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 15

    danny ft benning, ga
    Does mr. Sprarks realize that units in the army utilize what equipment they have available???? Rangers do not have m113's or bradleys. We go with what we have, small arms, guts, and experience. As do ALL army units.
    former infantryman arlington, Va
    I'm beginning to wonder if some of you guys are in the same Army. The rising crescendo of gnats is beginning to obscure what could be an epic war story about infantrymen (delta, rangers & 10th Mtn) in battle that Mark Bowden is trying to tell. American infantrymen and some gutty chopper guys fought against overwhelming odds and came out with honor, carrying their dead and wounded.
    Ken Fulmer Fairfax, Virginia
    Dear Mark: Thank you very much for adding a web link to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. We will always do our very best to provide college educations for the children of fallen SOF Warriors - and appreciate your help in communicating with America. Congratulations on your work & Best Regards, Ken Fulmer - Executive Vice President
    Mark Bowden
    You are welcome, and thank you, Ken. MB

    Mike Mt. Laurel, N.J.
    This is the first story of it's kind that I have ever followed on the web and I have been very impressed with your powerful writing, research as well as the audio and video additions to the printed story. I was curious what made you choose this relatively unknown story several years after it occurred. Why Somalia as opposed to a battle in Panama, Grenada or some other recent small military intervention by our arm forces?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mike. I'm glad to have the chance to answer your last question. There's been some speculation on these pages about why the story is coming out now -- a "media blackout" by the White House, an effort to make sure Bill Clinton got re-elected, etc.

    The truth is that I remember taking note of the battle when it happened, that it would make for a powerful story. I have traveled and reported some in Africa over the years, so that's probably why Somalia held a particular interest for me. I have never written about military matters before and assumed someone else would probably write this story. I was assigned to do a magazine story about Clinton in early 1996, and as part of it wrote an account of the President's meeting with the families of men killed in Mogadishu. In researching that I met Jim Smith, the father of Jamie Smith, one of the Rangers killed. Jim related the story of Jamie's death as far as he knew it, and I left him determined to pursue the story. My research turned up little of consequence written about the battle other than several excellent, brief early newspaper stories (Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post's is the best, I think). The Watertown Times did a fine series on the 10th's part in the battle. The rest just took time, months and months of interviews, travel, etc.. I planned to finish it in December, and actually rushed the newspaper series at the Inquirer's behest. I never really considered Panama or Grenada. I did not set out just to write a battle story, I set out to write about this battle. MB

    John Breen Waialua, Hawaii
    I was attached to A/2-14 IN during the 3 Oct battle as their liaison officer to the Malaysians. I have a great deal of information about the Malays role in the fight as well as my own account of the battle. I also served as 10th MTNs liaison to Task Force Ranger. Contact me at JCRONINB@AOL.COM What are your other 10Th MTN sources? Interested in talking to them and finding out where they are now. Thanks
    Mark Bowden
    I'll email you, John. MB

    Answerman USA
    To Jim Yun, NJ. There weren't any Apaches deployed to Somalia. There were Cobras, which were leased to the UN and flown by "Pakistanis". I think this is why the Cobra was drawn on a wall in Somalia and that graphic used for this series. This is a fantastic series. The bravery of these warriors is as it always has been throughout our history, up to the full measure. Mark, Merry Christmas.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, but I don't think Pakis were flying American helicopters. MB

    Laughing at Answerman US Army
    ANSWERMAN: Truly a foolish person. Cobra's leased to the UN, flown by Paki's. Better to let people think your a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. Cobras were flown by US: 2-25 ATK BN, FT Drum.
    I believe that all of the Cobras in theatre were the 10 MTN's. Any Cobra that flew near us had US pilots on US frequencies. I never saw a Paki fjying a US Cobra. Answerman's comments may not be correct.
    Mike Dollenger Washington, DC
    To Brian Berrey: Echoing your sentiments, I reccomend "Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War Against Terrorism" by David C. Martin and John L. Walcott, Harper and Row, NY, 1988. Excellent narratives of CONOPs from Desert One (Iran)to Eldorado Canyon (Libya). The Arlington Library has it. Happy Holidays everyone!
    LTC Collin Agee Fort Drum, NY
    MB, this series has attracted much interest at Fort Drum. I saw the WHYY documentary and am trying to get it shown locally. Believe there are valuable lessons pertinent to Bosnia today. Saw some comments on video problems; I experienced these as well following a recent VDOLive upgrade, but the recent upgrade to ver. 3.02 fixed it for me; may help others. Thanks for superlative research and use of the Web!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks ... and I appreciate that VDO tip. I've been having problems myself. MB

    akram leavenworth,ks
    Regarding Pakistani cobra pilots.Pak Army Aviation owns and has flown cobras for many years.They flew cobras in Mogadishu,not on 3 Oct.US aviators who were there could expand on that.Better than assuming them away!
    Mark Bowden
    I presume they flew Cobras owned by the Pakistani Army, not US Army, but next time I get to talk to one of those guys I'll ask. Thanks. MB

