Politics Amid Military Tension, Meme Misdates Soldiers’ Deaths

20:45  09 january  2020
20:45  09 january  2020 Source:   factcheck.org

Donald Trump blames Iran for insurgents storming of U.S. embassy in Iraq

  Donald Trump blames Iran for insurgents storming of U.S. embassy in Iraq Supporters of the Iraq Shiite militia, which is backed by Iran, broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad earlier Tuesday."Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many," Trump tweeted. "We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.

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Quick Take

A meme circulating on Facebook displays photos of five U.S. soldiers that purportedly were killed “this Tuesday in Afghanistan.” Actually, they died in 2013 and there was a sixth soldier killed in the same incident who isn’t included in the meme.

Full Story

A photo montage of five U.S. soldiers has been circulating on Facebook recently with this message: “These are the five men that died in a helicopter crash this Tuesday in Afghanistan. Fill your news feed with dedications to them, as they were fighting for our country.”

But they were killed in 2013, and the meme is missing one soldier. A total of six soldiers died in that helicopter crash, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan highest in years

  U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan highest in years Seventeen service members died in Afghanistan in 2019, the highest number since 2015, according to a year-end tally compiled by the Department of Defense and reported by Army Times. © Kat Wade/Getty Images U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan highest in years Fourteen of the fallen service members were from the Army while three were Marines. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The soldiers killed included eight Green Berets, an Army Ranger and three paratroopers.

The five featured in the recent Facebook post include:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Randy L. Billings, who was 34 and came from Heavener, Oklahoma.
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua B. Silverman, who was 35 and came from Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Sgt. Peter C. Bohler, who was 29 and came from Willow Spring, North Carolina.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Omar W. Forde, who was 28 and came from Marietta, Georgia.
  • Spc. Terry K. D. Gordon, who was 22 and came from Shubuta, Mississippi.

The post left out:

  • Staff Sgt. Jesse L. Williams, who was 30 and came from Elkhart, Indiana.

Those six soldiers were killed when their Black Hawk helicopter was blasted with an improvised explosive device as it hovered about 79 feet above a ridge line in southern Afghanistan on Dec. 17, 2013, according to an Army report about the crash. The seventh soldier in the helicopter survived.

Soleimani’s legacy: The gruesome, high-tech IEDs that haunted U.S. troops in Iraq

  Soleimani’s legacy: The gruesome, high-tech IEDs that haunted U.S. troops in Iraq Iranian-designed explosively formed penetrators killed at least 196 U.S. troops and wounded hundreds more.The U.S. soldiers who had been inside had already been medevaced near Kirkuk that summer in 2006, leaving the Air Force bomb technician alone with the vehicle. Pools of blood simmered under the Iraqi sun, near what one soldier left behind.

Between Oct. 7, 2001, and Jan. 6, 2020, there have been a total of 2,301 military deaths in Afghanistan, according to the most recent figures released by the Department of Defense. The latest military casualty in Afghanistan was on Dec. 23, when Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Goble, 33, of Washington Township, New Jersey, was killed in combat.

The meme began circulating as tensions in the Middle East rose after a U.S. strike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 2, prompting Iran to threaten “severe revenge” against the United States. Although the information in the meme is outdated by six years, one recent post was shared 30,000 times in 24 hours on Facebook.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.


U.S. Department of Defense. “DoD Identifies Army Casualties.” 19 Dec 2013.

U.S. Department of Defense. Casualty Status. 6 Jan 2020.

Department of the Army. Executive Summary, Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 Investigation, 17 Dec 13 UH-60M Incident in Zabul Province, Afghanistan. DocumentCloud, contributed by Evan Wagstaff of the Los Angeles Times. 18 Jan 2014.

The post Amid Military Tension, Meme Misdates Soldiers’ Deaths appeared first on FactCheck.org.

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