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

  • 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
    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
    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

    Round 13

    dave Harleysville, PA
    Mark; This is the most eye-opening piece I've ever read except for the Bible. My son will read this somehow, someway. I sure wouldn't want my daughter in that situation. Thanks for the effort.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Dave. The book, due out in the Fall, will cover even more ground. I hope you see it. MB

    Mark Jackson San Antonio, TX
    I was actually really enjoying this series until the past two chapters. And then it all came crashing down with the self indulgent crap of Phil Lepre... It was a bad story when he told it four years ago, and its still bad.
    Mark Bowden
    I think Phil is telling the truth. MB

    Alan Albuquerque, NM
    Mark, Just wanted to echo the praise for the series, your reporting style, and the interactive web site. I wish I could get the videos to work correctly--guess I'll have to wait for the CD-ROM and video deal coming soon. I'm looking forward to the book!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Alan. Try calling the folks at Philly Online: 215-854-5002. Maybe they can help. Ask for Jennifer. She's a wizard. MB

    former Infantryman Arlington, Va
    Mark, Re: my question in round 11 about the perimeter -- No I dont expect a perimeter to be a perfect geometric shape, BUT when used in describing a defensive position it usually means that units or individuals are usually placed to mutually support each other or to protect a certain area. In this case, the defensive plan was to control the intersections or approaches to the crash site -- Capt Steele's position was not tied in with the other positions around the crash site and added nothing to the defense of the crash site. Therefore it was not part of the defensive perimeter of the crash site.
    JAC San Francisco, CA
    Mark, thank you for your efforts in telling this story. As a West Point classmate of 1LT Perino, I hoped you would recall more of his and 1LT DiTomasso's actions during the battle. Were you able to interview these two officers? I understand the importance recalling the events from the soldiers' point of view, but you say little about the thoughts, orders, strategies, etc. of the full chain-of- command. Will you be discussing these events in the book? Also, are you aware of or have written any works regarding the Gulf War, focusing on a units' actions during battle? As a veteren of that war, I would like to read some of the events with your writing style. Lastly, my opinion is to keep this story as a book and documentary. Do not degrade the actions of these soldiers by succumbbing to Hollywood sensationalism, actor glorification, or the just plain bad acting of a made for T.V. movie. Americans need to see this story as it is, graphically, without Tom Cruise, hype and alteration to serve the needs of producers. Thanks again.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. I do plan to write more about Lts. Perino and DiTomasso in the book, as well as other commanders. I have gotten a more enthusiastic response from highers up as this story has progressed. My approach was (and will remain, for the most part) to tell the story from the bottom up, so the individual soldiers are still my most important material. Of course, Perino and DiTomasso were right in amongst 'em. I have not written, nor have a read anything of this order about the Gulf War, although I'm certain much could be done. Maybe a future project in there. As for a movie, I have no plans at present, although given the kind of money those folks throw around, I can't promise I won't succumb. MB

    CPT Brad U.S. Army
    First rate read MB. Pretty powerful company you're keeping in here too: LTC L.H. Burruss (Mike Force), Rangers, Delta shooters, no doubt a SEAL or two... This account reminds me of Paitilla Airfield, Panama DEC '89, where too many brave SEALS were sent to take out Noriega's Lear (that plan certainly misused the talents of SEALS by using them as a rifle company rather than a specialized small team.) I certainly agree with the comments from the senior NCO from Columbus, GA being lumped in with "those officers", I want us to learn from the mistakes and/or experiences of those that have gone before us. As hindsight is 20/20, I would like to hear the insight of a Delta operator on the ground that day...would you have constructed the mission differently (besides the addition of armored vehicles and an AC-130)? Different force mix? Smaller, perhaps? Different tactics? I don't want to armchair QB this, I want to learn.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Brad. I'll be watching to see if you get some response from someone at Bragg, although you might find some of what you're looking for on the Forum already. MN

    Greg Shorts United States International Univ. SD, CA
    Mark, I would like to congratulate you and your team from a different view point. I am a professor of multimedia communications specializing in the use of the Internet for communication. The work done here is an outstanding example of the power of this new media. I plan to use your site as a exemplar in my spring course. I feel this site could be considered a watershed example of doing the things we have all been talking about for years.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you very much, Greg. I've learned an amazing amount myself. MB

    Eric Smith Scranton, PA
    Served w/ 10th in first months of Somalia. Is your book going to cover some of the early stuff? If not you should consider it. My unit was in quit a few firefights and earned the first CIB's of the conflict. The early fighting outside Mogadishu was kept pretty quiet because there was no press around.
    Mark Bowden
    I will tell more about the earlier missions in the bok, but in nowhere near the detail of the Oct. 3-4 battle. I agree that it would be fascinating, and the stories should be told, but you have to start and stop a book someplace, otherwise it would go on forever. I have to leave some of this stuff for you future Clancies. MB

    R. Wright Dale City, VA
    Marine from Quantico needs to go back to school. USMC Captain (O-3) and US Army Captain (O-3) are equal. US Navay Captain (O-6) and other services' Colonel (O-6) are equal. Competence is different and s ervice issue.
    DJ2 Ft Bragg, NC
    Col David, see chest thumping in the forum.
    former jarhead Monterrey, Mexico
    Great job Mark, hopefully your son has a safer tour because of the lessons learned from this incident. The "Marine" from Quantico is having some good-natured inter-service rivalry. Army and Marine ranks at the officer level are the same, including that of Captain. The only area I'm unsure of (its been 7 years) is the exact naming of the General ranks. A Navy Captain and an Army/Marine Colonel share the same pay-grade.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Mike Dollenger Washington, DC
    Superlatives, Mark! Nitpick, though: At end of Chp 15 you state "A humvee driven by SEAL John Gay" encountered a flaming roadblock where "Gay shouted to the driver to just ram through it." Was Gay driving or wasn't he? Only noticed this on re-reading. Best emotional combat narrative since "The Killer Angels."
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks for the correction, Mike. Must have been writing cross-eyed. Homer Nearpass was driving. We've made the fix. MB

    Lurch Palo Alto, CA
    To much of the world, American troops are symbols as much as soldiers. As long as that is true they should not be dangled out to be targets for any 3rd world gang leader unless we are willing to retaliate massively. Incredible article by the way, it should be read by anyone advocating "peacekeeping" missions.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    KSW Clarksville, TN
    Great Stuff. I am very familiar with the battle. My husband was there. I would like to point out a couple of things. Please don't use "Sarge" in the book, it sounds very unprofessional and is never used, at least not in the Ranger Regt. Also, Glenn Harris was the 1SG, not a SFC.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. I'll watch the "Sarges," and we've corrected the late Sgt. Harris' rank. MB

