32067761 DoD releases names of Special Forces soldiers killed Wednesday in Niger

A U.S. Army Special Forces weapons sergeant observes a Niger Army soldier during marksmanship training as part of Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, Feb. 28, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Klutts/released)

Updated Oct. 7 at 1:35 pm

WASHINGTON — The names of the four soldiers who died Wednesday during a reconnaissance patrol in southwest Niger have been identified by the Department of Defense.

There names are:

Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington

Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio

Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia

Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida,

They were all assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to a release. The special forces troops were in Niger as part of a joint U.S. and Nigerien train, advise, and assist mission. Four Nigerien soldiers were also killed in the incident, which is still under investigation.

As previously reported:

U.S. officials said three U.S. Army special operations commandos were killed Wednesday and two others were wounded when they came under fire in southwest Niger.

The officials said the two wounded were taken to Niamey, the capital, and are in stable condition. The officials were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants.

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has condemned the attack by Mali-based extremists in the country’s west and said Thursday that Niger is once again the target of Islamic extremist attacks. He did not say how many Niger soldiers were killed, but said there were a number of victims.

In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said the forces were with a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol north of Niamey, near the Mali border, when they came under hostile fire.

Africa Command said the U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their efforts against violent extremists.

The White House said President Donald Trump was notified about the attack Wednesday night as he flew aboard Air Force One from Las Vegas to Washington. Trump was in Las Vegas meeting with victims of Sunday night’s shooting massacre, along with first responders and doctors.

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