Three U.S. Army soldiers lost their lives, and over 30 service members sustained injuries in an overnight drone attack on a small U.S. outpost in Jordan, as reported by U.S. officials to Channel3 NOW.
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three Army Reserve soldiers who were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve.
Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton, Ga.; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Ga.; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Ga., died Jan. 28, 2024, in Jordan, when a one-way unmanned aerial system (OWUAS) impacted their container housing units.
The incident is under investigation.
Rivers, Sanders and Moffett were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Ga.
This incident marks the first time that U.S. troops have been killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the commencement of the Gaza war. The attack occurred at Tower 22 in Jordan, near the border with Syria, escalating an already precarious situation in the Middle East.
Officials indicated that the drone responsible was launched by Iran-backed militants and appeared to originate from Syria.
The one-way attack drone targeted the living quarters of a base, according to a defense official, resulting in injuries that ranged from cuts and bruises to brain injuries, with some requiring medical evacuation. At least 34 individuals were injured.
In a statement on Sunday, U.S. Central Command confirmed that three service members were killed, and 25 others were injured in a one-way drone attack that “impacted at a base in northeast Jordan.”
According to two U.S. officials speaking to Channel3 NOW, the drone struck in the vicinity of living quarters on the base, leading to the medical evacuation of three injured service members from the area.
The number of wounded is anticipated to increase.
On Sunday, President Joe Biden pledged to hold those accountable for the attack, stating that while facts are still being gathered, “We know it was carried out by radical Iran-backed militant groups operating in Syria and Iraq. These service members embodied the very best of our nation:
Unwavering in their bravery. Unflinching in their duty. Unbending in their commitment to our country — risking their own safety for the safety of their fellow Americans, and our allies and partners with whom we stand in the fight against terrorism. … [H]ave no doubt – we will hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing.” As of Friday, there had been over 158 attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria. However, officials have characterized the constant barrage of drones, rockets, and missiles as largely unsuccessful, as they have frequently not resulted in serious injury or damage to infrastructure.
The reason for the air defenses failing to intercept the drone remains unclear. This incident seems to be the first known attack on Tower 22 since assaults on U.S. and coalition forces commenced on October 17.
The U.S. forces stationed at the outpost are involved in an advise-and-assist mission with Jordan. In response to Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. has taken various retaliatory actions, including a recent strike last week on three facilities in Iraq used by Kataib Hezbollah and other Iran-affiliated groups.
Additionally, the U.S. has been actively involved with Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, conducting numerous strikes—some unilaterally and others in collaboration with the UK and other allies—targeting Houthi missiles, drones, radar systems, storage facilities, and more.
The Biden administration, particularly criticized by Republicans, is facing scrutiny for not implementing sufficiently robust measures against the Iran-backed groups responsible for the attacks.
In response to the news of the three Americans killed, Senator Lindsey Graham issued a statement on Sunday expressing his belief that the Biden administration’s “policy of deterrence against Iran has failed miserably.”
Graham further called on the Biden administration to not only target Iranian proxies but also strike significant locations inside Iran. He emphasized that such actions should not only serve as reprisals for the killing of U.S. forces but also act as a deterrent against future aggression.
The death of three Americans occurs at a time when discussions between the U.S. and Iraq regarding the future of the U.S. military presence in the country are anticipated to commence soon.