There was an entirely new set of questions about the deadly ambush of U.S. troops in Niger last month after the government acknowledged that additional remains from a soldier killed there were recently found. The body parts of Army Sgt. La David Johnson were located on November 12, more than a month after a militant group linked to ISIS opened fire on the troops, killing four.
“We can confirm that the Armed Forces Medical Examiner has positively identified these remains as those of Sgt. Johnson,” Dana W. White, chief spokesperson for the Department of Defense, told ABC News. “The department continues to conduct a detailed and thorough investigation into the deaths of Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, and Sgt. La David T. Johnson. We extend our deepest condolences to all of the families of the fallen.”
It was not clear if Johnson’s widow – who was thrust into a nasty public dispute with the president – was made aware that her husband’s full body was not in the casket. Around the time of her husband’s funeral last month, Myeshia Johnson, six months pregnant, complained that military officials wouldn’t allow her to open the casket at all.
“Why couldn’t I see my husband? Every time I asked to see my husband, they wouldn’t let me,” she said during an interview on Good Morning America. “They won’t show me a finger, a hand. I know my husband’s body from head to toe. They won’t show me anything.”
The three other soldiers killed were evacuated following the gunfight, but Johnson’s body remained there for more than 48 hours before it was recovered. The Pentagon has launched an investigation to answer that and other questions, including this latest crop from the new revelations. The probe could be completed by January.
The Pentagon told News One that it was typically up to the family to decide who and how remains of a soldier killed in action would be viewed, if at all.
“Viewing remains is a personal and private decision,” Pentagon spokesperson Laura Ochoa told News One on October 23. “The remains are released to the Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD)’s and private funeral home, where at that point, the PADD may decide to view the remains.”
Johnson’s death was first announced by Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, who went public because she said Trump’s condolence call to the soldier’s widow was disrespectful. After denying being rude, it was confirmed that Trump told Johnson’s widow her husband “knew what he was signing up for.”