Battle of Mogadishu (1993), Black Hawk Down
Battle of Mogadishu (1993)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and others The Battle of Mogadishu (also referred to as the Battle of the Black Sea, and Black Hawk Down in popular culture) or for Somalis: the Day of the Rangers (Somali: Maalintii Rangers) was part of Operation Gothic Serpent and was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, between forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II and Somali militia fighters loyal topresident to be Mohamed Farrah Aidid who had support from armed civilian fighters. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the later Second Battle of Mogadishu.
|1993 Battle of Mogadishu|
|Part of Operation Gothic Serpent and Somali Civil War|
|CW3 Michael Durant‘s helicopter Super Six-Four above Mogadishu on October 3, 1993.|
|Commanders and leaders|
|William F. Garrison||Mohamed Farrah Aidid|
|160 military 19 aircraft 12 vehicles (nine Humvees)||2,000-4,000 militia and civilian fighters|
|Casualties and losses|
|U.S. 19 killed 73 wounded 1 captured Malaysia 1 killed 7 wounded Pakistan 2 wounded||SNA Militia and civilians SNA claims range from 133 to 315 Somali casualties. US sources estimate range from 1,000 to 3,000, including civilians.killed to 700+ killed Est. 1,500+ wounded 21 captured
|In addition to 18 American soldiers killed during the battle, an American special forces soldier from Delta Force, Sgt Matt Rierson, was killed in a Somali mortarattack two days later. Mike Durant, the only American soldier captured, was later released.
Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Somalia, 1993. The body of a dead US soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. [Source: History Channel] Task Force Ranger—which consisted of an assault force made up of US Army Delta Force, Ranger teams, an air element provided by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, four Navy SEALoperators from SEAL Team Six and members of the Air Force Pararescue/Air Force Combat Controllers–under the command of Major General William F. Garrison executed an operation that involved traveling from their compound on the outskirts of the city to the center with the aim of capturing the leaders of the Habr Gidr clan, headed by warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The assault force consisted of nineteen aircraft, twelve vehicles, including several Humvees and 160 men. A UN vehicle burning in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3, 1993. [Source: CNN] During the operation, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenades and three others were damaged. Some of the soldiers were able to evacuate wounded back to the compound, but others were trapped at the crash sites and cut off. An urban battle ensued throughout the night. Early the next morning, a combined task force was sent to rescue the trapped soldiers. It contained soldiers from Pakistan Army, Malaysian Army and the U.S. 10th Mountain Division. They assembled some hundred vehicles, including Pakistani tanks (M48s) and Malaysian Condor armored personnel carriers and were supported by U.S. A/MH-6 Little Bird and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. This task force reached the first crash site and led the trapped soldiers out. The second crash site was overrun and pilot Mike Durant, the lone surviving American from that site, was taken prisoner but later released. Thanks for Serving Ranger Anderson The exact number of Somali casualties is unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to over a thousand militiamen and other attackers dead, with injuries to another 3,000–4,000.The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated 200 Somali civilians killed and several hundred wounded in the fighting,though some of those civilians attacked the Americans themselves. The book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War estimates more than 700 Somali militiamen dead and more than 1,000 wounded, but the Somali National Alliance in aFrontline documentary on American television acknowledged only 133 killed in the whole battle.The Somali casualties were reported in The Washington Post as 312 killed and 814 wounded. ThePentagon initially reported five American soldiers were killed, the toll was actually 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded (another American soldier, Delta operator SFC Matt Rierson, was killed in a mortar attack two days later). Among UN forces, one Malaysian soldier died; seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. At the time, the battle was the bloodiest involving US troops since the Vietnam war and remained so until theSecond Battle of Fallujah in 2004.
|Michael J. Durant|
|Born July 23, 1961 (age 49)|
|Mike Durant speaking at Tyndall Air Force Base in November 2002|
|Place of birth||Berlin, New Hampshire|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1979-2001|
|Rank||Chief Warrant Officer 4|
|Unit||160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment|
|Battles/wars||Operation Prime Chance Operation Just Cause Operation Desert Storm Battle of Mogadishu|
|Awards||Distinguished Flying Cross(3) Bronze Star Purple Heart Prisoner of War Medal|
|Relations||Lisa Durant Lorrie Durant (1st wife) Joey Durant (son) Taylor Durant (daughter)|
On August 2, 1996, warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid was killed in Mogadishu. The following day, General Garrison retired.
