RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – The Department of Defense said the three Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger on Wednesday were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.
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, DoD said.
Four Nigerien soldiers were also killed in the attack by Mali-based militants in Niger’s Tillaberi region.
Eight Niger soldiers and two U.S. soldiers were wounded, according to a statement by Niger’s Army Chief of Staff.
“A joint patrol of the Defense and Security Forces and American partners operating in the border area of Mali fell into an ambush set by terrorist elements aboard a dozen vehicles and about twenty motorcycles,” the statement said. The deaths and injuries came “after intense fighting, during which elements of the joint force showed exemplary courage.”
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis issued a statement after the soldiers were killed:
“The deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright are a tragic reminder of the dangers facing our brave service members as they combat terrorism across the globe to keep our country safe. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten, and Susan and I send our deepest condolences to their family, friends, and the Fort Bragg community.”
The statement welcomed “the constant commitment of the American partners in the fight against terrorism.”
Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou and the U.S. Ambassador to Niger Eunice S. Reddik met before Issoufou presided over a meeting of the National Security Council made up of senior officers and ministers.
“Our country is once again the target of a terrorist attack, with a large number of victims,” Niger’s president said earlier Thursday.
The incident is currently under investigation.
Black enlisted in the Army in October 2009.
His awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge – Sharpshooter with Rifle.
Black served as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant.
Johnson enlisted in the Army in October 2007.
His awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (2nd Award), Army Achievement Medal (5th Award), Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Ribbon, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge, and Marksmanship Qualification Badge – Expert with Pistol and Rifle.
Johnson served as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist (74D).
Wright enlisted in the Army in July 2012.
His awards and decorations include the Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, and Parachutist Badge.
Wright served as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant (18C).