Blackhawk Down
Basics:
Analysis: How a relief mission ended in a firefight
Background: A defining battle leaves lasting scars

Video
  • Today's video
  • Video categorized by speaker
  • Audio
  • Audio interview clips
  • Radio transmission clips
  • Photos
    Somalia: A Nation in Name Only
  • Introduction
  • Guns and fear
  • Daily living
  • The future

  • A Soldier's View
  • Maps
    Graphics
    Full text
  • The mailgram sent to Ranger Spec. Jamie Smith's parents
  • Gen. Garrison's letter about the events of Oct. 3
  • Who's who
  • Where are they now
  • Glossary
    Index
    Ask the author
  • Round 1 of Q&A
  • Round 2 of Q&A
  • Round 3 of Q&A
  • Round 4 of Q&A
  • Round 5 of Q&A
  • Round 6 of Q&A
  • Round 7 of Q&A
  • Round 8 of Q&A
  • Round 9 of Q&A
  • Round 10 of Q&A
  • Round 11 of Q&A
  • Round 12 of Q&A
  • Round 13 of Q&A
  • Round 14 of Q&A
  • Round 15 of Q&A
  • Round 16 of Q&A
  • Round 17 of Q&A
  • Round 18 of Q&A
  • Round 19 of Q&A
  • Round 20 of Q&A
  • Final notes on Q&A
  • About the series
    Inquirer

    Round 1

    Hassan Farah Chicago IL 11/16/97 7:15:01 AM
    Having worked as an information specialist at the American Embassy in Mogadishu (1977-91), I have to admit that the U.S. and the Soviet Union's rivalry in the Horn during the Cold War changed the landscape of a peaceful pastoral nation into w
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Mary Weber San Diego,CA 11/17/97 1:42:22 PM
    When will your book be available? I'll bid for the first copy! My son was there..we don't have the same last name any more..and he would not want to be identified, either. THANKS for telling the "real" story. It's
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment. The book will be published next fall.

    mike drewniak new jersey 11/17/97 2:48:16 PM
    Mark, just wanted to say great work. Very compelling reading. Won't miss a word of it. (by the way, I work for one of your former editors, Dave Tucker, now at the Star-Ledger, in the Trenton bureau).
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Benjamin T. Zartman 3rd Hatfield, PA 11/17/97 3:36:28 PM
    Mark, Great work so far. I really enjoy getting the whole picture or story with details, unstead of the usual headline news or shallow news I'm so used to seeing on the TV and with most newspapaers. Thanks again, continue with the excellent in d
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Lt Bill Schroeder Glenside, Pa 11/17/97 3:54:51 PM
    Thanks for telling the story of America's finest light infantry. Look into how many field grade and general officers were in Somalia versus soldiers; and the micromanagement that led to 19 friends,sons,and brothers dying. What the hell was worth 19
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Ward Ft. Benning. GA 11/17/97 5:19:47 PM
    How did you get all your Info? I'm in the 75 th Rgr.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    My first interviews were with Rangers at Ft. Benning and pilots at Ft. Campbell, arranged through your command. From them I learned the names and numbers of former Rangers, each of whom had kept up with three or four buddies (in and out of the service). Eventually my list of men who had fought that day in Mogadishu was too long for me to keep up. I've interviewed about 70 now ... and counting. I also spoke with Air Force PJs down in Florida. I interviewed brass from Gen. Colin Powell on down, and along the way accumulated lots of helpful documents -- like official battle accounts, timelines, etc. -- and got to watch videotapes and listen to audiotapes of the battle. MB

    JACK CALLAHAN TUCKAHOE N.J. 11/17/97 9:15:15 PM
    MARK, GREAT ARTICLE, TERRIFIC. JUST ONE FUBAR, AN AK-47 WOULD BE SIMILAR TO THE M-14 7.622 ROUND ..AN AKM OR AK-74 5.56 ROUND WOULD BE EQUIVILENT TO M-16
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for pointing out the error, Jack. We'll fix it. MB