In January 1991, the President of Somalia, Mohammed Siad Barre, was overthrown by a coalition of opposing clans called the United Somali Congress. After this revolution, the coalition divided into two groups. One was led by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, who became president, while the other was led byMohammed Farah Aidid. In total, there were four opposing groups—the United Somali Congress (USC), Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF),Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), and Somali Democratic Movement (SDM)–that continued to fight over the domination of Somalia. In June 1991, a ceasefire was agreed to, but failed to hold. A fifth group, the Somali National Movement (SNM), had already seceded from the northwest portion of Somalia in June. The SNM renamed it the Somaliland Republic, with its leader Abdel-Rahman Ahmed Ali as president. In September 1991, severe fighting broke out in Mogadishu, which continued in the following months and spread throughout the country, with over 20,000 people killed or injured by the end of the year. These wars led to the destruction of the agriculture of Somalia, which in turn led to starvation in large parts of the country. The international community began to send food supplies to halt the starvation, but vast amounts of food were hijacked and brought to local clanleaders, who routinely exchanged it with other countries for weapons. An estimated 80 percent of the food was stolen. These factors led to even more starvation, from which an estimated 300,000 people died and another 1.5 million people suffered between 1991 and 1992. In July 1992, after a ceasefire between the opposing clan factions, the United Nations (UN) sent 50 military observers to watch the distribution of the food. Operation Provide Relief began in August 1992, when the U.S. President George H.W. Bush announced that U.S. military transports would support the multinational UN relief effort in Somalia. Ten C-130s and 400 people were deployed to Mombasa, Kenya during Operation Provide Relief, airlifting aid to remote areas in Somalia and reducing reliance on truck convoys. One member of the 86th Supply Squadron, USAFE‘s only contribution to the operation, was deployed with the ground support contingent. The Air Force C-130s delivered 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies in six months to international humanitarian organizations trying to help the over three million starving people in the country. When this proved inadequate to stop the massive death and displacement of the Somali people (500,000 dead and 1.5 million refugees or displaced), the U.S launched a major coalition operation to assist and protect humanitarian activities in December 1992. This operation, called Operation Restore Hope, saw the United States assuming the unified command in accordance with Resolution 794 (1992). The U.S. Marine Corps landed with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Mogadishu and, with elements of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines, secured nearly one-third of the city, the port, and airport facilities within two weeks time, with the intent to facilitate airlifted humanitarian supplies. Elements of the 2nd Battalion; HMLA-369 [Helicopter Marine Light Assault-369 of Marine Aircraft Group-39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton]; 9th Marines; and 1st Battalion, 7th Marines quickly secured routes to Baidoa, Balidogle and Kismayo, then were reinforced by the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion and the US Army‘s 10th Mountain Division.
On March 3, 1993, the U.N. Secretary-General submitted to the U.N. Security Council his recommendations for effecting the transition from UNITAF toUNOSOM II. He indicated that since the adoption of Council resolution 794 (1992) in December 1992, the presence and operations of UNITAF had created a positive impact on the security situation in Somalia and on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance (UNITAF deployed some 37,000 personnel over forty percent of southern and central Somalia). However, there was still no effective government, police, or national army with the result of serious security threats to U.N. personnel. To that end, the U.N. Security Council authorized UNOSOM II to establish a secure environment throughout Somalia, to achieve national reconciliation so as to create a democratic state. At the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, held on March 15, 1993, in Addis Ababa, all fifteen Somali parties agreed to the terms set out to restore peace and democracy. Yet, by May it became clear that, although a signatory to the March Agreement, General Mohammed Farrah Aidid‘s faction would not cooperate in the Agreement’s implementation. UNOSOM II’s attempts to implement disarmament led to violence. On June 5, 1993, twenty-four Pakistani troops in the UN force were killed in heavy fighting in an area of Mogadishu controlled by Aidid. The next day, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 837, calling for the arrest and trial of those responsible for the ambush.
Attack on safe house
On July 12, 1993, a United States-led operation was launched on what was believed to be a safe house where Aidid was hiding in Mogadishu. During the 17-minute combat operation, U.S. Cobra attack helicopters fired 16 TOW missiles and thousands of 20-millimeter cannon rounds into the compound, killing 60 people including women and children. As it happened, General Aidid was nowhere in sight. The operation would also lead to the deaths of four journalists–Dan Eldon, Hos Maina, Hansi Kraus and Anthony Macharia—who were killed by angry Somali mobs when they arrived to cover the incident. Some believe that this American attack was a turning point in unifying Somalis against U.S. efforts in Somalia, including former moderates and those opposed to the Habar Gidir.
