The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

Military finds multiple failures led to ambush


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. Jeremiah W. 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.

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