    James McShea Prescott AZ
    I don't think the withdrawal of the Spectres can be laid off on Les Aspin. As a civilian (now) I watched the entire unfolding of the Somalia campaign intently. Before the mission CNN was having a field day with videotape of 20mm at night skipping around the city, and given the incredible media sensitivity of this administration, I wasn't surprised to hear the AC-130's were in Brindisi when needed elsewhere. Someone needs to ask Stephanopoulos. Guarantee it was a media decision. No fault to the 6's, I just think that (especially when night falls) a little "collateral damage" is exactly what is called for. Anyone remember Aspin's exscuse about the armor? Couldn't spare a platoon-- "might be needed in Bosnia." Ed Starnes-- are you, or are you related to the Starnes with us in Ranger class 2-78? If you are-- it was you, me, Larry Bratt, Bob Lamb, starting out at Harmony Church. This Starnes was a 90mm gunner with 1-75. Sorry-- if your're not--we weren't big on first names. An unsung hero here is Jennifer. And you, Mr. MB, will always be, in my mind at least, this year's Pulitzer Prize winner. Sorry to go over long.
    Mark Bowden
    Jen and I will forgive you for running on. Thanks. MB

    James McShea Prescott AZ
    LNO has it right. Check it out.
    Answerman USA
    Pakistanis did fly Cobras in Mog. Believe me I'm no fool. Again, the Cobras were US assets LEASED to the UN.
    To answerman -- Pakis may have flown Cobras (I haven't seen it), but from 04 AUG 93 to 18 DEC 93, US pilots were flying the Cobras. 2-25 from Ft. Drum, I think. On the radio, you could distinctly hear American voices. I'm positive that Ft. Drum doesn't loan out their helicopters, or lease them.
    Robert Cal
    Mark, you still taking questions, or are you done now?
    Mark Bowden
    I'm still here. I'm learning stuff and getting lots of useful leads. And it's fun! MB

    Maj R Robins AFB
    An incredible piece of journalism. I've served with soldiers before, but never before felt for them like this. Here's also to the Air Force PJs who worked the CSAR--you guys are true heroes. Many lessons to be learned here about the "fog and friction" of battle--I look forward to the book.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks MB

    Reese Teakell Fort Benning, Ga
    I served with 3rd Battalion in Somolia and I have been trying to get hold of SFC paul Leonard. If you have his address or phone number would you please email it to me. My email address is Thanks.
    Mark Bowden
    Will do. MB

    former infantryman Arlington, Va
    Mark, I am enjoying your comments ... humor is so effective Victory prize, indeed!!!!
    Sue McLean, VA
    RM, thanks for trying to explain the solders' frustration. Since I date back to the Vietnam era, I fully understand coming home as a "hero", a "pat on the back" and "baby killers". So maybe we've progressed a bit from the really bad days of unappreciated soldiers and blaming them for political actions. Open your Eyes, Gordon and I are discussing a specific part of the overall operation which at this point should go off line. I've had nothing but admiration and have expressed my gratitude and thanks over and over again to all the "heroes" of the Battle of Mogadishu. I know it was the fiercest fighting since Vietnam. If you'd like to get into the specifics of the discussion, send me your e-mail. I'm not going to debate this in open forum further since I'm sure it is boring all the other readers.
    Mark Bowden
    Merry Christmas, Sue, and thanks for your interesting questions and commentary. MB

    gordon ft benning, ga
    To Sue: Still waiting for you to e-mail me so that we can talk offline about this. If you didn't get my e-mail address it's Again, sorry to disappoint you but I'm not "open your eyes." I'll continue to monitor this net. If you have problems with the e-mail, send a msg via this forum.
    Sue McLean, VA
    Gordon, Wrote you last night...(Friday), but did have problems with your e-mail, but have tried sending again this AM. If I can't get through, I'll send you mine. Warning's a LONG e-mail!!!
    Sue McLean, VA
    Mark, Merry Christmas to you too...again restore my faith that there ARE journalists out there who a) care; and b) take their commitment to honesty in reporting seriously. Although I can't promise, I'll try to sign off the Forum for a while. Some discussions should be best left off-line.
    MB, from what I have read in your story, you don't have a lot as far as the fire support portion of the battle. My question is; do you cover more of the fire support team's (FIST) actions in your book? I know a few Rangers were happy that they had their FO with them that day. Thanks.
    Mark Bowden
    You are right. I would like to know more. If you can help, call me at 215-854-2400. MB

