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Rapid-Fire History: Battle of Mogadishu


The Battle of Mogadishu was the deadliest firefight American forces had faced since the Vietnam War. On the afternoon of October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger, commanded by Major General William F. Garrison and composed of elite U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy special operations units, was sent into Mogadishu, Somalia to arrest two top lieutenants of the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who controlled the city. With 160 men, 19 aircraft, and 12 vehicles, the mission was expected to take about an hour. U.S. forces succeeded in apprehending the primary target and Aidid’s chief spokesman, but the situation developed into a nightmare. Two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and American troops got trapped, coming under heavy attack by Somali militia and armed civilians. U.S. forces were extricated the following morning by a huge multinational rescue convoy. The 15-hour battle claimed the lives of 18 Americans and left 73 wounded. Among the fallen were two Delta Force sergeants, Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart, who were killed while protecting Black Hawk crash survivors and would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1994. Somali losses were heavy, numbering some 500 dead among more than 1,000 casualties.


Black Hawk Down By Mark Bowden.

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