- See Timeline of the Battle of Mogadishu for a detailed chronology from a U.S. Army perspective
On October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger, U.S. Special Operations Forces composed mainly of Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (better known as “Delta Force”) operators, and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)(“The Night Stalkers”), attempted to capture Aidid’s foreign minister Omar Salad Elmi and his top political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale. The plan was that Delta Force operators would assault the target building (using MH-6 Little Bird helicopters) and secure the targets inside the building while four Ranger chalks (under the command of Capt. Michael D. Steele) would fast rope down from hovering MH-60K Black Hawk helicopters. The Rangers would then create a four-corner defensive perimeter around the target building while a column of nine Humvees and three five-ton trucks (under the command of Lt. Col. Danny McKnight) would arrive at the target building to take the entire assault team and their prisoners back to base. The entire operation was estimated to take no longer than 30 minutes. The ground-extraction convoy was supposed to reach the captive targets a few minutes after the beginning of the operation. However, it ran into delays. Somali citizens and local militia formed barricades along the streets of Mogadishu with rocks and burning tires, blocking the convoy from reaching the Rangers and their captives. Aidid militiamen with megaphones shouting, “Kasoobaxa guryaha oo iska celsa cadowga!” (“Come out and defend your homes!”). During the first moments of the operation, PFC Todd Blackburn fell while fast-roping from his Black Hawk while it was hovering 70 feet (21 m) above the streets. The cause of him falling from the chopper was never really known. The most logical theory was that he simply slipped when the helicopter was forced to take evasive maneuvers to avoid an incoming RPG fired from a nearby rooftop, although, according to Bowden, video does not show the helicopter moving. Blackburn suffered an injury to his head and back of his neck. Minutes later, one of the Black Hawk helicopters, callsign Super 6-1 piloted by CW3Cliff “Elvis” Wolcott, was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. Both pilots of Super 6-1 were killed, and two of the crew chiefs were severely wounded. SSG Daniel Busch (a Delta Force sniper) survived the crash and managed to hold off the militia until he was evacuated by an MH-6 Little Bird helicopter, callsign Star 4-1. While he was defending the downed helicopter, however, he was shot 4 times and later died of his wounds. A Combat Search and Rescue team, led by TSgt Scott Fales of the Air Force PJs, were able to fast rope down to the crash site of Super 6-1 despite an RPG hit that crippled their helicopter, Super 6-8. This helicopter did make it back to base, despite the damage. Fales and his team found both the pilots dead and two wounded inside the crashed helicopter. Under intense fire, the team moved the wounded men to a nearby collection point, where they built a make-shift shelter using Kevlar armor plates salvaged from the wreckage of Super 6-1. Peace Keeper’s Body dragges in Mogadishu There was confusion between the ground convoy and the assault team. The assault team and the ground convoy waited for twenty minutes to receive their orders to move out. Both units were under the mistaken impression that they were to be first contacted by the other. During the wait, a second Black Hawk helicopter, callsign Super 6-4 and piloted by CW3 Michael Durant, was also shot down by an RPG. Most of the assault team went to the first crash site for a rescue operation. Upon reaching the site, about 90 Rangers and Delta Force operators found themselves under siege from heavy militia fire. Despite air support, the assault team was effectively trapped for the night. With a growing number of wounded needing shelter, they occupied several nearby houses and confined the occupants for the duration of the battle. Outside, a stiff breeze stirred up blinding, brown clouds of dust.
The crew of Super 6-4 a month before the Battle of Mogadishu. From left: Winn Mahuron, Tommy Field, Bill Cleveland, Ray Frank andMike Durant.
At the second crash site, two 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) snipers, SFC Randy Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon, were inserted by the Black Hawk Super 6-2. Their first two requests to be inserted were turned down by Command, but they were finally granted permission upon their third request, protecting the crash site from the approaching mob and inflicting heavy casualties on the Somalis. When Gary Gordon was eventually killed, Randy Shughart then picked up Gordon’s CAR-15 and gave it to Michael Durant. Shugart went back around the nose of the chopper and held off the mob for about ten more minutes, before he was killed. The Somali mob then overran the crash site and killed all but one of the helicopter crew: pilot CW3Michael Durant. He was nearly beaten to death but was saved when members of Aidid’s militia came to take him prisoner.