    SFORDIE Ft. Bragg, NC
    What a great piece of work ! Maybe now people will see who the real special forces are. The Ranger Battalions are mainly a bunch of young immature wantabees who are in search of a tab to wear on there uniform. The Delta guys are the true professionals who deserve all of the credit. The units from the 10th Mtn are a elite as this Bat Boys, Its time the Army realized this and downsized the ranger battalions with the rest of the conventional Army. Know offense to those few who move on to be real Special Forces.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. I don't agree that Delta deserves all the credit. Training shows, but many men put their lives on the line those days. MB

    ulysses Jacksonville, NC
    I am currently researching all info on urban operations. Your writing, and details, are superb. Would you be interested in watching Marines prepare for future ops in the cities?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks ... and yes. You can reach me at 215-854-2400. MB

    Matt Eversmann Columbus GA
    Mark, Congratulations on a very well written article. My only concern is not so much the accuracy of minute details as it is with the laymans interpretation of several emotional statements made by members of TF Ranger. I believe it unfair to leave the uninformed with the impression that the ranger leaders were all out of synch with the other members of the task force. I would only say that had the blocking force not done the job it did, and the leaders done the job they did, the casualty list would have been much higher than it was. It is unfortunate that all the heroic deeds of many rangers could not be told during this article. To the family members that read this please know that not a day goes by that we do not think of your sons. And to all of you TfFRangers that read this know that you are all in my daily thoughts and prayers, God bless, Merry Christmas, and RLTW! Matt Eversmann
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Matt. The tightly edited confines of the series (although it's hard to complain about being restricted when you've got 30 parts) didn't allow for sketching out the subtleties of the command relationships in TFR, or for detailing enough of what went on. The book will do more of everything, although certainly not enough to do justice to everyone who fought. I am grateful to you for your candid, complete and thoughtful account of your experiences in Mogadishu, especially as a (note this all you intraservice rivals) former 10th Mt. Division soldier, now a Ranger NCO. I could not have done this without the help of guys like you. I'm proud to have met you. MB

    JCB Cincinnati, OH
    SFORDIE: sounds like you're fresh out of SFAS with fire in your eye; it's hard to imagine anyone actually qualified to wear the SF tab could sound so foolish. My advice to you - shut your cakehole and go back to reading Soldier of Fortune.
    To "SFORDIE" from L.H. Burruss Columbia, SC
    The 75th Infantry Regiment (Ranger) is the finest light Infantry on the planet. From it's inception, Delta has relied on a number of occasions upon the Rangers to supplement the force when additonal "muscle" was required - from Desert One (and particularly the never- reached exfil airfield of that op) to Grenada, where not only was a Ranger company in direct support of Delta, but their seizure of Point Salines gave Delta and the Night Stalkers a secure place to limp to when we needed it. Many of Delta's finest have come from the Ranger Reg't, and many from Special Forces, You are obviously not one of them, and I might suggest that, until you mature, there is no need for you to apply. If you wish to denigrate our young comrades-in-arms, I would suggest that you turn in your beret and join the current administration. Bucky Burruss, retired Special Forces soldier.
    Mark Thompson Washington, D.C.
    Mark -- Wunnerful, wunnerful job! Bravo! Mark Thompson, Knight-Ridder Pentagon correspondent, 1986-94
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mark. You probably would have had less trouble with all these details. MB

    Mark Thompson Washington, D.C.
    Mark -- Wunnerful, wunnerful job! Bravo! Mark Thompson, Knight-Ridder Pentagon correspondent, 1986-94
    Dimah1 USA
    SFORDIE- Mr Bowden needs constructive comments that he can dignigy an answer to. You need an attitude adjustment. Shame on you!
    Michael Oxford, Ohio
    WOW! Congratulations. Very impressive work. Well written, but more -- I am stunned by the use of net resources, even if I do have trouble downloading the video I am very excited at the possibilities you are opening for news delivery.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Michael. I confess what Jennifer and the folks at Philly Online have done has opened my eyes to the Net's potential. MB

