Fort Bragg soldiers, killed in Niger, begin to return home

Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright's remains return home

By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 10, 2017

The four Fort Bragg soldiers killed in Niger last week have begun to come home.

The remains of Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware last week, according to photos and a video released by the Department of Defense.

Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia, was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group. He was killed on Wednesday, Oct. 4, alongside three of his fellow 3rd Group soldiers who were deployed to West Africa.

The soldiers were attacked while on a joint operation with Nigerien troops. Several Nigerien soldiers were also killed or injured and two soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group were wounded and evacuated to a hospital in Germany.

Wright; Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida; were killed during the attack.

A dignified transfer of Wright’s remains was conducted late last Thursday at Dover Air Force Base.

The Oct. 4 attack, which occurred in southwest Niger, was the deadliest for deployed Fort Bragg troops since July 14, 2010.

The incident remains under investigation, officials said.

The 3rd Special Forces Group has had an ongoing mission in North and West Africa since 2015, with a battalion constantly forward-deployed to Niger and operations in 11 other African nations in the region.

The Special Forces soldiers are in Africa to bolster the defense capabilities of partner nations while combating terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

According to reports, Nigerien military leaders said a patrol of defense and security forces and American partners were near the border of Mali when they were ambushed by a group with a dozen vehicles and about 20 motorcycles.

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at dbrooks@fayobserver.com

©2017 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.)
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Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), conduct a Dignified Transfer for Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, of Lyons, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2017.

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