|August 13, 1958 – October 3, 1993 (aged 35)|
|; Shughart as a Sergeant First Class|
|Place of birth||Lincoln, Nebraska|
|Place of death||Mogadishu, Somalia|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1975-1993|
|Rank||Sergeant First Class|
|Battles/wars||Operation Just Cause Battle of Mogadishu|
|Awards||Medal of Honor(posthumous) Purple Heart|
|Gary Ivan Gordon|
|August 30, 1960 – October 3, 1993 (aged 33)|
|; Gordon as a Sergeant First Class|
|Place of birth||Lincoln, Maine|
|Place of death||Mogadishu, Somalia|
|Place of burial||Lincoln Cemetery, Penobscot County, Maine|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1978–1993|
|Battles/wars||Operation Just Cause Battle of Mogadishu|
|Awards||Medal of Honor(posthumous) Purple Heart Meritorious Service Medal Army Commendation Medal Joint Service Achievement Medal (2) Joint Meritorious Unit Award Good Conduct Medal (4)|
For requesting to help defend their comrades in the face of overwhelming odds, SFC Shughart and MSG Gordon were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Repeated attempts by the Somalis to mass forces and overrun the American positions in a series of firefights near the first crash site were neutralized by aggressive small arms fire and by strafing runs and rocket attacks from AH-6J Little Bird helicopter gunships of the Nightstalkers, the only air unit equipped for and trained for night fighting. The Somali National Alliance militia casualties were reported as 700 killed and about 1,000 wounded. Other Somali leaders put their losses at 312 killed and 814 wounded. A relief convoy comprised of elements from the Task Force 2-14 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, accompanied by Malaysian and Pakistani UN forces, arrived at the first crash site at around 2:00 in the morning. No contingency planning or coordination with UN forces had been arranged prior to the operation; consequently, the recovery of the surrounded U.S. soldiers was significantly complicated and delayed. Determined to protect all members of the rescue convoy, Gen. Garrison made sure that the convoy would roll out in force. When the convoy finally pushed into the city, it consisted of more than 100 vehicles including Malaysian forces’ German made Condor APCs, four Pakistani tanks, American Humvees and several five-ton flatbed trucks. This two-mile-long column was supported by several other Black Hawks and Cobra assault helicopters stationed with the 10th Mountain Division. Meanwhile, the “Little Birds” of Task Force Ranger continued their defense of the downed crew and rescuers of Super 6-1. The American assault force sustained heavy casualties, including several killed, and a Malaysian soldier was also killed when an RPG hit his Condor vehicle. Seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. The battle was over by 6:30 AM on Monday, October 4. American forces were finally evacuated to the UN base by the armored convoy. While leaving the crash site, a group of Rangers and Delta Force operators realized that there was no room left in the vehicles for them and were forced to run out of the city on foot, where they were later picked up by the convoy at a rendezvous point on National Street. This has been commonly referred to as the “Mogadishu Mile.” U.S. forces suffered one casualty during the mile, Sergeant Randal J. Ramaglia, after he was hit by a bullet on the back, and successfully evacuated. In all, 19 U.S. soldiers were killed in action during the battle and another 83 were wounded in action. After the battle, the bodies of several U.S. casualties of the conflict, (crewmembers of the Black Hawk “Super 6-4″ and their protectors, Delta Force soldiers SFC Shughart and MSG Gordon) were dragged through the streets of Mogadishu by crowds of local civilians and SNA forces. The Malaysian forces lost one soldier and had seven injured, while the Pakistanis suffered two injured. Casualties on the Somali side were heavy, with estimates on fatalities ranging from 315 to over 2,000 combatants. The Somali casualties were a mixture of militiamen and local civilians. Somali civilians suffered heavy casualties due to the dense urban character of that portion of Mogadishu. Two days later, a mortar round fell on the U.S. compound, killing one U.S. soldier, SFC Matt Rierson, and injuring another twelve. A-team on special mission to Durant’s downed Blackhawk helicopter had 2 wounded, Boxerman and James on October 6. Two weeks after the Battle of Mogadishu, General Garrison officially accepted responsibility. In a handwritten letter to President Clinton, Garrison took full responsibility for the outcome of the battle. He wrote that Task Force Ranger had adequate intelligence for the mission and that their objective (capturing targets from the Olympic Hotel) was met.
