New details have emerged about the plans Sgt. La David Johnson had for his family before his tragic death in Niger.
Johnson was one of four American soldiers, along with four Nigerien troops, who died on Oct. 4 in an ambush by Islamic fighters in the African country. President Donald Trump created a firestorm after making insensitive remarks to Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, in a condolence phone call. The president told Myeshia Johnson that her husband “knew what he signed up for,” which Trump later denied saying but was over heard by Florida’s Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson.
Prior to deploying to Niger, Johnson learned that his wife was pregnant with their third child. He had planned to buy the couple’s first house after returning home, the New York Times reported.
There are numerous unanswered questions about the circumstances surrounding the fatal ambush. Military officials did not allow Myeshia Johnson to view her husband’s remains when he returned home in a casket. A news report from Tongo Tongo, the village near the location of the ambush, said that villagers discovered Johnson’s body with his hands tied behind his back and the back of his head smashed, apparently from a hard object like a hammer. But an unofficial government account that was leaked said he fought to the end but was never captured.
The Pentagon’s official report on the ambush was scheduled for release in January. In the meantime, news outlets have tried to put the piece together. According to the Times, the ambush resulted from a series of intelligence failures and miscalculations.
Interviews with people who knew La David Johnson, 25, painted a picture of a family man who was eager to come home to his wife and children. He grew up on the outskirts of Miami with his aunts and uncles after his mother died. Before joining the Army, he worked at Walmart and took pride in his life choices. “Small resume bout me. I don’t drink nor smoke, never got arrested, gotta job,” he posted on Facebook in 2012.