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Battle of Mogadishu: Prelude to Global War on Terror

Active Military
Active Military
Veteran News
Veteran News
October 3, 2018
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In 1993, Rangers and operators from Delta, participated in an immense urban battle in Mogadishu that lasted from the 3rd of October 1993, till the 4th of October 1993. At the end of the day we saw the lives of 19 U.S. Servicemembers lost, with 73 wounded, 1 captured and 2 Blackhawk helicopters shot down. Enemy casualties ranged anywhere between 300-500 Somalis killed. The battle was made famous by the movie Blackhawk Down that premiered a mere 8 years after the event.The whole ordeal was a dress rehearsal for the Global War on Terror. How?For one, the militias in the city of Mogadishu were not always friendly towards each other, however, they banded together to fight Americans. While they hated each other, they hated us more and were able to mobilize and execute successful attacks on U.S. Forces on numerous "fronts".Instead of having friendly lines and having the enemy crash onto the stalwart defenses, the militias took the lessons learned from the Viet Cong and applied them extremely well, launching attacks from any given direction at any given time. Couple that with the lack of uniforms, the fighters had, in essence, perfected asymmetrical warfare.[caption id="attachment_18771" align="aligncenter" width="300"]


Michael Durant's helicopter over Mogadishu. Mike Goodale rode on this one.[/caption]Despite the valiant fight that the Americans put up and extreme casualties inflicted on the enemy, politics played a very strong role in the withdrawal of the United States from Somalia. We lost 19 brave souls. We paid in blood for land and Task Force Ranger captured their targets, but ultimately the United States had to withdraw.When looking back retrospectively as a young man, watching this movie in 2001, I cannot help but draw parallels to my time in Iraq. The entire city was hostile. The enemy didn't wear uniforms. Warring factions put aside their quarrels to fight Americans...While our battles were not as pitched, the environment was quite similar...


The Battle of Mogadishu was a dress rehearsal for GWOT. Only time will tell if we truly learned the lessons we should have from that fateful October day.Never forget the brave men that gave their lives that fateful day.

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