The Black Hawk Down Incident, or Battle for Mogadishu


This post is about two weeks late, but we have now passed the 19th anniversary of the First Battle of Mogadishu, better known to most as the Black Hawk Down incident, of which a famous movie was made directed by Jerry Bruckheimer. In all, UN figures claim 20 Allied KIA and 700+ Somali KIA.

There are two men in particular I wanted to talk about in this post, men who Homer would title the Scions of Ares: Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart.

Both men were assigned to the First Special Operations Operational Detachment – Delta (Delta Force) and were providing sniper support for Operation Gothic Serpent, meant to capture key supporters in the army of General Adid, a Somali warlord operating out of the capital of Mogadishu. During the assault on a compound harboring high value targets, two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down: call-signs Super 6-1 and Super 6-4.

While Army Rangers worked to recover the dead and wounded at the Super 6-1 crash site, sergeants Gordon and Shughart went to provide cover for the wounded at the Super 6-4 site. Gordon requested a drop at the site, though he was initially denied permission to engage on the ground. After arguing with the command, Gordon received permission to insert and he and Shughart set up defensive positions around the downed helicopter. Their third partner, SFC Hallings, manned a minigun from above until his weapon ran dry and the helicopter was forced to leave. Both snipers were killed as an overwhelming force of Somali militia entered the combat zone, eventually capturing the pilot, CWO Mike Durant.

For their actions, both Gordon and Shughart were posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. Despite their actions and the success of Operation Gothic Serpent, public opinion went against the actions in Somalia, and the UN and US was forced to abandon the country in March of 1994.

The following is the citation for MSgt Gordon, signed by President Clinton on May 23, 1994:

Master Sergeant Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon’s sniper team provided precision fire from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long-range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew’s weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, “good luck.” Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Master Sergeant Gordon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

 

The following is the citation for SFC Shughart, also signed 23 May, 1994:

Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long-range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

 

These men, as well as the men they served alongside, were true scions of Ares. Like Ares, they fought unrelentingly to protect their fellow soldiers while attempting to destroy the enemy. Keep them in your thoughts this October, and Hail Ares.

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2 comments on “The Black Hawk Down Incident, or Battle for Mogadishu

  1. Kullervo says:

    They were in my basic training/infantry school smartbook as examples of the army values.

  2. Hail, and may they find joy and brotherhood in the halls of Valhalla!

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