Four heroic soldiers killed nearly two years ago when they were ambushed by more than 100 ISIS fighters in Niger have posthumously received valor awards, defense officials announced on Wednesday.
Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright and Sgt. La David T. Johnson have both been awarded the Silver Star, a defense official said. Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black and Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah W. Johnson have both received the Bronze Star with "V" device.
They were killed on Oct. 4, 2017 near the village of Tongo Tongo.
Two other special operators involved with the mission will receive the Silver Star; one will receive the Bronze Star with "V" device; one will receive the Army Commendation Medal with "V" device; and one will receive the Army Commendation Medal with "C" device, said Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Candice Tresch.
A soldier's Silver Star — which he originally believed to be "too much recognition" despite receiving it for playing hot potato with a live grenade and saving at least six others — has been upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross.
Cpl. Aaron Pickett, an anti-tank missilemen with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, fires a Javelin missile from the front of a Humvee during the Enhanced Mojave Viper training exercise at the Black Top Range Training Area on Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., Aug. 29, 2011. (U.S. Marine Corps/ Cpl. Reece Lodder)
Retired Maj. Gen. John Admire (right) handshakes retired Maj. Edward F. Wright (left) at Portland, Ore., Feb. 1, 2019. Wright was awarded the medal for his actions on Aug. 21, 1967. (U.S. Marine Corps/Andy O. Martinez)
A retired officer whose leadership helped save soldiers and Marines pinned down by North Vietnamese fighters in 1967 received the third-highest award for valor on Friday for his heroism more than five decades ago.