On the afternoon of 3 October 1993, informed that two leaders of Aidid's clan were at a residence in the "Black Sea" neighborhood in Mogadishu, the task force sent 19 aircraft, 12 vehicles, and 160 men to arrest them. During the mission, Private Todd Blackburn (who, contrary to the film adaptation of the events, arrived in Somalia at the same time as the rest of the 75th Ranger Regiment) missed the rope while fast-roping from an MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. He fell 70 feet to the street below, badly injuring himself. The two Somali leaders were quickly arrested. The prisoners and Blackburn were loaded on a convoy of ground vehicles. However, armed militiamen and civilians, some of them women and children, converged on the target area from all over the city. Sergeant Dominick Pilla and a Somali combatant spotted each other and fired at the same time. Both were killed. The operation's commanders were stunned to hear that a soldier had been killed, as they expected no casualties during the operation. During the battle's first hours, the MH-60 Black Hawk, Super Six One, piloted by Cliff Wolcott, was shot down by a Somali combatant using a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG). Both of the pilots were killed, but the crew survived the crash landing. Later, another Black Hawk helicopter, Super Six Four, was shot down by an RPG fired from the ground. No rescue team was immediately available, and the small surviving crew, including one of the pilots, Michael Durant, couldn't move. Two Delta snipers — Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart provided cover from a helicopter, and repeatedly volunteered to secure the crash site. On their third try, they were given permission, both men aware that it would probably cost them their lives. When they arrived, they attempted to secure the site, but Gordon was killed, leaving only Durant and Shughart. Eventually, after holding off and killing more than 25 Somalis, Shughart was killed and Durant taken hostage. Meanwhile, the remaining Rangers and Delta operators fought their way to the first crash site, where they found the crew. They soon found themselves surrounded by Somali Habr Gidr militia. The Somali commander, Colonel Sharif Hassan Giumale, decided to kill the U.S. troops with mortar fire, and Somali militia prepared to bombard the besieged Americans with 60mm mortars. However, Colonel Giumale called off the mortar strike after information of possible civilian hostages arose. Repeated attempts by the Somalis to overrun U.S. positions were beaten back with heavy small arms fire accompanied by strafing and rocket fire from helicopters. A rescue convoy was organized, made up of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division and Malaysian and Pakistani forces. In heavy combat with the Somalis, the rescue convoy broke through the encirclement and rescued the besieged forces. The mission's objective of capturing Aidid's associates was accomplished, but the battle turned out to be the most difficult close combat that U.S. troopers had engaged in since the Vietnam War. In the end, two MH-60 Black Hawks were shot down, another was seriously damaged, and 18 U.S. troopers and a Malaysian soldier on the rescue convoy were killed, and 85 were wounded. Estimates of Somali fatalities are around 1,000 militiamen killed during the battle, with over 3,000 wounded. The Delta snipers, Gordon and Shughart, were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for their sacrifice.
Tags: star, 6th, pers, personnel, p