    RRL Fort Monroe, VA
    An awe-inspiring piece of work. Thank you sincerely for your superb history. Also, I would like to salute the men that faced this horror. You are all heroes from this infantry colonel's perspective.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you very much, and add mine. MB

    am fl
    Hopefully, Frontline on PBS will pick this up nationwide. I am for a movie version due to opinion some/many U.S. citizens may learn of the story and relearn basic civics. Perhaps the "Hollywood" stuff will be minimized. The Army could use a little better P.R. work with the uninformed masses. Hate to use soldiers misfortunes as the basis but if it works... also, if you need help in military stuff, tactics, etc to flesh out book, I'll answer questions for n/c, anything to help someone with your drive. I have high level contacts in H.wood if you're interested.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, and as for your offer, sure, but I don't know who you are. Call 215-854-2400. MB

    can you tell me where I can get the names of ALL the Americans killed in Somalia. Thank you, Somalia vet.
    Mark Bowden
    The Army Times devoted an issue several years back to all of the men who died in the Somalia mission. Call Sean Naylor, a senior writer there who has written some excellent and insightful stories about this episode in modern US military history. His number is 703-750-8634. MB

    1LT William Patrowicz New Hartford, NY
    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to the fine Americans who thanklessly, and sometimes needlessly, offer themselves in service to our great country. During my enlisted experience, I had the chance to work with the Rangers. They are proud standard-bearers of soldiering. These young men should be applauded. They do our nation's dirty work so that the masses who read this series can live in relative comfort. Thank you, again.
    Mark Bowden
    You are most welcome. I have been very moved by the expressions of gratitude I have received from so many people for telling this story. MB

    KS US
    I would like to point out that it appears as though the Rangers who were on the ground providing security, or blocking positions, in support of the main effort. That effort was the capture of the olympic hotel, and then the persons who were supposed to be inside. This being the case leads me to assume that Cpt Miller was the ground force cdr. I am making this assumption based on what is included in this story. Should the Ranger Cdr. have deffered to the main effort in order to support the ongoing operation? It would only seem sensible that when the mission shifted to recovery of the downed helo crew that no shift in the chain of command would occure. What about it?
    Mark Bowden
    I lack the experience and standing to answer this. MB

    Mr. Bowden, As a Liaison Officer (LNO) from TFR to USCENTCOM during the "Battle of the Black Sea" I can give some insight of the problems MG Garrison faced. MG Garrison did in fact request Armor and AC-130 support for operations in Somolia from the very begining, only to be slow rolled by GEN Hoar, Les Aspin and the NCA (Clinton).
    Mark Bowden
    Please call. I'd be interested in talking to you. I have a backlog of folks I've got to interview because I've been so busy with this series. You can reach me or leave me a message at 215-854-2400. MB

    PJ where-every
    there are armed UH-60's that can fire forward and/or out the side, they can be used for attack. ah6's and armed UH-60's fire more ammo then the rest of the Army combined, believe it or not and are very accurate. I have seen them pick off liter coke bottles placed within 2 ft of each other and not hit the bottle next to it. i have seen them place fire on targets on one side of a one lane road and not hit rangers directly on the other side of the road in a ditch with both mini gun and rockets (yes i know the rocket kill range) due to these skills it is easy to see why TFR trusted and used these acft instead of the AH-1's. remember the bad guys thought the little birds were everywhere and the good guys thought they saved their lives, there were only 4 of them!!! GREAT STORY/THANKS
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you. MB

    Mr Bowden, cont. To address a theme rampant in the Q&As. MG Garrison didn't thing this operation up on his own and run off and do it. He was directed to go and do it by the NCA. He submitted a battle plan back to the NCA and . Les Aspin. The NCA denied the Armor & AC-130s on the battle plan purely for pollical reason.
    Mark Bowden
    The specific plan for Oct. 3-4 was drawn up by the commanders who executed it in the minutes before the mission was launched. Garrison signed off on it. To my knowledge it was not reviewed higher than him. If I am wrong, please give me a call and straighten me out. MB

    Mr. Bowden, cont. MG Garrison was not given the tools he needed to do this mission for purely political reasons and that isthe reason for this outcome. As far as who knew of the Operation, I can tell you undeniably GEN Hoar and the NCA knew prior to it be conducted and gave approval.
    Mr. Bowden, cont. Some of the people who have submitted to the Q&A need to understand, the military is only an arm of the US Political process. The military is under the direction of our elected civilian leaders. We do what we can with what we are given. Sometimes, as in MOG, we aren't given enough but we try anyway.
    Mr. Bowden, I failed to say it before but, keep up the good work. To clarify a few things for the Q&A: Yes we do have MH-60L DAP airecraft 2X fixed 7.62mm minguns, 1X 30mm Gun (the same on as on the AH-64) and 1X 2.75" FFAR 19 rocket POD. No, we could and would never use fixed wing CAS (A-10s) in an urban senario. (To much colateral damage) As for the AH-1 vs AH-6s, Tactics is the reason TFR choose the AH-6s. AH-1s fire from a level position (hover or running) (this causes wide despersion of munitions - to much collateral damage) AH-6s fire from a bump/pop (climb up and then shoot while diving down at the target) (This reduces despersion-more bullets on target less collateral damage)
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Matt Fair Orlando, FL
    Just a quick comment - CW3(P) Mike Durant came to Olando and gave a classified professinal development session to members of my command. It was outstanding. He recommended your web site as the place to get the best info on the ground battle. He was correct. Your story is very interesting and I'll make sure others see it. Thanks, mjf LTC, Armor
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you very much, and I'm indeed flattered that Mr. Durant referred you to me. The story is accurate only insofar as men like him have helped me make it so. MB

    SPC Wigod Hungry Lizard Ranch
    Combat vehicle familiarization course now online: No argument armor would have precluded October 3rd. Les Aspin was NOT responsible for saying NO. Ask Powell about his the September 25th, private meeting in the Oval Office. Bill said no. Powell cites it as his last official act as Chairman of the JCS! Impeachment is indicated! Lead the way, Rangers!
    Mark Bowden
    Gen. Powell told me of his conversation with the President, and it did not include a discussion of armor. He said he asked the president to review US policy in Somalia. MB

    Chuck Alexandria,La
    Your detailed narrative made me wonder if any of the famlies of the killed knew all the circumstances of the of their loved ones death. For instance your description of sgt. Fillmores death. Have you been contacted by any of the famlies?
    Mark Bowden
    Yes, but not by the Fillmores. And, yes, the families did know the details of their sons' deaths. MB

