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3 U.S. Service Members Killed, Others Injured in Jordan Following Drone Attack

Three U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday in Jordan, while more than 40 other service members were injured following an uncrewed aerial system attack at a military base near the Syrian border. Those service members were in Jordan to support Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the U.S. and coalition mission to ensure the defeat of ISIS. 

The three soldiers killed are Sgt. William Jerome Rivers of Carrollton, Georgia; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders of Waycross, Georgia; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett of Savannah, Georgia. All three were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, Fort Moore, Georgia.

An aerial photo of the Pentagon and surrounding buildings.
Photo Shoot
An aerial view of the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 15, 2023.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza, DOD
VIRIN: 230515-D-PM193-1762C

The attack occurred in the early morning at the logistics support base located at Tower 22 of the Jordanian Defense Network. Approximately 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel are deployed to the base. The three soldiers were killed when a one-way uncrewed aerial system impacted their container housing units. 

"I am outraged and deeply saddened by the deaths of three of our U.S. service members and the wounding of other American troops in an attack last night against U.S. and coalition forces, who were deployed to a site in northeastern Jordan near the Syrian border to work for the lasting defeat of ISIS," Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a statement released yesterday following the attack. "These brave Americans and their families are in my prayers, and the entire Department of Defense mourns their loss." 

During a briefing at the Pentagon today, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said that in addition to the three deaths, more than 40 service members were also injured in the attack. Of those, eight had to be evacuated. 

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh stands behind a podium looking at reporters.
Pentagon Briefing
Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh holds a news briefing at the Pentagon, Jan. 29, 2024.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Cesar J. Navarro, DOD
VIRIN: 240129-F-GD090-1094A

"Eight personnel who received injuries required medical evacuation from Jordan to the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center," she said. "Three of those patients are scheduled for imminent transport to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for follow-on care. The other five have been assessed for mild TBIs and are expected to return to duty." 

Singh said DOD and Centcom are working now to investigate how the attack happened. 

"We are still assessing what happened and how a one-way attack drone was able to impact the facility," Singh said. "U.S. Central Command continues to investigate this attack."

Right now, Singh said, it's still unclear who is responsible for the attack. 

"In terms of attribution for the attack, we know this is an [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ]-backed militia," she said. "It has the footprints of Kataib Hezbollah. But not making a final assessment on that, our teams here are continuing to do the analysis. We know that Iran is behind it. And certainly as we've said before ... Iran continues to arm and equip these groups to launch these attacks, and we will certainly hold them responsible."

Over the weekend, Singh said, Austin received updates on the attack and also participated in a briefing with President Joe Biden and his national security team. Since October, U.S. service members and U.S. and coalition facilities have been attacked more than 150 times in both Iraq and Syria. This most recent attack is the first to kill U.S. service members and is also the first attack in Jordan.

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Singh reiterated that the U.S. does not seek wider conflict in the Middle East, or wider conflict or a war with Iran. She also said how the U.S. responds to this most recent attack will be decided by the president following consultation with his national security team and the secretary of defense. 

"That's ultimately a decision that the president is going to make," Singh said. "He's convened his national security team ... frequently within these past few days. I'm not going to get ahead of any decisions that the president and secretary make on this together. But certainly, as our statement said yesterday, we are committed to responding and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing."

Sgt. William J. Rivers, 46, served in the Army Reserve as an interior electrician. Among his awards and decorations are the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. 

Spc. Kennedy L. Sanders, 24, served in the Army Reserve as a horizontal construction engineer. Her awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. 

Spc. Breonna A. Moffett, 23, served in the Army Reserve as a horizontal construction engineer. Her awards include the National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

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