5 Months After A Deadly Mission, Troops In Niger Are Finally Getting Danger Pay

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Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne 2nd Battalion leave pins and salute the casket after the burial of Army Sgt. La David Johnson at the Hollywood Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Sgt. Johnson was killed with three other colleagues in an ambush by extremists in Niger on Oct. 4.

Members of the 3rd Special Forces Group Airborne 2nd Battalion leave pins and salute the casket after the burial of Army Sgt. La David Johnson at the Hollywood Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. Sgt. Johnson was killed with three other colleagues in an ambush by extremists in Niger on Oct. 4.

In recognition of their dangerous mission, U.S. troops in Niger will now receive up to $225 a month in “imminent danger pay” – five months after Islamic State fighters ambushed and killed four U.S. soldiers in the African country, a defense official told Task & Purpose.

As of Wednesday, the official could not say how many U.S. troops are eligible for the extra pay, which was formally approved on March 5.

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of U.S. Africa Command, has also requested imminent danger pay for U.S. troops in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria, the official said. It was unclear by deadline whether they would in fact receive the extra pay, as well.

Four soldiers were killed in an Oct. 4 ambush in Niger: Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, and Sgt. La David T. Johnson. NBC News first reported on Feb. 27 that none of them was receiving imminent danger pay at the time.

On March 5, Waldhauser told lawmakers that he had made the request for troops in Niger and other African countries “several months ago” and the matter had been referred to the Office of Management and Budget.

The Defense Department could not say on Wednesday if the families of the four soldiers killed in Niger would receive back pay.

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