Blast for the past.... Anyone remember the US special forces soldiers who died in Mali last Spring?
In pre-dawn darkness, a Toyota Land Cruiser skidded off a bridge in North Africa in the spring, plunging into the Niger River. When rescuers arrived, they found the bodies of three U.S. Army commandos — alongside three dead women.What the men were doing in the impoverished country of Mali, and why they were still there a month after the United States suspended military relations with its government, is at the crux of a mystery that officials have not fully explained even 10 weeks later.At the very least, the April 20 accident exposed a team of Special Operations forces that had been working for months in Mali . . . More broadly, the crash has provided a rare glimpse of elite U.S. commando units in North Africa, where they have been secretly engaged in counterterrorism actions against al-Qaeda affiliates....
Two of the soldiers, Capt. Daniel H. Utley, 33, and Sgt. 1st Class Marciano E. Myrthil, 39, were members of the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade, which is based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
For two months after the crash, the U.S. military withheld the identity of the third soldier killed. In response to inquiries from The Washington Post, the Army named him as Master Sgt. Trevor J. Bast, 39, a communications technician with the Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir
. The Intelligence and Security Command is a little-known and secretive branch of the Army that specializes in communications intercepts. . . .
At least two of the soldiers in Mali had been trained as communications or intelligence specialists. Bast was described as a “communications expert” and he was posthumously given the Meritorious Service Medal but the Army declined to say why.
. . . Utley, the captain, joined the Army in 2002 to work as a signals and communications officer but later transferred to the Special Forces.
Mysterious crash provides rare glimpse of U.S. commandos in Mali [link to www.washingtonpost.com