On January 5, an assault force of al-Shabaab terrorists attacked a Kenyan military base and an adjacent airbase that housed American troops. The attack resulted in the deaths of three Americans and the destruction of two surveillance aircraft.

If it weren’t for a small team of U.S. troops, however, the attack would have been much deadlier.

Although the details about the event are still murky, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) officials stated that a combined U.S.-Kenyan force repelled the terrorists, thereby saving numerous lives.

“We had a very small U.S. force following the initial attack absolutely repel the al-Shabab attackers away from the airfield. And they did that under fire,” said Major General William Gayler, AFRICOM’s director of operations. “A very small group of U.S. and Kenyans cleared every single building out at the airfield.”