Jill Nolin, Georgia Recorder
January 29, 2024
Three American soldiers who were killed in a drone strike in northeastern Jordan near the Syria border Sunday have all been identified as Georgians.
The U.S. Department of Defense released the identities of the three Army Reserve soldiers Monday: Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrollton; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah.
All three were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade at Fort Moore near Columbus. They were deployed to Jordan as part of a mission to defeat what remains of the Islamic State.
“These soldiers gave the last full measure of devotion in service to this country,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement Monday. “This inexcusable loss of life and the attack from terrorists that resulted in these casualties is a reminder of why we stand with the friends of liberty.”
The three were killed when a drone attack hit their housing, according to the Department of Defense. Dozens of others were injured.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that an enemy drone was mistaken for an American one and allowed to pass through the base’s air defenses. The hostile drone was approaching at the same time a U.S. drone was returning to the base, the WSJ reported.
Iran-backed militias have been blamed for the attack, which was part of a string of violence against American troops in the Middle East since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. This is the first one, though, to cause the deaths of American service members.
“I join all Georgians in mourning the loss of these heroic servicemembers and condemning those responsible,” U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff said in a statement.
President Joe Biden has vowed to retaliate while also attempting to contain the conflict in Gaza as hostilities in the region grow, saying Monday that “we’ll hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing.”
Georgia Congressman Buddy Carter, a Pooler Republican, echoed the president’s call to strike back. Two of the service members – Moffett and Sanders – were from Carter’s district.
“Today is a somber day,” Carter said in a statement Monday. “Words cannot express the pain that these families are experiencing at the hands of a cowardly, Iran-backed terrorist group.”
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