On this day, October 3rd, in 1993, Our Elite Forces embarked on a routine mission to capture a brutal Warlord. The day was anything but routine in the opening salvo against an enemy we did not recognize: Al-Qaeda.
We restricted our Troops in ways that we never should: They could not engage an enemy that was attacking unarmed civilians but were required to wait until the enemy were actually shooting at them. The CinC refused them necessary equipment requested by the General "because it would appear too aggressive."
We've learned many things since this historic Battle: Urban Combat has undergone drastic changes. We saw yet another National Retreat following yet another overwhelming Victory by our Valiant Troops. The Target, Aidid was not captured that day, but most of his junior leadership was. 160 Rangers and Delta Force Soldiers took on Tens of Thousands of drugged up thugs in the very heart of enemy territory.
It was not known on that day that Al-Qaeda had trained and equipped some of those atrocious thugs with RPG's purposely modified to shoot at OUR helicopters. They took down two. Our Valorous Troops protected the lives of the pilots fighting all day and through the night to bring every body home.
At the end of the day, 18 American Soldiers paid the ultimate price for Freedom, 73 of 160 were wounded in a Victory that earned two Men the Medal of Honor and Mark Bowden would memorialize their battle in a series of articles to become a book to become one of the most accurate war movies to date: Black Hawk Down.
Today, 15 years later, Somalia is still embroiled in Civil War. Al-Qaeda and islamist terrorists are still highly influential there. Malcontent idealists from the United States have even traveled to fight in the forces of islamist rebels in 2008 in Somalia.
Somalia continues to be a lesson to the Military and the Nation; a lesson in what not to do by our Politicians. It is a lesson to the people in the importance of resolve and in leaders to elect. It is a lesson to our politicians that we MUST listen to our Generals. Our Military has learned the lessons. Will Our Citizens & Our Politicians learn theirs?
But don't just take my word for it. Read the words of the men there: Chief Michael J Durant was the pilot held hostage by the Warlord. Mark Bowden interviewed the Rangers, the Pilots, Delta Force, and the enemy. In Mr. Durant's words, Black Hawk Down was the first comprehensive review of what happened that day, the first time each participant was able to see the actions of all that day.