On Friday, the Pentagon released the names of the Green Berets that were killed in an ambush will conducting joint patrols with local forces. All three of the men were assigned to the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group and were overrun by a group of insurgents, possibly associated with Al Qaeda. Two other soldiers were also injured in the incident.
As reported by the Army Times, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were all killed on Thursday in Niger. They were conducting joint patrol operations with Nigerien security forces when they were ambushed. All three were assigned to the US Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Black, 35, was a Special Forces medical sergeant and native of Puyallup, Washington. According to the US Army Special Operations Command, he enlisted in October 2009 and earned the Ranger Tab and Special Forces Tab while serving in the Army. According to Fox News, he also received numerous awards including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Johnson, 39, was from Springfield, Ohio and enlisted in the Army in October 2007. He was serving as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist at the time of his death. Johnson was previously awarded the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Commendation Medal along with other distinctions.
Wright, 29, was a Special Forces engineer sergeant and a native of Lyons, Georgia. He enlisted in July 2012 and earned his Special Forces tab while serving in the Army. Wright was also the recipient of numerous awards including the Joint Service Achievement Medal.
According to the US Africa Command, US military forces are in Niger to help train and advise Nigerien security forces and are not serving in a combat role.
Niger is considered a hotbed for Islamist insurgents and groups like Al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgred, who are known to operate in the region.
Pentagon officials declined to provide further details regarding the incident, citing force protection issues and ongoing operations as the reasoning behind the decision. The attack is still considered to be under investigation.