The New York Times purchased rights to the helmet-camera footage salvaged off the bodies of US Special Forces troops in Africa- and the ensuing description doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
The footage -which was sent to an African news agency after ISIS fighters scavenged it from the body of Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson- tells a tale of brave but disoriented Americans attempting to withdraw their wounded in the firefight: desperate men attempting to fight back against a much larger force.
Ambushed while inside of SUVs and accompanied by only a handful of local men, the SF troopers soon found one of their own, a dismounted Staff Sergeant Bryan C. Black, shot down, prompting Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Wright to drag him to safety.
Using only one hand, the sizable former football player from Georgia dragged his comrade to the only makeshift cover available in the bleak terrain- the vehicles, which may or may not have been armored.
Johnson checked Black for wounds, but it was too late- Black was unresponsive and not moving.
Now in danger of being overrun, Wright and Johnson began moving through the desert, attempting to get some distance between themselves and their attackers in an effort to regroup and come up with a plan.
That’s when Johnson went down.
Wright could have run, but he didn’t With little more than scrub between him and the attackers, he swung around and began firing upon the militants, determined to reach his friend or die trying.
Those were, as the New York Times put it, the last minutes in the lives of three American soldiers on October 4, in an ambush that left them performing a snap play in an effort to capture a local terror cell leader.
With no backup, no air support and no real semblance of a plan, it would the the last mission they would ever partake in.
Despite the multiple levels of failure that now rests on the shoulders of military brass, the footage on the ground is a testament to how even the most desperate of men act as brothers in combat- right to the very end.
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