    Someone who was there. Ft. Benning/GA 11/17/97 11:14:49 PM
    Where did you get your information? Is it necessary to release this information to the public?
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    I answered the where question above. I feel it's important for the public to know what happens when we commit troops, for too many reasons to list them all here. The reality of war ought to give the public and our leaders appropriate pause before risking the lives of American soldiers. For instance, one reaction I've heard a lot is how surprised people are at the youth of the soldiers. With the advent of a smaller volunteer military, the public has less and less of an accurate picture of our armed forces every day. One reason I think troops were committed in Mogadishu was the heady feeling that followed the Gulf War, which looked nice and antiseptic on all those videos on CNN. It is also important for soldiers to know that the world is watching them, that the actions they take will be examined and scrutinized, debated, etc. Just like any other institution, the military can profit by some independent oversight and criticism, just as it often deserves our praise and admiration. These things can only happen honestly when people know what's going on. MB

    Jim Austin Hatboro, PA 11/17/97 11:27:01 PM
    Your first piece said this was the biggest single firefight for American troops since the Vietnam War. Weren't there bigger firefights during the Persian Gulf War?
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    The Gulf War was a bigger war, without question, but the ground fighting that occurred was mostly fast and furious. The Battle of Mogadishu was a 15-hour-long gunfight pitting about 120 American soldiers against thousands of Somali irregulars and militia. Before using that phrase I checked it with Army officials, who agreed it was accurate. MB

    Mike Diemer Steamboat Springs, Colorado 11/18/97 1:20:19 AM
    My Brother, Dave, told me this would be coming to print. Glad to see it. I would like to get your book when it becomes available. David also tells me there will be something on PBS. If this is indeed true, can you give me any details? Th
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Dave was a big help to me, and is a great storyteller and was a fine soldier. Our documentary will air in Philadelphia on Channel 12 at 9 pm on Dec. 2. We do not yet have an air time for a national broadcast, but if you keep checking with this web site it will tell you when. MB

    Shumate Fayetteville NC 11/18/97 8:46:46 AM
    Would it be possible to include the audio only of "Delta Steve's" interviews in the audio section? (for those of us with low-speed, less-sophisticated computers) Thank you.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Our technical folks are working on it. MB

    Henry Goldman NY, NY 11/18/97 9:18:20 AM
    Mark, I'm really enjoying your writing...
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Joseph F. Burns Atco, NJ 08004 11/18/97 11:34:46 AM
    My nephew Ssgt. John Burns was one of the Rangers wounded in the raid, I want to know if you interviewed him about his part in the events of that day?
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    I have heard much about the very heroic Staff Sgt. Burns and would like very much to talk to him. I don't know his address or phone number and haven't been able to find it. Would you please ask him to contact me at 215-854-2400. MB

    charlie mccurdy glenside, pa 11/18/97 11:42:46 AM
    great series, particularly the background piece!
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Trish Breeds Redmond, WA 11/18/97 1:23:03 PM
    A friend told me about your series on Somalia. My son was there with the 10th Mountian Division 214th Inf. He is now a police officer in Castle Rock, Colorado. I have told him to check out the story. So far no mention of the 214th and the
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    As your son knows, Trish, the 10th enters the story closer to the end. MB

    Lt Bill Schroeder Glenside Pa 11/18/97 1:29:28 PM
    It is important that the public know about the engagement in order to educate and hopefully save American lives in the future when soleless and gutless politicians order us into a hot LZ. Keep your feet and knees together..AMF
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    As the Rangers say, hoo-ah! MB

    Sean Naylor Washington, D.C. 11/18/97 3:19:13 PM
    Mark, how long did the research for this series take you? How much did it cost? And are you planning to turn it into a book?
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Research for something like this kind of starts out slow and gathers steam. I was interested in the battle as a potential story from the first day I heard about it, but assumed that someone who specializes in military writing would probably do it up well. In the spring of 1996, working on another story, I met the father of one of the Rangers killed on Oct. 3rd, and over a long afternoon he told me what he knew of the fight. After that talk I checked out what had been written and was, frankly, surprised to find so little. So I started working on it. I've explained already how it went from there. I have been working on the story exclusively since February. I'm not sure how much it's costed. That's not my department. Yes, it will be a book. Look for it in fall of next year. MB

