Conflicting report claims La David Johnson was not captured, executed in Niger
U.S. officials say the Green Beret was killed by enemy fire during ambush
According to a new report, Army Sgt. La David Johnson was killed by enemy fire during an ambush in Niger.
On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that the military investigation found that Johnson was not captured or executed, despite rumors to that effect.
The report stated that Johnson was hit by fire from M-4 rifles and Soviet-made machine guns. Investigators believe he therefore died in the attack.
The investigation has not been finalized, so U.S. officials spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
‘I need to see him’
Questions surrounded Johnson’s death especially after his widow, Myeshia Johnson, claimed that the military would not let her see his body.
“I need to see him so I know it’s my husband,” she said. “They won’t show me a finger, a hand; I know my husband’s body from head-to-toe and they won’t let me see anything.”
She also called for more information about how her husband died and why it took so long to recover his body.
Four servicemen killed in Niger
Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright all lost their lives after a 12-man Green Beret team was attacked as they left a meeting with local leaders.
The ambush led to a firefight until French Mirage jets arrived.
However, soon after the firefight had ended, U.S., French and Nigerien troops realized that Johnson was missing, and they searched for him for around 48 hours before finding his body.
The attack has since been attributed to an ISIS group in the Greater Sahara.
‘He knew what he signed up for’
Johnson and his widow also received national attention after President Donald Trump called Myeshia Johnson to offer his condolences.
During the call, he reportedly said that Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” That phrase in particular has been blasted as insensitive, though Myeshia Johnson also accused Trump of not knowing her husband’s name.
“I heard him stumbling on trying to remember my husband’s name, and that’s what hurt me the most because if my husband is out here fighting for our country and he risked his life for our country why can’t you remember his name,” Johnson recalled.