Eight airmen sanctioned following investigation into Manda Bay attack
The Air Force Department has sanctioned eight service members following the conclusion of two simultaneous investigations into the Manda Bay attack in Kenya that left three Americans dead.
Investigators found that while there was no criminal behavior that created the conditions that allowed the attack to occur, there was a culture of complacency on the base. U.S. Army Spc. Henry Mayfield Jr. and two contractors, Bruce Triplett and Dustin Harrison, were killed. So did five terrorists, but not before they were able to destroy seven planes.
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“We weren’t as prepared at Manda Bay as we needed to be,” Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of Africa Command, said Thursday in a video presentation of the results to the Pentagon. “For a number of successive years there has been complacent leadership and command and control at the tactical level and poor oversight at the operational level.”
“Adverse action has been taken against eight Airmen, and decisions regarding performance reviews, decorations, adverse information files and checklists have been made,” the Air Force spokeswoman said. , Ann Stefanek. Washington Examiner. “These actions may affect the individual’s career in terms of eligibility for promotion, re-enlistment and postings. For those officers who have been identified, whatever action is taken, the findings of the investigation will be documented in their Officer Selection Record. The Officer Selection Record is the part of the military personnel record that is considered when an officer is eligible for promotion.”
Stefanek cited “confidentiality concerns” as the reason she could not provide more details, including the names of those airmen, while defense officials declined to say whether any of the service members had was relieved of his duties.
In the early morning hours of January 5, 2020, Al Shabaab fighters launched mortar fire at a Kenya Defense Force installation and Camp Simba as they simultaneously attacked the airfield. There were 30 to 40 terrorists involved in the attack, Gen. Paul Funk, commander of Army Doctrine and Training Command, who led the independent review, told reporters Thursday.
Al Shabaab fighters fired two rocket-propelled grenades at a truck with US service members inside. The ensuing explosion killed Mayfield, 23, of the Army, while Harrison, 47, and Triplett, 64, were killed when fighters fired rockets at the plane they were in on the tarmac.
Following the attack, Africa Command conducted an investigation, but the results were withheld from the public and as a result Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered a separate review of the investigation.
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“In addition to determining that the al-Shabaab attack was the immediate cause of the deaths and injuries of U.S. personnel and loss of property, USAFRICOM’s investigation found four causal factors that contributed to the result of the January 5, 2020 attack,” Air Force spokesman Brig. General Patrick Ryder said in a statement Thursday. “These factors included inadequate focus on force protection; inadequate understanding of the threat; inadequate security force preparation; and problems with mission command, including poor unity of command at the tactical level.”
Military personnel deployed to US Africa Command must now complete 27 days of security training, which is one of the investigators’ recommendations.
The training “far exceeds previous pre-deployment courses and focuses on providing the basic defense mindset and force protection posture necessary to operate in a hostile environment,” Air said. Force Brig. Gen. Roy Collins, director of the Air Force’s security forces, said Thursday.