NIGER-- It was October 4th, 2017 when four American Green Berets were killed in Niger, ambushed by a force of 50 ISIS-affiliated fighters. The Americans, carrying only their rifles, were attacked by terrorists with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.
Now, more than two weeks later, the Pentagon still cannot provide a full picture of how it happened and officially launched a federal investigation Thursday night.
They are looking to answer two key questions:
- Did the Green Berets have the proper advance intelligence and back-up air and ground support in case something went wrong? Officials said the unit did not expect to be in combat.
- Did Sgt. La David Johnson get left behind when the rest of his unit pulled out? His body was not recovered for at least 20 hours.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis says, "The U.S. military does not leave its troops behind, and I would just ask you not to question the action of the troops who were caught in the firefight and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once."
As the federal investigation is underway, Americans are remembering the fallen.
Sgt. La David Johnson married his childhood sweetheart and was expecting his third child.
Staff Sgt. Bryan Black learned the language "hausa" because he wanted to communicate directly with Nigerians.
Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright came from a family deeply rooted in military service, dating back to 1812.
And Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson earned more than a dozen military commendations, an award recognizing heroism.