    Rob Delaney Columbus GA
    An incredible account of a story that needed to be told. Mark will you released this on CD Rom? I deployed to Somalia with A CO 3/75 and now serve with Matt Eversmann in the same platoon. Your story has caught quite an interest with all the soldiers in our unit, and I am amazed at the work put into it. As far as the interservice stuff goes-We Try! We work with what we have. There is no way people can hold us to the same standard that is reached by the men from Ft Bragg. Mark thanks for allowing comments by folks like SFORDIE. Its always refreshing when someone other than I makes a complete ASS out of himself in an international forum. Great work, and enjoy a wonderfull Holiday.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Rob. A CD ROM is part of the collector's package they're offering on this site. You can order on the Net or call 1-800-440-1470. That comes with a compete reprint of the series and a VHS tape of the hour-long documentary based on this work. MB

    Jason A. Henderson Birmingham, Al
    Is there anyway to get the full copy of all the printed material on this web page? Does it come with the collectors edition?....Same question for the sound bytes
    Mark Bowden
    Same answer as above, Jason. Call 1-800-440-1470. MB

    Lance Gray Frisco, TX
    Mark, great job! The story has made me cry on many occassions trying to imagine the stress these guys were under...namely my brother-in-law, Casey Joyce. The hardest part was hearing what I could never imagine about his death. I truly admire the guys involved & appreciate guys like Matt Eversman & Kenny that comforted my sister after Casey died (I was able to meet them at the Ranger Memorial dedication last year). I feel comfort knowing that my sister talked to him the night before he died & I think of the last letter he wrote that ended with..."if I never see you again on this earth, I'll see you in Heaven". Thank you for the story...I'll never forget him or the day I heard the "news". God Bless...Rangers Lead The WAY!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Lance. MB

    Mark Wash, DC
    Mark, Superior work--couldn't put it down. If a movie can show the realities of battle like your book vice the "John Wayne" effects, then go for it. Telling every uniform member I know, "A must read, especially for all company grade/tactical level." Lessons learned -- SOLDIER-USA says it all. Question, can someone talk to the timing of the operation. Was the operation directed "regardless" and why was it executed when it was? If Bradleys and AC-130 were required, then would the turndown of the request not make this a NO-GO criteria? Further, guessing that the timing was tied to the "time/place" of capture, wouldn't the afternoon daylight (when Kat was taking the most effect) be a NO-GO? (as opposed to daylight early morning when they were coming off the high). If we were able to track location so well (assumption), why not wait for a night strike. This is an attempt to learn more, not to quarterback or criticize every brave and honorable soldier involved. As military leaders, we owe it to those that died, that we ensure they have everything they need -- OR ELSE THE ANS IS NO-GO!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mark. The mission on 10/3 was launched because the targets were identified and speed was necessary. The gunship and armor had been denied months before as part of the whole mission force, and the generals involved obviously decided they could accomplish the objectives without them. While the factors you mention -- daylight, khat -- certainly weighed against launching, I suspect actual military missions would rarely be undertaken if forces waited until all factors pointed go. We'd probably still be waiting for D-Day. MB

    gordon ft benning, ga
    To SFORDIE: I've got too much respect for the REAL SOF TIER units to respond to a peice of SHIT like you. Thanks to L.H. Buruss and to the others who quickly swooped down on this young immature soldier and squared him away. RLTW.
    Guy Cooper Ft Stewart, GA
    Mark,I Flew with B Co 2-25 AVN in MOG from Aug until Jan whe n we handed our Cobras to the 10 th CAV from Ft Carson. They released those aircraft in a lease deal to the Pakis on their departure in March I believe. P.S. 2-25 flew in support of 3-4 Oct from 2300 until well into the next day. Guy
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Guy. I'd be interested in talking to you after the 1st of the year. Please call me at 215-854-2400. If I'm not there, they'll tell you how to reach me. MB

