The Black soldier they left behind

Too many unanswered questions about death of Sergeant La David Johnson

African American Army Green Beret Sergeant La David Johnson was killed in Africa in an ambush along the Niger-Mali border, October 4, 2017. As this is written, the Department of Defense has not released full information regarding how it was that he was missing for 48 hours. He was found tied and tortured, with parts of his body found in a different area than the ambush site where he and three other Green Berets were ambushed.

Pentagon silence raises suspicions and conspiracy theories. Although the Pentagon says it will release the information regarding his death. Will they? Doubts exist. Yet, release it they must.

The Obama Administration ordered the military operations in Niger. Both Republican and Democrat presidents have supported long-standing wars and advisory teams, especially since 9/11. So, why is the Administration silent and slow in reporting?

Sgt. La David T. Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Fla., was one of four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger (U.S. Army)

The American creed is to leave no soldier behind, and yet Sergeant Johnson was clearly left behind, and clearly tortured, mutilated, and killed. Were it not for the tenaciousness of Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), we would not be talking about Sergeant Johnson’s death.

Of course, we want to protect and secure our homeland, but should worldwide military involvement be the best answer? Why Niger? Why this ambush? Some say we are in Niger to protect a $50 million airbase for drones that can reach Algeria, Libya, Sudan, Kenya and Somalia. Yet, there is very little information on when the commitment was made to build this drone base in Northern Niger.

Prior to the mysterious death of Sergeant Johnson, there had been little if any information in the Congressional Record regarding the intent of American military involvement in Niger.

Sergeant Johnson’s body was found over a mile from the ambush site, mutilated and hands tied. A team of French Foreign Legion, American Special Forces, and military troops from both Mali and Niger recovered his body.

There is a large contingent of private military contractors with ties to American corporations in the United States who are helping construct this airbase in Northern Niger, many with executives who made large donations to our national parties.

As few are covering the ambush, we will continue to do so in this column.

In fact, the family of Sergeant Johnson, joined by Congresswoman Wilson, has indicated that they are moving to exhume the body to determine if the remains of Sergeant Johnson are in that casket.

There are those who believe one reason why President Trump’s Chief of Staff was so passionate in his response regarding Sergeant Johnson’s mother, wife, and Congresswoman Wilson, was to distract from the fact that the Pentagon denied the family access to view the body before the burial. That was unprecedented and contrary to the rules and procedures for the burial of American service persons who have lost their lives in conflicts.

For a while, Sergeant Johnson was abandoned. The French and Niger Defense ministries are caught in the middle of trying to explain why it allegedly took 48 hours to recover the body of Sergeant Johnson. With the exception of Congresswoman Wilson and some other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, there has been an eerie and troubling silence.

In closing, I refer you to a situation twenty days ago, before the writing of this column, when CNN announced they were prepared that afternoon to bring forward evidence that Sergeant Johnson had been abandoned. Yet, in the time it took to broadcast a 3.5-minute commercial, the story of the witnesses and evidence of the abandonment of Sergeant Johnson disappeared.

The family of Sergeant Johnson, and the rest of us, deserves a full and honest explanation of the circumstances surrounding his death and that of his three comrades.

Stay tuned.


Ron has hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books, and archives, go to

One Comment on “The Black soldier they left behind”

  1. A tragic event.

    However, He is not a Green Beret.
    Are you and many in the press colorblind?

    Nonetheless, a tragic loss.

    P.S.. Your article is so full of inaccuracies I am surprised you get published. I will stay tuned, but not to you.

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