Order of battle
U.S. and UNOSOM
Units involved in the battle:
- Task Force Ranger, including :
- C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) — aka “Delta Force“
- Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
- 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (The Night Stalkers) with MH-6J and AH-6 “Little Birds” and MH-60A/L Black Hawks
- Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen from the USAF 24th Special Tactics Squadron
- SEAL Team Six (four Navy SEAL operators)
- CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln & Carrier Air Wing 11
- Task Force-10th Mountain Division, including:
- United Nations Forces
The size and organizational structure of Somali forces are not known in detail. In all, between 2,000-4,000 regular militia members are believed to have participated, almost all of which belonged to Aidid’s Somali National Alliance, drawing largely from the Habar Gedir clan.
Following the battle, the bodies of American soldiers (MIA) were dragged through the streets and mangled. Through negotiation and threats to the Habr Gidr Clan leaders by ambassador Robert B. Oakley, all bodies were eventually recovered. The bodies were returned in horrible condition, one with a severed head. Michael Durant was released after 2 weeks of captivity. On the beach near the base, a memorial was held for those who were killed in combat.
PFC Mat Aznan Awang, driver of a Malaysian Condor armoured personnel carrier, was killed when his vehicle was hit by an RPG on October 3. He wasposthumously promoted to corporal, and awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa medal. One of the known GGK foreign operations involving this regiment was an attack by Somali militia on a convoy transporting UN Intelligence Chief in UNOSOM II on July 18, 1994. In the action, 2 members of the regiment were killed in action while another 4 were wounded. One of the injured men was taken hostage by the militia and was released 9 hours later.
A Pakistani soldier was wounded when his vehicle was attacked by Somali insurgents. Another Pakistani soldier was also wounded.
Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, the U.S. special representative to Somalia, is quoted as saying: “My own personal estimate is that there must have been 1,500 to 2,000 Somalis killed and wounded that day, because that battle was a true battle. And the Americans and those who came to their rescue, were being shot at from all sides … a deliberate war battle, if you will, on the part of the Somalis. And women and children were being used as shields and some cases women and children were actually firing weapons, and were coming from all sides. Sort of a rabbit warren of huts, houses, alleys, and twisting and turning streets, so those who were trying to defend themselves were shooting back in all directions. Helicopter gun ships were being used as well as all sorts of automatic weapons on the ground by the U.S. and the United Nations. The Somalis, by and large, were using automatic rifles and grenade launchers and it was a very nasty fight, as intense as almost any battle you would find. However, Aidid himself claimed that only 315 – civilians and militia – were killed and 812 wounded. Captain Haad, in an interview on American public television, said 133 of the SNA militia were killed.
|1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta|
|MSG Gary Gordon||33||Killed defending the crew of Super Six-Four||Medal of Honor, Purple Heart|
|SFC Randy Shughart||35||Killed defending the crew of Super Six-Four||Medal of Honor, Purple Heart|
|SSG Daniel Busch||25||Crashed on Super Six-One, mortally wounded defending the downed crew||Silver Star, Purple Heart|
|SFC Earl Fillmore||28||Killed moving to the first crash site||Silver Star, Purple Heart|
|SFC Matt Rierson||33||Killed on October 6, 1993, by a mortar which landed just outside the hangar||Silver Star, Purple Heart|
|MSG Tim “Griz” Martin||38||Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy||Silver Star, Purple Heart.|
|3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment|
|CPL Jamie Smith||21||Mortally wounded with the pinned-down force around crash site one||Bronze Star with Valor Deviceand Oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart|
|SPC James Cavaco||26||Killed on the Lost Convoy||Bronze Star with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|SGT Casey Joyce||24||Killed on the Lost Convoy||Bronze Star with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|PFC Richard “Alphabet” Kowalewski||20||Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy, died later that day||Bronze Star with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|SGT Dominick Pilla||21||Killed on Struecker’s convoy||Bronze Star with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|SGT Lorenzo Ruiz||27||Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy, died in route to a hospital in Germany||Bronze Star with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment|
|SSG William Cleveland||34||Crew chief on Super Six-Four, killed||Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|SSG Thomas Field||25||Crew chief on Super Six-Four, killed||Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|CW4 Raymond Frank||45||Copilot of Super Six-Four, killed||Silver Star, Air Medal with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|CW3 Clifton “Elvis” Wolcott||36||Pilot of Super Six-One, died in crash||Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|CW2 Donovan “Bull” Briley||33||Copilot of Super Six-One, died in crash||Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Valor Device,Purple Heart|
|2nd Battalion 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division|
|SGT Cornell Houston||31||Killed on the rescue convoy||Bronze Star with Valor Device, de Fleury Medal, Purple Heart|
|PFC James Martin Jr.||23||Killed on the rescue convoy||Purple Heart|
Chalk Four Ranger returns to base after a mission in Somalia, 1993. In a national security policy review session held in the White House on October 6, 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton directed the acting chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral David E. Jeremiah, to stop all actions by U.S. forces against Aidid except those required in self-defense. He also reappointed Ambassador Robert B. Oakley as special envoy to Somalia in an attempt to broker a peace settlement and then announced that all U.S. Forces would withdraw from Somalia no later than March 31, 1994. On December 15, 1993, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin stepped down, taking much of the blame for what was deemed a failed policy. A few hundred Marines remained offshore to assist with any noncombatant evacuation mission that might occur regarding the 1,000-plus U.S. civilians and military advisers remaining as part of the U.S. liaison mission. The Ready Battalion of the 24th Infantry Division, 1-64 Armor, was sent from Fort Stewart, Georgia, to Mogadishu in the wake of this battle to secure the city and prevent a recurrence of hostilities. After all of the U.S. troops were withdrawn in March 1994, 20,000 U.N. troops were still in Somalia. By the late Spring of 1994 all of the remaining U.N. troops were withdrawn, ending UNOSOM-II.
