The Special Forces colonel who had approved a 2017 mission in Niger, in which four U.S. troops from the 3rd Special Forces Group were killed in action, has been permanently removed from the promotion list to Brigadier General.

Col. Bradley D. Moses was in charge of the 3rd SFG in October 2017 when his troops were ambushed while on an operation in a remote part of Niger. Moses was nominated earlier in the year to become a brigadier general after a tour in Afghanistan, but in March, his name was temporarily removed at the request of the Senate.

Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy notified the Senate Armed Services Committee on Friday that Moses’s nomination for brigadier general was being withdrawn. An Army spokeswoman declined to comment on the report and said the service does not comment on nominations being considered by the Senate.

Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 3212 was stationed at Quallam in Niger when it was tasked with a mission whose parameters kept changing. The detachment commander, CPT Michael Perozeni, asked for permission to return to base due to a lack of usable intelligence, a non-existent air support element for wounded troops, and a chain of command that was micromanaging the operation from far away. The request to return to base was denied by LTC David Painter, the Battalion Commander; Moses, the Group Commander, seconded Painter’s denial.

Col. Moses.

The team was assigned the mission to capture a high-value target outside of Tongo Tongo. It was ambushed on October 4, 2017, soon after leaving the village near the border of Mali by over 100 ISIS fighters. 

The SF troops were riding in three unarmored pickup trucks; the Nigerien soldiers were following in four more. They were about 120 miles from their camp when the ambush began at 11:40 a.m.

The team, IAW their established SOPs, and tried to break out of the ambush using fire and maneuver. But the enemy force was too strong and forced them back. Taking heavy fire, they were forced to retreat. After several attempts to break out of the ambush were thwarted, the team was forced into a small defensive pocket. 

Two hours after initial contact, French Mirage fighter jets roared overhead. But the enemy insurgents were too close and the jets couldn’t fire. However, the jets’ presence did give the insurgents enough pause for the Americans to begin pulling out.