Military and Police

Pentagon Concludes Second Investigation into 2017 Niger Ambush

The Pentagon has closed its second investigation of the October 2017 ambush in Tongo Tongo, Niger that killed four American soldiers and four Nigerian partner forces.

The second review of the attack on the special forces team and the punishments handed out in its wake was ordered in November by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis and deferred to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan when he assumed the role. Shanahan then ordered his own review after finding the one he inherited to be unsatisfactory. The new investigation has determined that the punishments to junior officers will stand.

In November 2018, the United States Army punished six soldiers and officers based on their involvement in the mission. According to The New York Times, those being disciplined included Captain Mike Perozeni, the leader of the Green Beret team, his second in command, and a master sergeant.

The original investigation cited “individual, organizational and institutional failures” in the preparation and planning for the special forces teams’ operation in Niger. The two senior officers who approved and oversaw the mission were not reprimanded.

The October 2017 attack took the lives of two Green Berets, SSG Bryan Black and SSG Dustin Wright, and two soldiers assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), SSG Jeremiah Johnson and SGT La David Johnson.

It was apparent almost immediately that the team that was ambushed was not properly equipped or supported for the mission they were on. They received no air support, until hours later from French jets.

Valor awards for the ambush have not been confirmed, but Silver Stars and Bronze Stars with Valor are expected to be awarded to the fallen soldiers, per Military Times.

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Chris Castellano

Christopher Castellano is a U.S. Army Veteran. He currently serves as a firefighter in New York City and, in his spare time, also operates Fittest Travel.

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