Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens wore the name of his wife and mother of his two children, Myeshia Johnson, tattooed across his chest under his U.S. Army uniform. He wore both when, as part of a joint mission with Niger military, he got caught in an ambush Wednesday.
Johnson was one of four men killed in the attack. He was 25.
The three other members of the 3rd Special Forces Group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, who didn’t make it out of the ambush were Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia.
Four soldiers from Niger also died in the attack and two other U.S. troops were wounded. U.S. Africa Command said the U.S. forces are in Niger to provide training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces in their efforts against violent extremists.
After attending Carol City High and training as an auto mechanic at ATI Career Training School, Johnson enrolled in the Army as a lightwheeled vehicle mechanic in 2014. In addition to the Army Achievement Medal; the Army Good Conduct Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; the Army Parachutist Badge; the Army Air Assault Badge; the Driver and Mechanic Badge; and the Marksmanship Qualification Badge - Sharpshooter with Rifle, he received Canadian Parachutist Wings after participating in operations with the Canadian Armed Forces.
“The Bush Hog formation was made better because of Johnson’s faithful service and we are focused on caring for the Johnson family during this difficult period,” said Lt. Col. David Painter, Commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.