WASHINGTON, D.C. ( release) - Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today called in top military officials to explain the September 8th, 2009 ambush of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, as well as the subsequent investigation. During the fight, ground troops were killed, including Marine Gunnery Sergeant Aaron Kenefick, who hailed from Williamsville in Congresswoman Hochul’s district.
“Up until now, we have only known that the consequences of the events of that day led to letters of reprimand for the two officers involved, as result of the inadequate and ineffective decisions that led to the loss of life," said Congresswoman Hochul. "Today, I learned that one of the officers will be severed from the military at the end of December, and the other officer is still undergoing the process to determine whether he will remain in the military."
The four Americans – Gunnery Sergeant Kenefick, First Lieutenant Michael Johnson, Corpsman James Layton, and Gunnery Sergeant Edwin Wayne Johnson Jr. – lost their lives during the attack in Afghanistan’s Ganjgal Valley. A fifth man, Army Sergeant Kenneth W. Westbrook, later died from injuries sustained during the attack.
Congresswoman Hochul’s office has been in regular contact with the families and is working to provide a better understanding of the circumstances of the events of that day. After the meeting, Congresswoman Hochul also learned that new procedural changes for manning, training and resourcing are being put in place by the military, as a result of the lessons learned by this preventable tragedy.
Congresswoman Hochul has been inquiring into this incident since September, when she sent a letter to the House Armed Services Committee.