A US Navy Seal unintentionally killed himself and a British soldier while fighting ISIS in Syria after he accidentally detonated a grenade, the UK’s Ministry of Defense revealed Saturday.
US Navy Seal Master Sergeant Jonathan J Dunbar, 36, was killed in March 2018 alongside British Special Air Service Sniper Matt Tonroe, 33, during a joint undercover mission to kill extremists in Manbij in northern Syria.
At first it was reported that they both died in a roadside bomb explosion but a new report revealed they died after ‘explosives’ carried by allied American forces detonated.
Tonroe, of Manchester, UK, was embedded in Seal Team 6, the same unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, and became the first British person to die fighting terrorists in war-torn Syria.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said Saturday that while ‘it was initially believed that Sgt. Tonroe was killed by enemy action,’ an investigation concluded he was killed by ‘the accidental detonation of explosives carried by coalition forces.’
US Navy Seal Master Sergeant Jonathan J Dunbar, 36, (above) and British Special Air Service Sniper Matt Tonroe, 33, died in March 2018 in Syria after Dunbar’s explosives accidentally detonated during an undercover mission to fight ISIS, a new report reveals
At first it was reported that they both died in a roadside bomb explosion but a new report revealed they died after ‘explosives’ carried by allied American forces detonated. Sniper Matt Tonroe of Manchester, 33, pictured above
Forensic tests conducted at the scene failed to locate any IED components, while such a device would also have caused a crater in the ground beneath where Sgt Tonroe and US Master Sergeant Dunbar were found.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘Sergeant Matt Tonroe died from blast injuries caused by an explosion during a military operation.
‘Our thoughts continue to be with Sgt Tonroe’s family and friends.’
Following the blast, Sgt Tonroe, Master Sgt Dunbar and five other seriously injured casualties were carried on to military vehicles and driven to the outskirts of Manbij, where a medical helicopter was waiting to fly them to a US military hospital at a secret location.
While the evacuation was taking place, US Apache helicopter gunships and US fighter jets armed with air-to-ground missiles flew low over where the explosion occurred to deter jihadis from launching ‘follow-up attacks’.
Sgt Tonroe and Master Sgt Dunbar were pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
The 33-year-old died last year alongside US commando Master Sergeant Jonathan J Dunbar in the blast in Manbij during the joint mission
Tonroe’s death forced the MoD to concede that British troops were operating in Syria – something it had previously denied.
Tonroe was born in Manchester in August 1984 and joined the Parachute Regiment just days after his 20th birthday.
He passed the Paras’ notoriously tough P Company selection course in 2005 and subsequently joined 3rd Battalion (3 Para).
Sgt Tonroe then passed the Household Division and Parachute Regiment sniper course in October 2007 with flying colors.
He also served as a sniper in Helmand province in Afghanistan in 2008 and was praised for his coolness under fire by colleagues.
It is understood that his sharpshooting accounted for a number of Taliban deaths.
According to military sources, Sgt Tonroe was then promoted and attempted SAS selection, which he is said to have passed first time. He was also a fully trained parachutist.
His commanding officer, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Special Forces who cannot be named for security reasons, described Sgt Tonroe as ‘a deeply intelligent man and one of life’s characters’.
He added: ‘He was a caring and considerate soul, a loving and dutiful son, and a friend to many.
‘Yet he had a steel core, served his country with pride and was a first-class soldier, proven in combat, faced risk willingly and was ever ready for more.
‘He thus died as he lived: daring and fearless in duty. We mourn his loss dearly, are proud to have known him and will honour him by continuing this fight.’
Sgt Tonroe was survived by his mother Michelle, brother Alex and girlfriend Olivia.
Sgt Tonroe and Master Sgt Dunbar (left and right) were both pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital following the explosion in Syria
Dunbar, of Austin, Texas, joined the army in 2005 and was assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina at the time of his death
Tonroe’s death forced the MoD to concede that British troops were operating in Syria – something it had previously denied
Dunbar, of Texas, was assigned to the headquarters of the US Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He grew up in Austin and joined the Army as an infantryman in 2005, six years after finishing high school, according to USASOC.
Dunbar’s first assignment was with 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment at Fort Bragg, where he deployed once to Afghanistan and once to Iraq in support of combat operations.
In November 2009, Dunbar transitioned to 2nd Battalion, 38th Cavalry Regiment, a long range surveillance unit, at Fort Hood, Texas. He again deployed to Iraq in support of combat operations.
In 2013, Dunbar was assigned to USASOC, where he served as a team member and deployed three times in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dunbar became the fourth American service member to die in Syria since the US began attacking Islamic State group militants there in September 2014.
The body of a civilian is carried away in a stretcher after an air strike on the town of Ariha, in Idlib province on July 27 – as the war in Syria rumbles on