Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Congressman Alcee L. Hastings Demand Investigation into Death of Miami Gardens U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson
Washington, D.C. – Florida Democrats, Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson and Congressman Alcee L. Hastings, are demanding an investigation of the aftermath of a deadly ambush in Niger on October 4, that left dead Sgt. La David Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens and three fellow members of the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg and the elite United States Special Operations Command.
According to news reports, Sgt. Johnson’s body was not recovered until nearly 48 hours after the evacuation of Staff Sergeants Bryan Black, Dustin Wright, and Jeremiah Johnson, and two other soldiers who had been wounded during the attack.
They were in Niger to provide training and security assistance to Nigerian military forces combatting Boko Haram and other ISIS-affiliated terrorists. The 12-man team was returning from a meeting with local leaders when it came under a surprise attack in which they were both outnumbered and outarmed by approximately 50 Al Qaeda-Islamic Maghreb fighters.
Representatives Wilson and Hastings in a letter to Secretary James Mattis are calling on the Department of Defense to conduct a thorough and substantive investigation into the circumstances that led to the four deaths and why, although nearby, Sgt. Johnson was not found until nearly two days after the three other soldiers killed, who based on news reports were left on the ground for close to an hour.
Perhaps more important, the Florida lawmakers want to know why the chain of command failed to anticipate even the possibility of an ambush and equip our soldiers for the unexpected.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Sgt. Johnson’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. Sgt. Johnson was an American hero, who served our nation with honor and distinction. The Army’s Chief of Staff has acknowledged that a full investigation is underway. It is my sincere hope that all necessary resources are given to this investigation, so that we may know what happened during this horrific attack,” said Congressman Hastings.
“Boko Haram and the other terrorist groups in Africa affiliated with ISIS may not be as sophisticated as our troops, but it is unwise to underestimate under any circumstances their bloodthirst and deadly force. They may be uneducated but they are not stupid and possess no conscience, which makes them even more dangerous. The fact that Sgt. Johnson’s unit had been on nearly 30 other similar missions is not in my mind an excuse to assume that the worst could not happen,” said Congresswoman Wilson. “Sgt. Johnson lived in my community, and is a member of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a program I started before he was born. Role Model mentors and mentees all around the world are mourning his death. We need to know the truth, and we need to know it now.”