On Friday, the Department of Defense announced a 15-6 investigation into the deaths of two Army Rangers killed during a grueling three-hour firefight in the eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, citing “friendly fire” as a possible cause of death, according to a statement released by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
But eyewitnesses say otherwise. More than a dozen Rangers assigned to a special operations task force with direct knowledge of the engagement told Task & Purpose that the claim was “100% false.”
“This is tainting the memory of the fallen with unneeded controversy,” one service member told Task & Purpose.
While the Pentagon often initiates investigations whenever U.S. troops are killed in combat, a Friday statement from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan in Kabul specified that “there is a possibility of friendly fire in this case.”
On Friday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said that if friendly fire was a factor in the deaths of the two Rangers, it was likely unintentional, ruling out the possibility that the Rangers were killed in a “green-on-blue” attack by Afghan commandos whom the Rangers were attached to.
But Rangers assigned to a special operations task force say the two soldiers were killed by ISIS fighters. “There was no friendly fire. They were killed while engaged with enemy fighters in direct combat,” one Ranger told Task & Purpose under the condition of anonymity, “We took casualties. We killed a bunch of dudes.”
The Rangers killed were identified by the Pentagon as Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23.
The primary target of the raid was Abdul Hasib, the self-described “Emir” of the ISIS faction who "exercised command and control over operations involving ISIS-K and their connections with the larger ISIS network,” according to Davis.
Around 10:30 pm local time, Rangers were inserted into the Achin district of the Nangarhar province alongside Afghan Special Security Forces. The firefight took place less than a mile from where the U.S. Air Force dropped the 21,600-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on April 13.
In an account of the firefight released earlier on Monday, U.S. Forces-Afghanistan’s said the joint U.S.-Afghan force “came under intense fire from multiple directions and well-prepared fighting positions” before successfully killing several ISIS-K leaders and approximately 35 fighters.
As of Friday, it was unclear whether Hasib was killed during the night raid.
Task & Purpose reached out to the 75th Ranger Regiment for comment but did not receive a response as of publication
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The trial of Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher officially kicked off on Tuesday with the completion of jury selection, opening statements, and witness testimony indicating that drinking alcohol on the front lines of Mosul, Iraq in 2017 seemed to be a common occurrence for members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon.
Government prosecutors characterized Gallagher as a knife-wielding murderer who not only killed a wounded ISIS fighter but shot indiscriminately at innocent civilians, while the defense argued that those allegations were falsehoods spread by Gallagher's angry subordinates, with attorney Tim Parlatore telling the jury that "this trial is not about murder. It's about mutiny."
As a Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia will also be eligible for retroactive monthly pension payments stretching back to 2004.
All Medal of Honor recipients receive a pension starting on the date they formally receive the Medal of Honor, which is currently $1,329.58 per month, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
But Medal of Honor recipients are also eligible for a retroactive payment for monthly stipends that technically took effect on the "date of heroism," said Gina Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A unit of UK infrastructure giant Balfour Beatty plc falsified housing maintenance records at a major U.S. military base to help it maximize fees earned from the Department of Defense, a Reuters investigation found.
At Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the company's U.S.-based unit used a second set of books and altered records to make it appear responsive to maintenance requests, Reuters found in a review of company and Air Force emails, internal memos and other documents, as well as interviews with former workers.