Policy changes & Political Implications
The mission in Somalia was seen by many as a failure.The Clinton administration in particular endured considerable criticism for the outcome of the operation. The main elements of the criticism surround the administration`s decision to leave the region before completing the humanitarian and security objectives of the operation, as well as the perceived failure to recognize the threat Al-Qaida elements posed in the region as well as threat against United States security interests at home. Critics claim that Osama Bin Laden and other members of Al-Qaida provided support and training to Mohammed Farrah Aideed forces. Osama Bin Laden even denigrated the administration’s decision to prematurely depart the region stating that it displayed “the weakness, feebleness and cowardliness of the US soldier. The loss of American military personal during the Black Hawk Down operation evoked public outcry. Television images of American soldiers being dragged through the streets by Somalis was too graphic for the American public to endure. The Clinton Administration responded by altering its regional humanitarian efforts by scaling down United States involvement in Africa. On September 26, 2006, during an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace, Former President Bill Clinton provided his version of how the events surrounding the mission in Somalia. President Clinton defended his exit strategy for US forces and denied that the departure was premature. Clinton stated that conservative republicans were pushing him to leave the region before the objectives of the operation could be achieved. In the same interview Clinton stated, “…[Conservative Republicans] were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in ‘Black Hawk down,’ and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations. His response would seem to suggest that the United States was not scared away from pursuing their humanitarian goals because of the loss of US forces during Black Hawk Down. This is in contrast to Bin Laden’s statement to the contrary. In the same interview, President Clinton also stated unequivocally that Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaida had absolutely nothing do to do with the events of Black Hawk Down. He went on to say that the mission in Somalia was only about Mohammed Farrah Aideed and any statement to the contrary is “bull”.
Links with Al-Qaeda
There have been allegations that Osama bin Laden‘s Al-Qaeda movement was involved in training and funding of Aidid’s men. In his 2001 book, Holy War, Inc., CNN reporter Peter Bergen interviewed bin Laden who affirmed these allegations. According to Bergen, bin Laden asserted that fighters affiliated with his group were involved in killing American troops in Somalia in 1993, a claim he had earlier made to the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The Al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia are rumored to have included the organization’s military chief, Mohammed Atef, later killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Four and a half years after the Battle of Mogadishu, in an interview in May 1998, bin Laden disparaged the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia.
Representation in popular culture
In 1999, writer Mark Bowden published the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, which chronicles the events that surrounded the battle. The book was adapted into the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott. The film describes the events surrounding the operation and some of the acts of bravery seen on that day. There are obvious differences between the book and the movie, which left out central sections and themes of the book, such as the involvement of civilians in the battle, and de-emphasized the key decision to stay in the area after the initial operation was completed, among others. According to journalist Kevin Sites—one of the few Westerners to have reported from Mogadishu since the events of 1993—thousands went to see the film when it premiered in Somalia in 2002. Many people in Mogadishu were angered by it, calling it “propaganda” that focused on the 18 Americans killed and 83 wounded in the 18-hour battle, when an estimated 315 to 2,000 Somalis were also killed. When it was learned that the battle has been turned into a game for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation 2, Somalis said it made a mockery of a real-life tragedy. Mike Durant told his own story in his 2003 book In the Company of Heroes. Later, in 2005, Staff Sergeant Matthew Eversmann, US Army Ranger, leader of Chalk 4 during the battle, compiled several different accounts into a book called The Battle of Mogadishu.