    WGS WA
    Mark: I started late in reading, but have followed everthing as it came out. The video's, audio, pics, and all the chapt.'s. Can't wait for the book in the Fall! I also have to issue a hardy kudo's to the Philly Inquirer for taking it all to the line. In all of us, when in battle, we will each have our moments of bravery, fear, dumb moves, and luck. To all those involved in this raid, head high, forward move, and stay proud! All the rest is...welcome home!
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you. Credit for backing this series to the hilt goes to Editor Max King, Executive Editor Bob Rosenthal and Foreign Editor Dave Zucchino, as well as the folks at KR Video & WHYY, and the forward thinkers at Philly Online (especially Jen Musser, who put this all together). I have been a reporter now for 25 years, and this is just the most recent example of the extraordinary dedication and daring of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Max and I talked about this series a lot before it started, and at one point Max said, "I don't know if running this story as a 30-day series will sell newspapers or not, but if it doesn't, I'm not sure I want to be in newspapers any more." That's the kind of journalistic integrity that places the importance of a story over the bottom line, and makes me proud to work here. And, by the way, it sure did sell newspapers. MB

    Col (Ret) David Hughes Colorado Springs, CO
    As an Infantry Officer who has been in as severe combat in both Korea and Vietnam, I congratulate you for your supurb Pulitzer quality series which reaches the level of tactical reporting by the great SLA Marshall. And the Inquirer for its supurb online and interactive web presentation which deserves an award. More of this and the American public may yet understand, which it does not now, war and how we must be prepared for it.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you very much. I am very flattered to be compared to SLA Marshall, who is the best. MB

    Vic Eddystone, Pa.
    Thanks Mark and Inquirer for putting names and faces on this tragic battle. I hope the lessons learned will not be repeated. If we insist on being the world's policeman then our military must carry the biggest stick. Your forthcoming book should be required reading for our policymakers in D.C.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Vic. MB

    former infantryman arlington, Va
    This series has certainly captured the face of a battle. Those who have been there,m understand the fear, terror and heroism when you are in a fight for your life. Mark Bowden has done a good job of showing this. If anything, this article has shown why the combat infantryman badge was instituted to recognize the hardships and dangers of close combat and why it is so prized by infantrymen. Surely all these men earned theirs during this fight. Thanks Mark for telling the infantryman's story, the Inquirer" for printing this and Jennifer for the outstanding web site.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, FI, for your consistently helpful Qs on this page. You have helped make the story better. MB

    George Hatfield
    I should probably look through all the previous questions, but there are too many... Will you be offering the HTML and multimedia portions of this story on a CD-ROM?
    Mark Bowden
    Yes. This Q&A will be there, too, so you can peruse at your leisure. It has been an enormously helpful part of the process for me, and is clearly one of the unique benefits of this new medium. MB

    John B Newark DE
    mark, (just a comment) i hope this account of what really happened gets to as many non-milatary people like myself. it brings reality to the political decicions made to put our best in harm's way. Stay true to your intent of getting it right for these guys. if you do succomb make sure it's right.
    Mark Bowden
    I will. MB

    Tim Davis South Dakota
    Mark, this American War Story, which you have so vividly written, and so expertly laid out on the 'Net', is truly one of a kind.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Tim. MB

    TD South Dakota
    You've smashed open my chest, ripped out my heart and shredded it, piece by piece, as each Soldier fell. Horrifying. Terrible. Absolute.
    Bill Cummings West Chester, PA
    I really enjoyed the series. God bless our troops!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Bill, and Amen. MB

    Zach W. Omaha NE
    I read with some dismay that some soldiers had killed unarmed civilians, in some cases in apparent cold blood. Was this ever investigated? If so, was anyone disciplined?
    Mark Bowden
    I know of no investigation of any soldier caught up in this fight. MB

    …in a frame behind the counter of a surplus store in Fayetteville, NC: "God and soldier we adore, in times of trouble, not before. The danger gone and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted."
    kurt s. oki, ja
    I thank you for taking the time to put this together. To all of the readers that find it easy to fault any of the TFR soldiers for their actions, I say "__ yours!" When you are in the face of life or death, you will do what is necessary for your survival, and those with you. There are no politics, no Burger King, no bills to pay, no girlfriends, wives, nothing but survival. Yes, I assure you that to a man, prayers were said, thoughts of family, and then the business at hand. Do not confuse your freedom of speech and thought, with the right to condem braver citizens than you, who put themselves in the line of fire, not to capture a criminal, but to go anyplace, anytime, anywhere, on orders from our Government. All this because they believe they live in the greatest nation ever, and its policies are worth dying for. Again, Thank you for providing this forum.
    Mark Bowden
    You are most welcome, Kurt. MB

    L Basha Ft. Benning, GA
    MB - 4 Q's. 1.What was your intent when you started this endevor (did it change through out the project)? 2.How do you believe the American public percieves or remembers this involvement: failure, disaster, draw? 3.Do you feel that this publication will change that perception? 4.Will the book be available in CD ROM? Thanks, RLTW!
    Mark Bowden
    I'll try to be brief:

    1) I began with the belief that this would make a good story and that it was important for Americans to understand what happened. I saw an opportunity to contribute to the historical record. That has been my intent throughout.

    2) I believe most Americans didn't follow this story closely enough to realize that the military mission in Somalia changed between UNISOM and TFR's deployment. So when news of the battle was reported here, people were shocked that Somalis would turn so viciously on soldiers sent to help them.

    3) I hope this story and my book will make an impact, though I have no illusions of my work making a big dent in the great brick wall of public perception.

    4) The series will be available on CD-rom. I haven't yet discussed with my publisher doing so with the book. I will see him this week, and plan to propose it.

    Thanks MB

    Michael A. Ellinwood Groton, CT.
    I have just started to read the articles. They seem pretty strainght forward and reflect the things that I remember the boys saying while we were there. I am one of the fourteen Navy members of TF Ranger, and without a doubt, serving with the Army there and back in Ft. Bragg had been the defining event of my life.Please, could you e-mail me any information that you have on the PBS special, it i ssomething that I would love to add to my momentos of Somalia. What "Fall" will your book be published, 97 or 98? If you need any other pictures from there, I have 2 meg zipped and in my transmit buffer ready to go. Michael A. Ellinwood
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Michael. The book will be published next Fall, 1998. The videotape "Good Intentions, Deadly Results" can be ordered by emailing the producer at I will contact you by email for the pix. Thanks MB

    John S. Yuma AZ
    Are you going to cover the planning? Didn't they know Mogadishu was full of well armed militia? Did they expect to ride through the town in trucks unmolested? Were there other forces available they could have used? If so, why didn't they? What was Aidid's military background? Did they seriously underestimate him & the Somalis?
    Mark Bowden
    I will detail the planning somewhat more in the book.

