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3 soldiers killed in Niger attack were special ops out of Fort Bragg

From left, U.S. Special Forces soldiers Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, reported killed in an attack in Niger Oct. 4, 2017.
From left, U.S. Special Forces soldiers Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, reported killed in an attack in Niger Oct. 4, 2017. US ARMY

The Department of Defense on Friday released the names of three soldiers killed Wednesday in Niger, confirming that all three were assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.

The soldiers are Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Wash.; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Ga., DoD announced.

They were part of a joint U.S.-Nigerien advise-and-assist mission and died from hostile fire while on a reconnaissance patrol, the statement said.

Officials announced the attack Thursday, indicating that two other U.S. soldiers were also wounded. Four Nigerien soldiers were also reported killed and eight more wounded in the attack.

Some officials suspected al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb was responsible for the attack, the Associated Press reported, but an American official said there is reason to believe Islamic State-linked extremists are to blame.

The Army released bios Friday on the three U.S. soldiers killed:

▪  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. He 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. He served as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist.

▪  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. He served as a Special Forces Engineer Sergeant.

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