    Sue McLean, VA
    Gordon and Others...once again someone "got your goat"...I agree that the comments were out of line, but here we go...the defensive ugly attitude is what kills me. And we even throw in some vulgarity to prove how educated and intelligent we can be when discussing these matters. D0 NOT e-mail...I do not want to correspond with you people. You give the Army a bad name by defending a unit that doesn't need your defense.
    Mike Stevens Cinnaminson NJ
    I read, comprehended and devoured your series and cant wait for the book. Any other projects in the works that you can talk about? PS. Good job!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mike. The book version of this one will keep me busy for the forseeable future, although I am working on a profile of Pat Robertson for Playboy Magazine. MB

    brent m trimble salisbury, MD
    MArk, in reference to my question regarding the medai "blackout" orchestrated by Gergen during the Somalia debacle: Perhaps "blackout" is too strong a word, however there was a concerted effort on te part of White House strategists to "forget" Somalia. Check out his link: "Newsday December 8, 1993, A Tough Encounter With Policy Survivors"By Patrick J. Sloyan. WASHINGTON BUREAU Reporters were barred from Walter Reed Army Medical Center duringthe Oct. 24 session when an uneasy Clinton met with some of the77 Americans wounded during an Oct. 3 battle that marked the endof a covert operation to seize Gen. Mohamed Farrah Aidid ... While Gergen refused to comment, another White House officialsaid Clinton wanted to avoid the appearance of exploiting theSomalia veterans.But the president's visit to the hospital was prompted by a callfrom an angry Walter Reed physician. According to hospital sources,the doctor called the White House." He said these men havebeen here for three weeks, and no one had paid any attention to them" I have followed this story since seeing the pictures or our dead naked soldiers
    Mark Bowden
    Yes, Brent, I was aware of this meeting. I've interviewed several of the soldiers who were there. Thanks. MB

    SSgt Mc Hugh, USAF Pentagon
    Mark, great job! I was glued to every page. The positive feedback from military members is a tribute to your honest and thorough work, and they're not the easiest bunch to win over! Is TSgt Wilkinson, of three that were there, the only Air Force guy you interviewed? Or were there more?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Sgt. McHugh. I have since spoken to Dan Schilling. I'd like to speak to the others, but haven't been able to set anything up yet. MB

    former infantryman arlington, VA
    Re: Mark of DC and his question about why they went during daylight. Seems to me that if you receive real time intelligence on a meeting that is going on, it doesn't make a lot of sense to schedule your raid for after dark, because the guys you want, just might not wait around for you. Of course, then you could read about the big raid that swooped down on an empty place. As far as your go/no go criteria, has the military changed that much ... Lt. Cols and Capts can decide that they don't have what they need??? Be serious, sir!
    former infantryman arlington, VA
    Gordon, I'm surprised at you! You let that silly SFordie get to you. He's probably not even in the military!
    LTC Ted Jordan Brandon, Fl
    I've heard there are ways to get copies of the video that was shown on Philly PBS and that you'all may make a CD for easier access to the audio and video portions. Please let me know how I can obtain these. I am a former Night Stalker and am currently with Special Operations Command, Central Command. Thanks
    Mark Bowden
    Call 1-800-440-1470, Ted. The CD, VHS tape and reprint should be ready any day now. MB

    LTC Ted Jordan Brandon, Fl
    Send any response to my question to Thanks again.
    Barrett Tillman Mesa, AZ
    Mark: Congrats on a fine job; have alerted my friends on the net to watch for your series. The AZ Republic has run the 1st 2 parts but doesn't say how many total will be involved.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Barrett. There are 29 Chapters, and counting the sidebars, about 32 stories in all. The book will be out in October, 1998 (Atlantic Monthly Press). I hope the Republic is tipping folks off to this Web site. It adds a few good dimensions to the story. MB

    J.R. Toelken Toledo, OH
    1. When did the Marines depart Somalia? Was there a MEU off shore when TFR was fighting and dying? If so, why weren't they called on to provide Cobra support, armored vehicles, etc.? 2. Apparently 10th Mtn had Cobra gunships available. Why weren't they used? Failure to use available assets suggests incompetence or fatal hubris on the part of the guys watching the fight on video.
    Mark Bowden
    1)The Marines left on May 4, 1993. I don't know what an MEU is. I don't know why the additional support you mention was not requested, but I presume it's because the commanders didn't feel they needed it. 2) The 10th's gunships did see limited use early in the morning of the 4th. MB

