The Delta Force soldier who died during a 2018 raid in Syria was actually killed by friendly fire

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U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar

(U.S. Army photo)

A member of the U.S. Army's elite Delta Force who died during a raid in Syria last year was actually killed by friendly fire rather than an enemy IED as the Pentagon initially claimed, U.S. Special Operations Command confirmed on Monday.


U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jonathan J. Dunbar was killed alongside British Army Sgt. Matt Tonroe, a member of Britain's elite Special Air Service Regiment, during a March 2018 capture-or-kill operation that targeted a senior ISIS leader near Manbij, Syria.

The Pentagon had initially claimed that Dunbar was killed when the joint force was "struck by an improvised explosive device" during the raid. But on Sunday, an investigation by the UK Ministry of Defense revealed that Tonroe was killed "by the accidental detonation of explosives carried by coalition forces."

When reached for comment by Task & Purpose, SOCOM confirmed that Dunbar was also killed by that "accidental detonation" instead of an enemy IED attack as the Pentagon initially stated.

"An investigation determined both U.S. Army Master Sgt. Jonathan Dunbar and Sergeant Tonroe died as a result of the accidental detonation of explosives carried by coalition forces not by enemy action,' SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw told Task & Purpose in a Monday email. "Our thoughts continue to be with Master Sgt Dunbar and Sergeant Tonroe's family and friends."

Before joining Delta Force in 2013, Dunbar was assigned to the 28th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood and the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, according to military records.

His military awards include three Bronze Stars, four Army Commendation Medals, six Army Achievement Medals, five Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 3, the Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, the NATO Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Military Freefall Jumpmaster Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.


Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

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