physique, within the heavy brush beneath a thorny tree, the place he had hidden and fought in his ultimate stand towards the enemy. The video exhibits 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 had 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 had been wounded.
The investigation of the incident by U.S. Africa Command discovered there have been a variety of failures related to the mission, however none straight induced the enemy ambush. It additionally described a number of acts of heroism, because the members of the outmanned and outgunned Military Particular Forces crew struggled to guard and rescue each other.
Protection Secretary Jim Mattis has directed the Military and U.S. Particular Operations Command to conduct critiques, which may lead to awards of valor or disciplinary actions.
Navy Capt. Jason Salata, spokesman for Particular Operations Command, stated Mattis requested a evaluate “of the coaching and insurance policies pertinent to Particular Forces troopers which will impression their capability to successfully practice overseas companions.”
He stated the evaluate, which started instantly, will have a look at counterterrorism operations, personnel insurance policies that have an effect on models making ready to deploy and any administrative necessities which are related.