    JR Toelken Toledo, OH
    3. I've heard that the request for M-1/Bradley could not have been delivered in time to help TFR. What was that time line? If that rumor is true, then some people have been unduly hard on Clinton/Aspen. 4. Question 1 suggests an overall time line for the full Somalia mission is needed in your book. Also a summary of military assets available to help TFR would be nice.
    Mark Bowden
    3) The request for the AC130 and Bradleys was part of the initial force request in August, and I have never heard anyone suggest that it would have been impossible to deliver them. The choice was made by Aspin because, as he later explained it, of concern for so visibly escalating US military involvement when Congress was pushing for a pullout (Aspin later said he regarded his decision as having been a "mistake"). 4) Thanks. I will definitely have a timeline. MB

    Bob Jay Virginia Beach, VA
    Very interesting story. Glad you wrote it and The Inquirer printed it. You all did a real public service. It's a living memorial to the servicemen who served in Somalia.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Bob. MB

    A Shooter Out West
    Dear Mr Bowdin: You are to be congratulated on your work; it far sur- passes that of so-called "military reporters" in D Storm and elsewhere. Are you planning an epilogue to describe the survivors' collective attitude 4 years later? I wonder how they feel about the deaths of so many friends whose lives were squandered so unnecessarily.
    Mark Bowden
    I think that's a good idea. If not in the book itself, perhaps in a magazine article to come out next Fall when the book is published. Thanks for the compliment. MB

    Diver USA
    Mark, I was one of the Rangers at the 1st crash site. In seeral of the past questions, people have asked who was in charge at the crash site? There was a Cpt. "C", who was in command of the CSAR bird, who was in charge of the crash site. Cpt Steele attempted to pull his men away from the crash site, but Cpt. "C" wouldn't let that happen. He took control of the site, set up a perimeter with the rangers and CSAR personnel, and coordinated with Cpt. Miller, who was across the street.He also scrounged 2 sets of NODs and additional ammo out of the downed helo so we could defend ourselves that night. Another comment, the only animosity between the Rangers and Delta was at the senior leadership level (Steele & McKnight) and not with the soldiers themselves. Thanks for your time.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you. I would like to hear your own account of the fight. If you can, please call 215-854-2400. If I'm not there, they will tell you how to reach me. MB

    a former jarhead Monterrey, Mexico
    Surprise Sue! You jumped into a forum where a great many of the readers are warriors, some from spec ops, some from this very same battle. I, for one, am greatful that non spec-ops types are reading and asking questions (since you sign "Sue", I have to assume you are not from one of these units). These people are likely to have strong convictions and opinions - expressed emotionally, and not always in that "primp and proper" manner that the you might like. But if you want real answers, these are the ones to ask. RLTW/Class 11-85.
    gordon ft benning, ga
    To former Infantryman: your right. I surprised myself. I'll try not to let my loyalties take the venemous form it did. My apologies to Mr Bowden and others.
    craig(nrn) greenville
    excellent articles, reads along the lines on" Mogadishu!" thanks to everyone that was there NSDQ
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Craig. MB

    CPD221 Columbus, GA
    My complements or a work which will stand the test of time. A story which needed to be told. Who Dares Wins
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. More coming in the book, Oct., 1998. MB

    Jim Guelzow Victor, NY
    Mark, again, it is a great column/story. I appluad your efforts to take a story that most civilians ignore, and interpret it. Regardless of who did what, their points of view, or rivalries, you have managed to bring a lot to the surface. All this sniping aside, (I now see that should be left in the forum) those of us who made it home still remember those who did not.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Jim & Merry Christmas. MB

    Stacy Jennings Savannah, Georgia
    No question, just kudos for a job well done. I work for the Savannah newspaper which is carrying the series - first thing I look for everyday! Outstanding work!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Stacy. Which newspaper are you seeing it in? MB

