The U.S. Army Special Forces team leader upon whom the Pentagon has heaped much of the blame for a deadly ambush in Niger last October may also be awarded a Silver Star for his heroic actions that day, the New York Times reported on Aug. 23.
Army commanders have recommended that Capt. Michael Perozeni receive the military’s third-highest valor award for the gallantry he displayed when his 11-man team came under attack by dozens of Islamist militants on Oct. 4, 2017, according to an internal Special Operations Command report attained by the Times.
The ambush occurred outside the village of Tongo Tongo, where Operational Detachment Alpha Team 3212 had stopped for water following a kill-or-capture mission that turned up nothing. The team was accompanied by 30 Nigerian soldiers.
Four members of ODA 3212 were killed in the ensuing firefight, which lasted hours and was captured in helmet camera footage that later appeared in an ISIS propaganda video. Perozeni was shot in the attack but survived
Two of the soldiers killed in the battle are being considered for the Distinguished Service Cross and the other two have been recommended for the Silver Star, according to the Times.
Perozeni’s Silver Star nomination sharply contrasts with the summary of a U.S. Africa Command report released to the public in May that implied Perozeni and another junior officer had imperiled ODA 3212 by mischaracterizing its mission that day in a planning document. The summary stated that the officers described the mission as a trip to meet tribal elders rather than a counterterrorism mission, which would have required higher approval and a much larger contingent of troops.
The planning document “contributed to a general lack of situational awareness and command oversight at every echelon," according to the AFRICOM investigation. However, as the Times noted, the summary did not mention the fact that “Perozeni had pushed back against the part of the mission that would eventually turn deadly,” nor did it “directly [attribute] any blame to senior leadership.”
A Defense Department official told the Times that “it was doubtful that Captain Perozeni could be considered for the honor if his misleading mission plan had been a significant error, or had led to the deadly attack.”
The Marine Corps has tapped a new Silicon Valley defense firm to develop a "digital fortress" of networked surveillance systems in order to enhance the situational awareness of security forces at installations around the world.
Marine Corps Installations Command on July 15
announced a $13.5 million sole source contract award to Anduril Industries — the two-year-old defense technology company and Project Maven contractor founded by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and several former Palantir Technologies executives — for a new Autonomous Surveillance Counter Intrusion Capability (ASCIC) designed to help secure installations against "all manners of intrusion" without additional manpower.
This is no standard intrusion system. Through its AI-driven Lattice Platform network and 32-foot-tall autonomous Sentry Towers, Anduril purports to combine the virtual reality systems that Luckey pioneered at Oculus with Pentagon's most advanced sensors into a simple mobile platform, enhancing an installation's surveillance capabilities with what Wired
recently dubbed "a web of all-seeing eyes, with intelligence to know what it sees."
"This was a defensive action by the USS Boxer in response to aggressive interactions by two Iranian UAS [unmanned aerial systems] platforms in international waters," CENTCOM spokesman Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown said in a statement. "The Boxer took defensive action and engaged both of these platforms."
On July 17, Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal briefly met with President Donald Trump at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina to discuss the eponymous legislation that would finally allow victims of military medical malpractice to sue the U.S. government.
A Green Beret with terminal lung cancer, Stayskal has spent the last year fighting to change the Feres Doctrine, a 1950 Supreme Court precedent that bars service members like him from suing the government for negligence or wrongdoing.
The new trailer for
Top Gun: Maverick that dropped last week was indisputably the white-knuckle thrill ride of the summer, a blur of aerial acrobatics and beach volleyball that made us wonder how we ever lost that lovin' feeling in the decades since we first met Pete "Maverick" Mitchell back in 1986.
But it also made us wonder something else: Why is Maverick still flying combat missions in an F/A-18 Super Hornet as a 57-year-old captain after more than 30 years of service?