Thursday, October 03, 2013

20 Years ago today: The Battle of Mogadishu

Hard as it may seem to believe, the Battle of Mogadishu, A.K.A, the "Blackhawk Down" incident, took place on this day 20 years ago, October 3, 1993.

I will never forget that day, as I had only been in the Army for about 4 months.  I had just completed Basic and AIT at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and had arrived a few days before to Fort Ben Harrison, Indiana to attend Postal School (I know, random).

Watching the bodies of our American soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu was my wake-up call that the life choice upon which I had recently embarked was all too real.  Naturally, I looked at that horrific footage and thought to myself that the body being dragged through the street could one day be my own.

I own the movie Blackhawk Down, and it is one of my most cherished DVDs.  I read the book in the summer of 2000, and I had so much trouble putting it down that my wife (my girlfriend at the time) probably had thoughts of breaking up with me.

A couple Sundays ago, my family and I played hooky from our regular church to attend Adventure Christian Church in Rocklin in order to listen to a speech by Lieutenant General (Ret.) Jerry Boykin.  Boykin is a soldier's soldier who was an original member of Army Delta, and took part in the failed Iran hostage rescue mission, was badly wounded in Grenada, fought in Panama, and was on the ground at the Battle of Mogadishu.  The day after the battle, Boykin was badly wounded by a Somali mortar shell that killed the soldier standing next to him.  Boykin spoke extensively about his experiences during the Battle of Mogadishu that coming from him, painted a mental picture of that day which was just as vivid as the movie.

God Bless the 19 American soldiers (2 of whom were awarded the first Medals of Honor since the Vietnam War), who were killed that day, along with all the Rangers, Delta, Aviation, and Infantry troops who took part in an operation that happened during a supposedly "peaceful" period in our nation's history.

I am forever astounded by the caliber of men who serve in our Combat Arms.