    Sue McLean, VA
    No, I've never been in a battle...therefore, do not presume to "criticize"...have only been asking questions. Have many long year's association with US Army and, if I say so myself, a working knowledge of SOF. And I truly believe that underneath all the sniping, all these guys are "gentlemen at heart". The ones I've heard from off line are and, furthermore, are fascinating people to "know". I also know that at the top of my priority list of who I want to be associated with, it will forever be the men and women of our Armed Forces who have served and sacrificed for our freedoms.
    Mark Wash, DC
    Mark, good answer, but for clarification on your point of that, "I suspect actual military missions would rarely be undertaken if forces waited...still be waiting for D-Day." D-Day was cancelled several times--why -- casualty assessment and go criteria was not met!! My point was (trying not to get into a second guessing argument) it appears the planners knew they needed a heavier standby response and perhaps owed it to the parents of America to tell the chain of command -- this mission is too high a risk without such a response. If ordered, we'll go, but realize the cost." Lack of space for further dialog -- but as an example, recall that one of the Service Chiefs went against the grain to tell President Kennedy not to invade Cuba for reason --- unacceptable risk. Was this type of assessment and dialog conducted is the question -- answer appears no. Looks like they threw up their hands on first no answer. Were there other types of equivalent responses not available? (27 years as grunt and brigade-level command experience)
    Mark Bowden
    To my knowledge, Mark, no one involved with TFR believed they had inadequate force to do the job. In fact, they did the job, and claim they could have finished it. The argument is: How many casualties were acceptable for this mission? To some of the commanders of TFR, given past experiences in places like Vietnam, the loss of 18 men would be considered a minor risk -- the cost, perhaps, of doing any kind of serious combat. Clearly the Congress and the Clinton administration found those casualties (which wouldn't have warranted a press conference in Vietnam) a far greater cost than America was willing to bear, and pulled TFR back and then out. I think if there was a lack of assessment and dialog it was at the political level. If the mission was not worth 18 lives, then the time to decide not to pursue it was before the men were lost, not after. The military and its civilian leadership seemed to have been operating with different sets of expectations, the former realistic, the latter unrealistic. MB

    Mark, In response to J.R. Toelken's question re: Where were the Marines? I was with the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) that was enroute to Singapore on the 3d, we were immediately dispatched to Mogadishu, arriving -off shore- 10 days later along with a 2d MEU from the Mediterranian. As a note for your books epilogue, it may be effective to note how amaizingly "calm" the city appeared less than 2 weeks after this fight when the MEUs arrived. This is either a testament to the viability of naval expeditionary forces or to the Somalis who knew when to fight and when to hide, or both. By the way, Great Story, I too am telling every Marine, Soldier, Airman and Sailor I know to read this story and use it in their training! Semper Fidelis
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Secret Admirer Active Duty, USA
    I am a secret admirer of "Clint" and the remarks he is making all through the Forum. As a former Delta Operator who was there, he clearly has the best overall understanding of how the Rangers and 2-14 IN performed in combat. He is unquestionably qualified to point out all sorts of tactical mistakes and disciplinary problems in these other units. In fact, had both of these units received and complied with his tactics, techniques, and procedures, we might have avoided the 3-4 Oct fight all together. Furthermore, in future operations, no one would be qualified to assist Delta, except other Delta guys because no other unit has enough competance, maturity, or proper selection. When they make the movie, Clint could be the technical guy to make sure they get it right - the Ranger officers will be incompetent buffoons, 2-14 IN officers will hide in their armored vehicles, Ranger NCOs will not do their jobs, Ranger and 2-14 IN privates as scared out of their wits so bad they can't function, and 2-14 IN guys (beating their chest's) all with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths waiting for some mature Delta guy to kick them to move. Thanks Clint - you are doing your fellow operators,
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Wes. MB

    PJ Pallotta Spokane, Washington
    Mark, Hooah product! I was deployed at Mogadishu Airport during the time of Oct 3, 1993 as part of the USAF Security Police element. Do you have any updates about a National Broadcast?? Can't wait, thanks!!
    Mark Bowden
    No news yet. I know the TV folks were talking to Frontline. MB

    MAJ Kevin Henning Fort Benning, GA
    Mr. Bowden, have you interviewed any of the medical personnel of the 46th CSH who cared for the injured soldiers? I performed initial resuscitation on many of the injured and know the surgeons who performed dozens of life saving operations over a continuous 36 hour period.
    Mark Bowden
    I will be doing some interviewing of doctors in January. I would like to hear your story. Please call me at 215-854-2400. If I'm not there, they will get in touch with me. MB

    MAJ Kevin Henning Fort Benning, GA
    P.S. My email address in Please write me if you are interested in learning about the medical care which was initially provided to the injured soldiers.
    Mark Bowden
    Will do. MB

    Tim Davis Sioux Falls
    Once again, for those of you who seem to forget, 18 AMERICAN soldiers were killed. Regardless of their unit designation, they all bled in red. Their families would give up any medal just to hold them on last time, even for just a minute. If you are or were in SpOps, please THINK first before you type something stupid. Mark, great job. Don't change a word.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Tim. MB