    AKACOP HIGHLANDS RANCH,CO 11/18/97 4:31:44 PM
    I WAS IN THE 214INF BN. I WAS PART OF SECOND PL. I WAS AN AG. AND I WAS IN SOMALIA. I HAVE ONLY READ PARTS OF YOUR STORY BUT MY MOTHER HAS READ ALL OF IT. I WAS WONDERING IF YOU WERE GOING TO GIVE CREDIT TO 214. I DONT WANT TO BE RUDE BUT MOST OF THE
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Keep reading.

    AKACOP HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO. 11/18/97 4:40:40 PM
    JUST LOOKING THROUGH YOUR WHO'S WHO. YOU LIST ONLY SPECIAL OPPS PERSONEL. YOU DONT LIST COL. DAVID WHO MADE THE BATTLE PLANE ON THE HOOD OF A TRUCK BY FLASHLIGHT OR THE 125 LIGHT INFANTRY TROOPS THAT WERE A LARGE PART OF THE NIGHT. THANKS AGAIN
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Keep reading. MB

    Timothy J. Komada (email: TKom Williamsburg, Virginia (orig. Holland, PA) 11/18/97 8:00:32 PM
    Apparently, at the eventual Medal of Honor Ceremony at The White House after the battle, one of the dead soldiers' fathers refused to shake Clinton's hand, rebuking him and stating that he blamed the President for his son's death. Do you recount that
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    I certainly will in the book. We may or may not be able to get it in the series, since that took place some time after the battle. That was Randy Shughart's father. MB

    chris dugan philly PA 11/18/97 9:06:35 PM
    mark, I'm a former Navy SEAL who is attending the Wharton School at UPENN now. If you are still in Philly, I'd like to get together for a beer or coffee sometime to talk about you r book research. I think you put together a great story. email
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Chris, your email address did not make it on this message. I'd enjoy meeting with you. Call me at 215-854-2400, the Inquirer foreign desk. MB

    Michael Wise San Francisco, CA 11/19/97 2:13:35 AM
    Thank you for such a fascinating series! I have often wondered what really happened on that fateful day...and find the accounts of the people who were involved to be riveting. When will this series be televised? --Michael Wise/Wired Magazine
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks, Mike. The documentary will air Dec. 2 at 9 pm in Philly on Channel 12, WHYY-TV. No date has been set yet for a national broadcast. I enjoy your magazine. I'm longtime friends with Jon Katz, my favorite internet columnist. MB

    marion hetzel swarthmore, pa. 11/19/97 8:56:15 AM
    Mark, Have you written anything else? I love your style of writing. I can feel what each person is going through. I usually skip over blood and gore and war stories are not my cup of tea, but your story held me captive!
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks, Marion. I have written two books, "Dr. Dealer" (Warner Books, 1987) and "Bringing the Heat" (Knopf, 1994). The first you'll have to get in a library or used booksellers. The second is still in a lot of stores and there's lots of unsold copies out there. I have been writing newspaper and magazine stories for the Inquier for 18 years, and have written for Rolling Stone, Playboy, Sports Illustrated and other magazines. One of my stories, "Finders Keepers," (1985) was made into the film "Money for Nothing," starring John Cusack, available in your local video store. MB

    Paul M Pressley Mount Holly, NJ 11/19/97 9:12:44 AM
    Will this series be a book? It really isn't worth buying the paper daily for such a brief article. I can't stand reading the "paper" on-line.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Look for it in Fall 1998. Grove/Atlantic is publishing it. MB

