Mil­i­tary: Mul­ti­ple fail­ures were made

The Mercury News Weekend - - OTHER VIEWS - By The As­so­ci­ated Press

WASH­ING­TON » Mul­ti­ple fail­ures led up to the deadly Niger at­tack last Oc­to­ber, but top mil­i­tary lead­ers said Thurs­day that none di­rectly caused the over­whelm­ing enemy am­bush that killed four Amer­i­can ser­vice mem­bers and sent oth­ers fight­ing and run­ning for their lives.

“The di­rect cause of the enemy at­tack in Tongo Tongo is that the enemy achieved tac­ti­cal sur­prise there and our forces were out­num­bered ap­prox­i­mately three-to- one,” Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier Jr. told re­porters dur­ing a Pen­tagon press con­fer­ence.

He de­scribed a bru­tal, chaotic fire­fight, as 46 U.S. and Nige­rien forces bat­tled more than 100 enemy fight­ers. Amid the chaos, he said, there were re­peated acts of brav­ery as the out­num­bered and out­gunned soldiers made split-sec­ond de­ci­sions un­der heavy fire, strug­gling to pro­tect and res­cue each other dur­ing the more than hour­long as­sault. Killed in the at­tack were Army Sgt. La David T. John­son, 25, of Mi­ami Gar­dens, Florida; Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash­ing­ton; Staff Sgt. Jeremi­ahW. John­son, 39, of Spring­boro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ge­or­gia. Four Nige­rien troops were also killed, and two Amer­i­can soldiers and eight Nige­rien forces were wounded.

The Amer­i­cans who were killed “gave their last full mea­sure of de­vo­tion to our coun­try and died with honor while ac­tively en­gag­ing the enemy,” the re­port said. None were cap­tured alive by the enemy, and all died im­me­di­ately or quickly from their wounds, it said.

Af­ter months of si­lence dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Gen. Thomas Wald­hauser, head of U. S. Africa Com­mand, laid out the find­ings and took re­spon­si­bil­ity for what hap­pened.

He said the re­port, which has not yet been­made pub­lic in full, sin­gles out three in­di­vid­u­als whose ac­tions could be faulted. He did not name them. U. S. Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Com­mand will make any dis­ci­pline de­ci­sions, Wald­hauser said, adding he be­lieves there will be awards for nu­mer­ous acts of ex­tra­or­di­nary brav­ery by the troops.

Navy Capt. Ja­son Salata, spokesman for Spe­cial Op­er­a­tions Com­mand, said a full re­view of the re­port has be­gun and “we are to­tally com­mit­ted to re­solv­ing ev­ery is­sue ad­dressed” in it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.