    R.S. U.S.A.
    SFORDIE You should retire your computer and keep your clammorings to yourself.
    Voodoo 6 Wuerzburg, Germany
    Mark- good work on this. Just got back from Bosnia, where I was able to link-up with 2-14 again on foreign soil, and found out about this project. I was the medical platoon leader for 2-14 IN in Mog. Served previously in 75th Regt back in the 80s. Let me just say there's more and better incidents of sacrifice and courage under fire on the part of 2-14 IN than represented in the newspaper story. Everyone's story can't make it to print, but there's better material than dangling cigarettes and the Army College Fund, and I'll be looking for them in the book. Impressive writing, though. Good to see my brother Golden Dragons coming up on the net (Dragon 6, Terminator 5/6, etc). Merry Christmas.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Sue McLean, VA
    Guys, do not bother answering "Secret Admirer"...not worth your breath...I really believe Clint would not agree with his sentiments either. I think that you are all more rational than to dignify comments that don't sound very intelligent with any further rebuttals. Thanks. Happy Holidays to our of you.
    Terminator5 Savannah, GA
    Terminator6, Voodoo6 please contact me on e-mail when able at Merry Chistmas!
    jl usa
    Cpt. Steele, as I understand from shooters on the ground, refused to get his partner who was wounded. That's why "D" boys ran out to save him. Cowardice, possibly?
    Mark Bowden
    There were hard feelings toward Steele before the battle took place, which may well have colored interpretation of his actions. So take the criticisms in that light. Maj. Steele received a Bronze Star for Valor for his actions in the fight. There will be more about him and the D-boys in the book, which will be published in October. MB

    CCT TN
    Will there be a list by name of all the aircraft crews involved, along with the ground forces, and there awards?
    Mark Bowden
    We'll see. MB

    Eric Ruttencutter St. Louis, MO
    Regarding Adm. Howe, from Daniel Bolger's Savage Peace:"as Howe admitted, TF Ranger soldiers could have shot Aidid on several occasions.'Yes,' conceded the admiral, 'we've had many opportunities to eliminate him.That's not our job. We're trying to arrest him.'"p.329. Washington Times, Oct. 11, 1993, is cited as the source. Great series, by the way. The telling of this story is long overdue.
    Secret Admirer Active duty, USA
    Clint, If your still up to it, read some of the new letters in the forum in response to your comments. Merry Christmas!
    JR Behrman HOUSTON, Texas
    The US mission in Somalia was driven by domestic political insistence that US forces be under the exclusive control of US officers. Turkish and Italian officers in the UN mission were pushed aside and ignored. How did their approach differ from ours?
    Mark Bowden
    I don't know. You are correct, however, that US forces were strictly under US command, a point that got lost in some deliberate obfuscation later on, in disingenuous vows to "never to place American troops under UN command" again. MB

    Joe Fernandez South Jordan, UT
    In Chapter 6, you noted a Ranger named Anderson had a bad case of asthma. I thought asthma disqualifies from military service? Especiially any US Ranger stuff.
    Mark Bowden
    Yes. Anderson hid his condition, initially smuggling in his inhaler. That led to an interesting story that will be related in the book, Oct., 1998. MB

    Was with 2-14 IN in the "Mog" and now am state trooper in FL. Great Story. I want to personally thank the "little Bird" and Cobra pilots for their daring Close Air support while I was there. Will you include any of their first hand accounts as part of the book? Also I think the "secret admirer's" comments a few questions back was a bit nasty, but check out his letters in the Forum. I think they add quite a bit of background to an already great story.
    Mark Bowden
    I hope to. The Army is being more helpful these days. And, yes, I've been following the Forum closely. Some of these things I knew and plan to elaborate upon in the book, some of it is new information and very helpful. MB

    accused not important
    Mark, I have a strange request. Can you please post the dates that each group of questions was submitted? I have been mentioned as possibly being the spineless coward "Delta John". I was not here for 3 weeks and by posting the dates of the questions, I would be vindicated. Thank you very much. And tell "Delta John" to ID himself or shut up. He knows he has abandoned the very essence of being a quiet professional.
    Mark Bowden
    I'll pass this along to Jennifer, the online genie. We started out with software that noted dates, and then because of the volume had to adapt, and for some reason only two or three people in the world understand, dates dropped off the display. MB

    We'd love to get the dates back, too, but when we edited the program that creates these question & answer pages to allow you folks to post longer comments, the change threw off the date/time stamp. By 1,000 years. It was ugly. I can give you a rough estimate of the dates the pages of each round were created, if that'll help. You can e-mail me at -- Online ed.

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