Posts on social media misidentify US troops killed in air strikes

1 February 2024
What was claimed

Photos show three US servicemen who were recently killed in a drone attack in Jordan.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The photos actually show soldiers killed in Jordan in 2016.

Posts misidentifying three US servicemen who died in a recent attack in Jordan are circulating online. 

Three US troops were killed and more than 40 injured in a drone strike on a US military base near the Syrian border in Jordan on 29 January 2024. 

Multiple posts on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) share a collage showing three photos each featuring a man in military uniform. It has been shared widely with the caption: “The picture is of three American who were killed in a drone attack by the resistance on the American base in Syria -Jordan border [sic]”.

However, the collage does not feature the soldiers killed in the January attack. The photos actually show three soldiers who were killed in Jordan in 2016, named Staff Sergeant Matthew C. Lewellen of Kansas, Staff Sergeant Kevin J. EcEnroe of Arizona, and Staff Sergeant James F. Moriarty of Texas. It was reported that their convoy came under fire as it entered a Jordanian military base whilst on a training mission in the country.

The men and woman who died in the January drone attack in Jordan have been identified as Sergeant William Rivers, Specialist Kennedy Sanders and Specialist Breonna Moffett, who were all from Georgia, and can be seen in images from the US Army Reserve Command. 

According to the US Department of Defense, they were in Jordan as part of the US and coalition “mission to ensure the defeat of ISIS” known as Operation Inherent Resolve.

Misinformation like this can spread quickly during significant international news stories. Full Fact has written about other viral posts that falsely identify individuals, including photos supposedly showing British and IDF generals killed in Gaza. You can find more of our work relating to recent events in the Middle East here

Image courtesy of SGT Antony S. Lee

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