In the early hours of Oct. 4, 1993, American service members were finishing a fight that would end up as one of the legendary battles in U.S. history.
If you’ve ever seen Black Hawk Down, you know some of the story behind the famed Battle of Mogadishu. Members of Task Force Ranger engaged with Somali militiamen in a 15-hour firefight. Eighteen Americans died, and 73 were wounded.
The U.S. military had launched a humanitarian mission in Somalia the year before, providing food and aid to locals. Somalia had been in various forms of civil war for years when the United Nations stepped in to help in 1992. Local warlord Gen. Muhammed Farah Aideed ordered attacks that killed U.N. forces and American military police officers.
When members of Task Force Ranger ran Operation Gothic Serpent, an attempt to capture Aideed, two of their Black Hawk helicopters were shot down. The men then fought for their lives against attacks from Somali militiamen on the ground.
The Battle of Mogadishu was devastating for Task Force Ranger and forces in Somalia. Only about 100 men returned from battle after holding off more than 1,000 enemy combatants.
The men on the ground that day will go down in history as resilient war fighters. They held off their enemies when the odds were stacked high against them. They saved as many of their own as they could. They fought in hopes of peace and freedom for a ravaged country.