    1&2) Yes TFR knew there were well-armed militia out there. They had done six previous missions without a hitch. The key to success was speed. If a helicopter hadn't been shot down, there is every indication this mission would have succeeded with the force and equipment at hand.

    3) The 10th Mt. Division was the reserve force, and was thrown decisively into the fight.

    4) Aidid had received military training in the Soviet Union, had served as police chief of Mogadishu, and had successfully commanded an army against dictator Siad Barre.

    5) Yes, I think both the general and the Somalis were underestimated. MB

    Jack Price Smith Mountain Lake VA
    Can you post some of the forum comments in this Q/A series? I suspect a small minority are reading the forum (it's not easy to recognize the link) and many comments meaningful to the discussion are being missed by most. My compliments on your work! The ground-breaking technological aspects of it will have impact far beyond this one battle.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Jack. I don't know about posting forum things on the Q&A, but I agree that things have gotten pretty interesting and informative over there. Anyone reading this can reach the forum by paging up and looking for the word link "forum" on the left side of the screen. MB

    Unfortunately, I don't have enough time in the day to start re-posting comments from Blackhawk Down Talk Show. Sorry, folks. You can read the forum there without registering. -- Online ed.

    Jack Price Smith Mountain Lake VA
    Could you add a search engine to the web site? With the extensive archives for the forum and Q/A series, it would be a help to your readers. Also would help you with the interactive editing as changes are indicated.
    Mark Bowden
    I have referred this suggestion to Jennifer, our online genie. MB

    The search form will be added to our Table of Contents page within the next few days. -- Online ed.

    sam ronks, pa
    who planned it? what is the military culture?why was the ceremony here in the US like a VIKING burial?were they forced to go knowing it was a mistake?the details of the battle is not the issue.politicians depend onthe competency of the military.the whole military culture is out of tune.
    Mark Bowden
    The assault on Oct. 3rd was planned by the Ranger, Delta and 160th commanders who conducted it. The planning was done hastily before the force launched, to ensure speed and surprise. Gen. Garrison signed off on it. MB

    Ed Starnes Conowingo, MD
    Great journalism Mark. Super photos Peter. Exceptional use of multimedia. Jennifer, Ches, John and Ranjit have shown what can be done to present a great story online. Not only is the content well-researched and informative, the technical composition of everything should be copied by all serious news media.
    Mark Bowden
    As my friends in the Army say, roger that! MB

    Thanks. It's been fun. -- Philadelphia Online Blackhawk Team

    former Infantryman Arlington, VA
    In response to Sam from PA -- I almost hate to dignify your uninformed remarks with a response. How'd you do in high school civics? It wasn't the military or the military culture that decided to go after the Somali warlords. The problem is that too many of members of our civilian leadership get caught up in the idea of sending messages and surgical strikes and often pay very little attention to their military advisors. I think because they are like you Sam ... they think they are so much smarter and knowledgeable about military things than those military advisors.
    Col (Ret) David Hughes Colorado Springs, CO
    You have a web error on your /sitemap.asp page. The Analysis link should end with /dec14/analysis14.asp instead of repeating /dec14.asp.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    We fixed it. Thanks. -- Online ed.

    FadedMercy Herndon, VA
    Is your "Where are they now" a comprehensive list of decorations awarded. It was my understanding from a TV news magazine interview conducted with some of the Rangers a few years ago, that Lt, DiTommasso also received a Silver Star.
    Mark Bowden
    The "Where" story is meant only to bring readers up to date on most of the key figures in this version of the story. Many more awards were given, including many to those not even mentioned in this story. I believe you are correct about Lt. DiTomasso, who led the first group of Rangers to crash site one at great risk. MB

    Civilian Wayne, PA
    After reading this incredible account of bravery, loyalty, and friendship, it saddens me to read the Q&A section. It seems that every clique in the Army is having their say. Gentlemen, please don't embarrass yourselves or your dead by exposing the petty jealousies and one-upsmanship that you may have. Give Mark credit for laying out the facts, and give us civilians credit for seeing bravery and cowardice where it exists.
    Col (Ret) David Hughes Colorado Springs, CO
    I hope you will amplify in your book, more details on how the overwhelming amount of on-the air communications appeared to have added to the confusion on the ground. And how the high-in-the-air and remote video view of the convoys failed to communicate just how badly the troops were being shot up. This problem started in Vietnam with stacks of Hueys by commanders high above the action, giving detailed orders to hapless leaders on the ground where neither had the whole picture. I am all for the hi-tech overviews - but it seems not to be done right yet. I fear the day when someone in Washington is giving the marching commands to the CPTs Miller and Steele, looking at it like a video game.
    Mark Bowden
    I will leave the analysis to experts like yourself. There will be more in the book about nearly every phase of the fight. MB

    Terminator5 Savannah, Georgia
    Mark, I am the guy who wrote the article on A/2-14 IN published in INFANTRY magazine in '94 that has supposedly been faxed/sent to you. Before you use it in any of your work, I would appreciate a call or interview. I do not want the article used to misquote or offend anyone involved in the battle. I highly recommend you personally interview COL Bill David. He has the best overall insight of what 2-14 IN did while in theater.
    Mark Bowden
    I have interviewed "King David" at length. I use only my own reporting when writing, although I am looking forward to reading your article for whatever insights I might gain. I would enjoy talking to you. Please call me at 215-854-2400. Thanks MB

    Terminator5 Savannah, Georgia
    I also hope you will include a better account of 2-14IN and 10th MTN avaitors from 2-25 AVN in your book. To all the 10th MTN guys following this: Do not be so quick say that you know exactly what happened. Everyone involved, TF Ranger and 10th MTN saw the battle from different perspectives and experience. Mark, inside Army circles, everyone has never questioned the heroics of TF Ranger. However, little or no recognition has ever come the way of 2-14 IN in the Army or in the press. That is why so many of us are anxious for our part to be told. Thanks.
    Mark Bowden
    In my research of articles written in the popular press, I didn't find that the 10th was especially neglected. There was an extensive series written in the Watertown Times about the 10th, far more than was written in any other newspaper about any other phase of the battle until this story, and much of "Mogadishu, Triumph and Tragedy" deals with the 10th's heroic efforts. Early press reports of the battle characterized it primarily as a "rescue mission" by the 10th. I do plan to write more about the efforts of the 10th in the book, but I don't agree that those efforts have been neglected overall. I do agree my account so far has not done it justice, but I could say the same for the 160th, Delta, the SEALs and several other groups who performed very heroically that day, say, for instance, the medical staffs who saved many lives. I have more of a story to tell, but I know I will never be able to tell it all to everyone's satisfaction. I have to leave something to you folks who really know what you're talking about. MB