    Sue McLean, VA 11/19/97 10:27:59 AM
    Just wondered if you had cooperation of the Dept of Army? Also if "Delta" interview was "off the record" or sanctioned by the Army. I take exception to "some" of your comments reported as "factual" when they might better be considered, "an opinio
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    The Army helped me to an extend, at least initially. I think I wore them out with my questions and requests. Most of the interviews were conducted outside of official channels. One of the Delta soliders talked to me with official permission (he is no longer in that unit) and the others were unsanctioned. Other than in the introductory piece which accompanied Chapter One, everything in the story, all descriptions and characterizations, are drawn directly from those who were there. If you listen to some of the excerpts of interviews on line, I think you'll get an idea of how the story came together. There was more license taken in the introductory piece, which sought to summarize some of what will be demonstrated in detail in the main story. MB

    jford voorhees, nj 11/19/97 10:44:23 AM
    No questions. Your story is outstanding. Thank you.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Ken Ward Ft. Dix NJ 11/19/97 2:56:31 PM
    I was deployed to Mogadishu Airport with the USAF Security Police on "Bloody Sunday". We assisted with the wounded when they made it back to the airfield. When is the television report going to be aired? e-mail wardk@x1.mcguire.af.mil Thanks!
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    In Philly on Channel 12, WHYY at 9 pm on Dec. 2. No national airdate yet. Thanks MB

    thom kelly philly pa 11/19/97 8:17:37 PM
    dear mark, i was in 3rd ranger battalion 3 years ago. and have lost contact with one of my best friends there and today he is the subject of todays story please please i would really like to know if there is any way for you to contact or get message
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    You can reach me at 215-854-2400, the Inquirer foreign desk. If I can help, I will. MB

    Barry Kelly Marlton, NJ 11/19/97 9:33:24 PM
    Nice work! I've alerted my Vietnam vet. friends across the country to check it out. I had no idea they still used the M-60, much less that they still call it a 'pig'. I'm not sure what else you've covered, but will watch for your byline.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Ted Johnson Tucson, AZ 11/19/97 10:37:05 PM
    Great job Mark and crew! How many chapters on line and will the PBS show nationaly on 12/2?
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Right now the count is 30 chapters in the paper and on-line, although there will be one or two other related stories (like an epilogue)that might not be called chapters. The documentary takes more of an overview. It is not as much about the battle in particular, although that's in there, as about how and why it happened. MB

    KEN DWYER WATERTOWN. NY 11/20/97 5:38:34 AM
    WHY HASN'T SSG. JOHN J. BURNS, A DELAWARE COUNTY NATIVE, BRONZE STAR AWARDEE OF THIS BATTLE, WHOM WAS MENTIONED IN "DAVID HACKWORTH'S BOOK ..HAZARDOUS DUTY..BEEN MENTIONED YET????? HE SAVED A FEW RANGERS!!
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Ask him to call me. I don't know how to contact him MB

    Ken Dea Chadds Ford, PA 11/20/97 11:19:11 AM
    This is riviting. You really put us in the thick of it. I can see a movie deal out of this. If so, they have to leave it exactly the way it is. Those rangers deserve nothing less.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Becky Yacone Haddonfield, N.J. 11/20/97 12:02:47 PM
    My husband, CPT James Yacone, was one of the pilots on Super 62. Why do you say it was supposed to be paired with Super 64? Super 61 and Super 62 carried "the D men" and the remaining chalks (including Super 64) carried Ranger support. All
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Super 61 and Super 62 were assigned to fly the low orbit over the target building. As Mike Goffena describes it, they were at opposite ends of a 360. When Super 61 was shot down, Durant's Super 64 was called in to take its place, thereby pairing it with your husband's. If he would like to speak to me, I'd welcome the opportunity. 215-854-2400, on the Inquirer foreign desk. He's a brave man. MB

    Ed Apollo Mullica Hill, NJ 11/20/97 12:37:41 PM
    I have never looked forward to seeing the next day's paper until your story came out. Kudos to your style and prose; honor, respect, and admiration to those who experienced it!
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks for your comment.

    Rick Rothacker Arlington, VA 11/20/97 5:33:14 PM
    Just wanted to complement you on some great work. -- Rick Rothacker, former Neighbors correspondent, current defense reporter at Legi-Slate News Service.
    Mark Bowden 11/20/97 5:00:57 PM
    Thanks. MB



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