    Bob Dobson Poway, CA
    Excellent series all around and I look forward to the book. From my perspective in my chair here, I guess this reaffirms what I learned on Iron Curtain and in Iraq. If you're in the profession of arms, you cannot be over trained. Now, if we can just get people on the Hill to realize there is no substitute for GOOD, REALISTIC, PLENTIFUL training we can continue to field forces like Delta Force, 75 Ranger, 10th Mtn, 160 Aviation and scores of other units. Toujours Pret!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Bob. MB

    Clark Cobb Columbus, Georgia
    I was a physician at Fort Benning sent to retrieve some of these guys from the aircraft returning them from Germany. Nothing but admiration for these soldiers. Great story. Nothing like this in civilian life! When's the movie open?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. No movie news yet. MB

    Col (Ret) David Hughes Colorado Springs, CO
    I hope civilians reading the account of the battle, as well as participants, and then your 'Where are they Now' follow up, appreciate how incredibly good and advanced is our military medical system, starting with selfless field medics working under fire, to the whole chain of evacuation, treatment, and recovery. Compared with what could be done for men hit in WWII, Korea, and even at times in Vietnam, I am amazed at your report on the 'full recovery' of so many seriously wounded with ever more lethal weapons, in this fight. Without it the aftermath could have been much worse, and many more lives blighted forever. We simply have the best combat military medicine in the world. And as an old Infantryman I salute those who waited for the litters. We've come a long way from the Civil War, and even MASH. Give them credit.
    Mark Bowden
    I will be writing more in the book about the excellent medical care these men received. MB

    Rick Raleigh, NC
    The reference to the "Congressional Medal of Honor" in chap 29 is incorrect. It is the Medal of Honor, not CMH. I notice that it is correct in the list of those who died under Shugart and Gordon.
    Mark Bowden
    Actually, I'm told that while Congressional Medal of Honor used to be incorrect, it is now the official name. Some on the copy desk here disagree. Hence the confusion. I'll try to get it sorted out for the book if I have to get a certified letter from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. MB

    Rick Raleigh, NC
    Who put the two Delta guys in for the Medal of Honor? Did it come from their immediate superiors, or from higher ups or the Defense Dept. or even the President? Before anyone gets ticked off, I'm not suggesting for a moment that they don't deserve it. It is just a sad fact that sometimes awards are recommended for political reasons, either by commanders to sooth the anger of troops who suffered for command mistakes or by Civilian political leaders to blunt criticism by waving the flag. Those guys were definately heros. As someone else here quoted "All gave some and some gave all." Shugart and Gordon gave all without hesitation. I just hope their bravery wasn't being used by cynical politicians to try to get out of the hot water that they deserved to be in.
    Mark Bowden
    I don't know who put Gordon and Shughart up, but I agree they richly deserve all the honors they receive. MB.

    Rick Raleigh NC
    To Carl Weaver: Why was the Black Hawk named after an individual instead of a tribe. I thought U.S. Army helicopter were named after North American Indian tribes: UH-1 Iroquois, Chyenne, OH-58 Kiowa, AH-64 Apache, Comanche, etc. I thought the AH-1 Cobra was the only exception because armed Hueys had already picked up that name in Vietnam. Thanks for any info.
    11B new york
    Is Lt Col McKnight Being Somehow punished for this. Does he or Does he not want to be interviewed.
    Mark Bowden
    I don't know. I'm still trying to reach him. MB

    Rachelle Schmid U.S.A.
    Rachelle Schmid U.S.A.
    PLEASE EXCUSE MY TYPO! I quoted Theodore Roosevelt and I did not realize I had hit the wrong letter in his last name. MANY MANY APOLOGIES
    Rick Raleigh, NC
    To Mark Mondl: "Chocks" may be hot about David Hack worth because he seems to have a pathological hatred of anyone in the command structure with a rank high than he had. He also has been a strident critic of every weapons system the Army has. He has been dead wrong on most counts and has been held up as an "expert" and his opinions used to try to kill funding for systems professional soldiers deem crucial. Hackwoth was physically brave in both Korea and Vietnam but he was passed over for promotion because he was unstable and has been on a vendetta every since. That is understandable, imagine going through 20 or 30 firefights like the one in Mogadishu in the period of a year and then being spat on when you return home. That's what a lot of Vietnam Vets experienced. Hackworth's criticisms have been destructive rather than constructive and that ticks a lot of people off.
    R.Schmid U.S.
    Rick in N.C. "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, Saying, whom shall I send, and Who will go for us? Then said I, here am I; send me. Isaiah 6:8 that is why Shugart and Gordon received the Medal Of Honor.
    AH Philadelphia, PA
    To COL David and the rest of the 10th MTN, I helped activate the 2-14 Inf (C Company). I was the 44th man in the Brigade at Benning. It's been 11 years since, and now I'm the 1SG of a Cav Troop, and folks still come up and say, "Tell me about that Dragon." You'll get your day, boys, Mark's gonna tell about the Dragon. And remember, you're always "Right of the Line."
    KSW Clarksville, TN
    Mark, for your info James Smith was a Corporal. Also, to former infantryman. Cpt Steele's choice of position was due to the overwelming volume of fire coming from the enemy as his element moved closer to the crash site. All elements moving to the crash site were engaged heavily and moved into buildings to seek cover. The positions that they moved into is where most elements remained for the night. Some elements moved but very few did due to the amount of enemy activity and the amount of casualties, which most elements had received during movement to the crash site. Cpt Steele's position did controlled an intersection and an approach to the crash site, and placed a buffer between the lead elements and the enemy forces at the rear of the column. Hope this answers your questions. 1SG Watson
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks Sean. I appreciate you weighing in. As for the confusion about Jamie Smith, you are right about the rank, but note the rank given on the mailgram sent by the Army to notify his parents of his death. It calls him "Specialist." I went to the trouble (considerable) of getting a full printout of all the Rangers in the company with their ranks at the time of the battle. In many instances this official printout has proved to be wrong. Rank appears to be a kind of organic, ever-changing thing, and changes with who you ask. But, again, I believe you are correct. MB

    John J. Murphy,LT USAF South Bend, IN
    I was wondering if I could get a text copy of the complete series. I really enjoyed this series and would like to share it with others. My address is 3222 White Maple Court, South Bend, In 46628 (219)631-8418 or (219) 243-5864 Thank You
    Mark Bowden
    I'm afraid I can't personally send out copies to everyone who requests it, John. You can order the reprint, complete with videotape of the documentary and a CD-ROM of the website by calling 1-800-440-1470. Thanks MB

    Airial Greesboror, NC
    I had family that took part in this operation and the memory haunts them to this day. I really whish that you could get the D-boys to talk, they have lots of truth to add to the exaherated accounts of others. It is also my understanding that the women and children were the ones doing the shooting. Inncoencent? I think not.
    Tori Brisbane, Australia
    Mark ... Can you please email me privately at I am co-owner of a small IRC network and am pondering whether it might be appropraite for some of the contributors here to have real-time discussions there about these issues, but am unwilling to advertise the network without discussion with you first . Thanks :)
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Tori. I'll be in touch. MB

    jaber UAE
    Dear Mr Mark, I am a jouurnalist in a leading Arabic Newspaper and realy appreciate very high your great job. I have downloaded all the series and thinking to translate them into Arabic after getting a permiet from your side. I intend after your acceptance to publish the whole stroy as it appeard in the Inquierer with your picture and a reference to Philadelphia Inquirer in all chapters. My E-Mail addresses are: waiting your reply.. best reagrds.. Jaber
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Jaber. I'll be in touch. MB

    Kevin Dennehy Denver, Colo.
    Mark, Finely crafted story. You blame poor planning by the Rangers, TF 160 and others--and finally Gen. Garrison for Oct 3. What about the others? Why was our civilian leadership in the dark? Are you going to exonerate President Clinton? By the way, CWO Durant is one of the bravest soldiers--he performed excellently while in enemy hands--I believe you need to write more than a note about Col. Hackworth's attack on him in "Hazardous Duty." You are very right--Durant has had training...Col. Hackworth maybe has forgotten his prisoner of war training.
    Mark Bowden
    I haven't blamed anyone. I really don't think that's my role. I'm just trying to tell an accurate story about what happened. Civilian leaders were not, to my knowledge, kept in the dark. They may not have been paying attention, but the President receives daily briefings on military actions all over the globe. I have nothing but respect for Mr. Durant, which I hope shows in my telling of his story. MB

    Dave Gruendel Branford, CT
    Sir, I am a high school history teacher and would like to be able to use the Blackhawk Down series in my classes. Is there anyway of getting a hard copy? Any help would be appreciated. This story is somewhat personal to me in that I was an infantryman in the Army and my brother is in the Marines and was there 10 days later. Thanks much, Dave Gruendel
    Mark Bowden
    I'll be in touch. MB

    Another ol' Infantryman America
    When Saint Michael, the Patron Saint of Paratropers, got into a fight like this one, it was described in Revelations thusly: "And there was war in Heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels, and prevailed not..." Thank you for a riveting and enlightening series, Philly Ink. But thanks especially to everyone from the most junior Infantryman in the 10th Mountain Division, to MG (ret) Bill Garrison for doing your best to keep the dragons of this world from prevailing. God bless you, and the families of our fallen heroes.
    Mark Bowden
    You are welcome, and Amen. MB

    RSC Connecticut
    No question, just comment. Thank you to all of the soldiers who fight for the freedom of our country. MB, Incredible Work! The link to the analysis at the bottom of Chapter 29 brings you back to Chap. 29 and needs to be corrected. The analysis link in the strip on the left is correct.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, and Jennifer will fix it. MB

    Got it. Thanks. -- Online ed.

    Ray W. Chester, PA
    What happened to the second critically injured soldier? He was not in the list of KIAs and not on the "where are they now" list. Great job with the story.
    Mark Bowden
    Carlos Rodriguez recovered fully and is now based, I believe, at Ft. Lewis in Washington. MB

    Ray W. Chester, PA
    Sorry if this was already asked. You mentioned a third Delta soldier was in the chopper with Gordon and Shugard but he did not get out at the 64 crash site. Why? Do your sources feel that one more soldier could have made a difference or would he be another casualty?
    Mark Bowden
    I don't know why he wasn't sent in, other than at that point the Blackhawk was still doing important work in the air and needed his weapon up there. MB

    N/A Washington, DC
    Minor clarifications (Ch 29) for the book: 1) Medal of Honor (MOH). There is no such thing as a Congressional Medal of Honor. 2) "First Roation" was NOT 20,000 Marines. More Army than USMC. Did not come out in March (I was there--April&May).
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Andy Shaffer Houston, TX
    Well done in the style of S.L.A. Marshall. I was in RVN & know you captured much of the feeling one experiences in a fight. Thanks. Will you publish this in hardback or leave it on the net only?
    Mark Bowden
    It will stay on the 'Net and be published in hardback (a much expanded version) in the Fall of 1998. MB

    JoeC Arlington,VA
    1. Thanks for superior research and reporting effort. 2. You, Inquirer, and readers have taken Web to a new, higher level . 3. As son of WWII flyer and with time in as an 11B during VietNam era, my appreciation of the military and the response to the higher call of duty is again reinforced. 4. Reading Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers (Normandy to May, '45) -- amazing parallels and lessons. Thanks!
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Joe. MB

    william bowes sanford florida
    wonderful series!!!!! better than anything my local paper could produce. faithful reader online, william d bowes
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Mark Morehouse New York
    ABSOLUTELY AWESOME! Article, web site, everything. As a former infantry officer, I am particularly proud of all our military professionals, and grateful to you for the recognition you're giving those who selflessly and courageously risk their lives for their country. Can't wait for the book! Thanks.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Mark. MB

    Big Bob Perkasie, PA
    Chapter 29 indicates that Clinton had not been informed of the mission prior to it's action. Elsewhere in the series, I believe you indicated that Congress also did not know. Who's idea and plan was this? Where was the top prior to the action? Under what authority? Do you feel you may now have more details of the ground action than the Government may have put together from de-briefings? Great job! And I'll read the book. Great job! And I'll read the book. Thanks for your work and Philly Inquirer's purse. Take a break. Merry, Merry!
    Mark Bowden
    I'm looking forward to that break. While the President and Congress were certainly aware of TFR and its actions, there was a need for quick response on the ground. Intel spotted top Aidid people and the force launched without delay, something they had full authority to do. Can you imagine a military force in the field that would have to get clearance from the White House and Congress before making a move? I think I do have more detail of the ground action, at least from interviews with the soldiers. Army historians interviewed a lot of guys after the fight. I've seen the write-ups of some and they are not in as much detail as I have sought for this story. Also, to my knowledge, no one has ever patched all of the interviews together ... so most of it, I suspect, remains unread. The Army has videotapes of the whole thing, but that can only tell you so much. MB

    Fred Wyoming, Michigan
    Great story, I loved reading it. I think this would make a fantastic movie, is there any chance of that happening? Thank you.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Fred. I think there's a reasonable chance that a movie will be made. Nothing definite yet. MB

    Jim Guelzow A 2-14 M-60 gunner Victor, NY
    Good story, and good points. All stories must begin and end at certain points. Everyone has their own perspective of what happened that night. TF Ranger was a fine unit, as was the Delta unit. No one discounts their actions. Without the 2-14th 10th MTN, they would not be alive -- without them, 2-14 would not have had a chance to prove themselves.
    MAJ Phil Logan Tacoma, WA
    Some things never change: saw guys from 10th MTN guarding the Sava bridge at Slav Brod this summer. Thanks for getting this out. You're describing the future. Americans need to know what they are sending their sons and daughters into, and what they should be prepared to accept.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Tom Parkville, MD
    Mark- Any reason why Sgt First Class Earl Fillmore, Master Sgt Tim Martin and Pfc James Martin were the only KIA's not awarded any medals? Were their roles any less significant than the others? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
    Mark Bowden
    I was working off published lists of medals. There may be some I don't know about. I requested a complete list from the Army months ago, one of many requests for information ignored. MB

    Mark, Can't find my earlier posting, Will try again. Excellent series. 1. Command was advised as to RPG threat time and again. They chose to ignore it. Wolcott tried to change tactics, was blown off. 2. Armor seemed to work for exfil, would have worked for infil. 3. Anything but Little Bird Guns, would have added to the mire. If they had been used instead of Hawks, (Super 61 & 62) this would have been just another mission. 4. This was combat, ask any vet from WWI, II, Korea, Nam; horrendous as it was to these brave kids, it was just another day on the line. It will be the same in Bosnia, Rwanda or wherever we go in harms way. The lessons to be learned are endless, but we never seem to. All we ask, is do not spend us needlessly. NSDQ! SGDM!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Mark, Just a note. If you didn't require an email address in your FORUM (attribution) you might receive some more interesting insights. You never know who's listening!?!?!?
    Mark Bowden
    I'll put this one to Jennifer. MB

    We've tried that route. The registration was imposed to prevent abuses of the forum. This way, we know you've had to at least glance at our rules for posting. -- Online ed.

    TOM...REF TO AWARD FOR PFC JAMES H. MARTIN. PFC James Martin was awarded the Bronze Star as well as the Purple Heart and the Valerous Unit Award aftre his death. Hope this helps....
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Jim DeWolf Boston, MA
    I began reading your series when I visited my parents in Phily and I was delighted to find it on-line so I could finish. I am not a military buff, but I found this story absolutely riveting! I think it should be required reading for anyone considering enlisting in the military. The reality is a lot less appealing than the movies and TV make it out to be!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Jim. MB

    Andy Encinitas,Ca
    Outstanding writing! Are the video clips on the site also in the documentary? Also LNO is off the mark implying that a Cobra can't do a "bump or pop" maneuver and is therefore less accurate. As a Marine Cobra pilot I practiced this maneuver as well as hover, running, and diving fire(the most accurate). The rotor system of the AH-6 is ,however, more suited to the maneuver than the type on the Cobra (Army or Marine).
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Andy. The videoclips are mostly taken from the documentary, but there are some up here that are not in it. MB

    Former Hackworth Admirer
    To Rick in NC - If Hackworth is such an outstanding officer, warrior and leader, why did he need to falsify his official record and wear an unauthorized RANGER tab? A true warrior doesn't need badges to prove himself. Hackworth is a hypocrite, liar, drug abuser and wannabee.
    Joseph F. Burns Atco, NJ
    In your "Where they are now" section you did not list all of the people featured in the story. My nephew Sgt. John Burns was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart. I believe their are other omissions as well. Honor these men by listing them all, they earned it.
    Mark Bowden
    We did not intend to list all those who received medals, only those introduced in this account.. Unfortunately, I linked up with your nephew too late for this series. I'm looking forward to sitting down with him soon. MB

    Rich Philly, PA
    Thank you for an unbelievably vivid series. My emotions ran the full gamut reading each chapter but I was (and still am) exceedingly angry at the thought of the sacrifice that was made of Gordon, Shughart and the Super 64 crew. Even with the benefit of hindsight, why didn't Command drop more help into the sight when it was apparent that the rescue convoy would be delayed?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Rich. I suspect the answer to your question is that TFR was, at that point, badly over-extended. MB

    Mark Morehouse New York, NY
    To MAJ John Lock of Somerville, NJ, if you read this: are you 'Ranger' Lock, USMA '82, Co D-3? whether you are or not, I'm interested in your Ranger history book--please contact me at
    MGoodale Naperville, IL
    Mark, EXCELLENT series! Couple of quick corrections, though: Raleigh Cash is now a Staff Sergeant. Also, I'm up in Naperville, IL now, although I'm from Pekin, IL. Thanks again, and great job!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mike. We'll make the fixes. MB

    Fixed, and thanks. -- Online ed.

    Mark New York, NY
    To "DT" in Seattle: are you asking about LTC Bill Ohl? send me your e-mail at Strike Fear.
    Mark Morehouse New York, NY
    To John Lock: sorry, my e-mail address was cut off: thanks
    Mark New York, NY
    To "DT".....sorry, my e-mail address was cut off: I'll try again.
    KBG Chicago, IL
    How long will this series be kept on the Online web site, and are there any plans to create an interactive CD from the electronic articles (containing the videos, audios and pictures)?
    Mark Bowden
    The site will be up forever, I'm told. And, yes, a CD-rom, along with a VHS videotape of the documentary and a complete reprint of the series can be ordered at 1-800-440-1470. MB

    grunt NY
    TF Ranger expected to jump in and out of a mission with no snags. Next time bring your NODS when you come to play. A good infantryman comes prepared.
    JCB Cincinnati
    To "grunt" - after you're done beating the NODS dead horse, maybe you could tell us more about how a "good infantryman" like yourself could have done it better than TF Ranger. We're all ears, hero.
    James McShea Prescott, AZ
    Why weren't the AC130's still on station? I have my own theory-- previous runs over the city made for uncomfortable video on CNN for Stephanopoulos and his boss. Maybe you've covered this-- Just found this site- advised of it through my class website at West Point.
    Mark Bowden
    Defense Secretary Les Aspin turned down the force's request for the AC-130 and Bradleys. The administration felt they didn't want to be so visibly ratcheting things up militarily at the same time we were trying to withdraw -- they were trying to avoid a showdown with Congress. MB

    Jim Yun Marlton NJ
    At the time of the incident, I lived in Syracuse where the event was covered pretty heavily because Ft. Drum (the home of 10th Mtn.) was nearby. I distinctly remembered that the Apache attack helicopters from Ft. Drum were deployed to Somalia and remembered hearing news accounts of them having to shoot into Somali crowds. In your series, I have heard nothing about the Apaches. Do you know where in the timeline they came into play? By the way, great series!
    Jim Guelzow Victor, NY
    In response to Jim Yun's question: Ft. Drum did not house any Apaches. They only had Cobras. Apaches are part of mechanized/calvary units. Ft. Drum is a light infantry unit. There were no Apaches in the Somalia theatre. I've helped guard the Mogadishu Airfield a number of times, and personally witnessed all of the aircraft.
    JCB -- you talk too much. How many times have you posted in here? You really should refrain from using the word "dead". TF Ranger wouldn't be here if it weren't for 10th MTN. Even though I wasn't there, we always train with ALL our equipment. Respect, buddy. You had theirs, now give them yours.
    gordon ft benning, ga
    I have a question for Sue in referenece to her last comment in round 12 of the "ask the author" segment. Where do you get the idea that "Cpt Steele's Rangers" dislike Delta? Please reference the chapter and page of the story if this is the source. If not please reference the source which does document this dislike and suppossed rift between the 2 units.
    kpr Detroit, MI
    Hooah and God bless to Rangers, Delta, 10th MTN, and Air Force PJs. Mark, awesome! The embedded video/audio brought even more drama to your excellent written work. One question: When is your NEXT series coming out?!
    Mark Bowden
    Not for a while. I've got to finish the book. Thanks. MB

    kpr Detroit, MI
    To anonymous: the quote you mention (in frame behind counter in F'ville) was penned by Kipling and quite true. MB, again many thanks for bringing us this story. I'll buy your book as soon as it hits the shelf!!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Deadeye Phila, Pa.
    MB- Outstanding work. The best thing I've ever read in any paper. I only wish it had arrived before the '96 election saddled us with our current CIC. Amazing how some stories are kept suppresed, isn't it? To those who were in harm's way- You did your best with what you had at hand. Ignore the "would have/should have/could have" comments and drive on. I only hope those in Bosnia will perform as well when their time comes.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. There's no way I could have finished all this work in time for the election. I didn't even start until spring of 1996. MB

    JCB Cincinnati
    Easy there, hard charger - I respect 10th MTN's bravery. But they, like SFOD and Rangers, need to assess weaknesses honestly and correct them. That's what will save lives next time around, not Sideline SuperTroopers talking about how everything would been squared away if THEY had been there.
    Brian Berrey Falls Church, VA
    Not a question, but a comment. You are to be commended on putting the story together, my blood rushed, time slowed, and my mind raced back over all the old CONOPS from Grenada through Achille Lauro to Panama. Wish you could do more on all the other ops that the news has missed or is still stored in non-dislcosure statements. Good people, doing what they believe are the right things, for a great country.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Brian. MB

    Rick Raleigh, NC
    Hi Everyone, Many of you here have expressed support for our soldiers overseas on thankless missions. Here is a way you can help. U.S. News and World Report magazine (Dec 22, 1997 issue) has a story about 2nd Artmored Cavalry Regiment troops in Bosnia helping the local kids with school supplies and toys for Christmas. If you'd like to donate school supplies, warm childrens winter clothes, toys, crayons, coloring books, etc. send them to "Operation Children are our Future", 2ACR, Tuzla, Operation Joint Guard, APO AE, 09789. Maybe if we apply a little good old American generosity we won't have to apply American firepower. Thanks
    JCB -- I apologize -- people often type different from what they are thinking. You have to read between the lines as well as above, behind, etc. I mistakingly took your first comment as offensive. Mine was not meant to be, either.
    Major Jim Finkle 106th Rescue Wing, NY
    Very well written articles. I spent half the day reading the details (hope I don't get in trouble). This use of the web and links adds to the value of the research required to write such a story. Thanks for taking the time.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks for the note, Major. MB

    JCB Cincinnati, OH
    Grunt - apology accepted. Going back through all this probably has me a bit edgy. Good luck and keep your head down.
    Tom Delaware County
    Mark, in the right hands, your book will make a hell of a movie. This comment is not meant to be critical, you sure received enough of those from the Monday morning quarterbacks throughout the series, but one ommission in regard to the awards received was no mention of the purple heart awards that all the KIA/WIA's should have received. It is a highly cherished award deserving of recognition. As Mauldin described it in his civil war classic, you earned it by getting "the red badge of courage". Fantastic job!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. I didn't list everyone who got a purple heart because I'm assuming that most people know that those injured in combat receive it. MB

    Ed Washington DC
    Thank You. To the Rangers, Operators, Infantry, and Support Personnel who bravely fought that day. Thank You to the Philadelphia Inquirer for having the guts and perseverence to back it. Thanks Mark Bowden for telling the story so well.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Ed. MB

    Sue McLean, VA
    Gordon, I'm only reading the article like you are. Re-read Chapter 20 and Chapter 24 again. It appears that most of the opinion and comments were expressed by Cpt Steele to Mark Bowden. Some of the remarks aren't pretty. That is not to say it's one-sided. However, as I read further, I began to wonder if Cpt Steele's bias crept into battlefield decisions and that bias probably existed before the actual events. (Read some of the comments in the Forum. Re-read Chapter 26 regarding some Ranger opinion of the 10th Mtn. I think or I hope that I have been careful not to generalize about all Rangers from a few or all Delta or all 10th Mtn. Everyone's flung comments about everyone else unfortunately in my opinion. If you read this series from the beginning, Delta personnel are mentioned by Rangers favorably or Mark reports on them favorably as seen through the eyes of the Rangers he interviewed. My comments throughout this entire series echo what many others have said...there was enough bravery and heroic deeds to go around. Everyone, everywhere can always do better...that is why we look back at our endeavors in our personal and/or profe
    Rick Raleigh, NC
    To "Former Hackworth Admirer": I didn't say those wonderful things about Hackworth. I was responding to an earlier post by a guy who didn't understand why we all think he is such a jerk. I said he was unstable and pathological (not compliments in case you don't have a dictionary handy). I am willing to concede that he is or was physically brave because he got a lot of medals. I qualified that with "physically" because there are several types of bravery and I think anybody that lies about having the Tab is a moral coward. That is particularly true of Hackworth because he went to great lengths to pillory Admiral Boorda for wearing unauthorized "V" devices and then lied on his web page and claimed to have the Tab. I never admired him, like you evidently did at one time, but I used to read his stuff looking for valid criticisms. But, like I said in an earlier post, I lost all respect for him after the reporting he did during the Gulf War. I stopped reading anything he wrote after that. Years later, after I heard about him falsly claiming to have the Ranger Tab, my loss of respect turned into contempt. I didn't read his book about Somalia because of that. I've learne
    Sue McLean, VA
    This is silly to add on to a question this way!! Gordon, my final thought was, If I have led you to believe that I've over-generalized, I apologize.
    steve washington
    could you remove my e-mail address from round 3 posting?
    Mark Bowden
    Will do. MB

    Done. Thanks for reading. -- Online ed.

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