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 16

    As a former soldier, though only combat support, who briefly trained with some Rangers I have nothing but the utmost respect for their professionalism and desication. However, I think the senior leadership of Special Ops has been too anxious to find jobs for them and other elite units. These missions can go out of control and suck in other forces. This tendency goes back to at least WWII. I would especially like to hear responses to this from Vietnam Vets with any remembrances of such operations. Thanks for a great and important series.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    former infantryman arlington, va
    Secret Admirer: I'm sorry that I misjudged you ... have read your comments in the forum section. Those are the kinds of things that need to be told. Its a good explanation of the problems encountered by the "Golden Dragons" as they fought their way to the crash site. I'm looking forward to more from you.
    former infantryman arlington, va
    JT, I don't really think there is a Vietnam comparison, unless you consider the use of Marine force recon units at times. Long range patrol units and their successors, ranger companies, sometimes were misused as regular units, but in general, they were not.
    thomas,ken columbus,ga
    mark, here in s. fla visiting my dad for holidays. The Columbus Ledger Enquierer had me come in and make additions to CHptr 22. I wrote in some things you might find interesting.They were supposed to forward it to you. I'll be back at 706 324 3723 Mon. 28 Dec. Lets talk please. Note: I never broke down sobbing in the street. No time for that.
    Mark Bowden
    I'll call you Monday, Ken. MB

    Peter Richard 15 Corky Court Blue Point, N.Y. 11715
    The primary mission of U.S. Army Rangers is Airfield Seizures not manhunting. Have any changes been made to Special Operations Operating Procedure to ensure that the Rangers, Delta Force and SEALS are assigned missions for which they are trained for?
    Mark Bowden
    Maybe one of the more knowledgeable folks can help you with this. MB

    Barbara Coupeville, WA
    I teach high school freshmen, and would like to be able to show Blackhawk Down as a way to integrate a World Cultures history class with my English class. The film with this web site (our lab's on-line) ought to make for some lively discussions. Would you be willing to respond to 15 year olds as well? Has PBS set a date yet?
    Mark Bowden
    I'm flattered, Barbara, and I would be happy to answer your students' questions. So far no national date. Check in with the film's producer, The entire package, story, film and CD-ROM are for sale on this Web site now, for $24. If you want, perhaps we could set up a chat. Contact Philly Online editor Jen Musser at 215-854-4474, or MB

    J. Bullinger Fort Rucker, AL
    Mark, Did you ever get a chance to interview Col. Tom E. Matthews, Commander of 1st Bn, 160th SOAR, on his role or his account of what happened? How about Matthews' Bn S3 Operations officer LtCol. Dave Lawrence? These two were a key part of the SOAR leadership in Somalia. Thanks, Jim
    Mark Bowden
    I would like to speak with Col. Matthews, and did speak briefly with his wife. If you could help arrange an interview with him and/or Col. Lawrence, I would appreciate it. MB

    mark san antonio, tx
    where can I start to research all this info?
    Mark Bowden
    This story would probably be a good place to start. Ambassador Robert Oakley wrote a good book about the whole Somalia intervention, entitled "Somalia and Operation Restore Hope." Michael Marin's book "The Road to Hell" gives some excellent insight into how Somalia got the way it is today. There are chapters on this incident in Col. David Hackworth's "Hazardous Duty" and Samuel Bolger's "Savage Peace," the former highly opinionated but well-informed and the latter a good concise summary military overview. There is an article by Capt. Charles P. Ferry in the Sept-Oct. issue of Infantry Magazine detailing the experiences of Alpha Rifle Co. of the 2-14th of the 10th Mt. Division. Some of the accounts of officers in the battle are on file at the USAIS Library, Ft. Benning, GA. There was a fine account of the battle written soon afterwards by Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post, and a series by Patrick Sloyan in Newsday (1994, I think) detailing the policy issues around the battle. Elizabeth Drew's "On the Edge" includes the best accounts I've seen of how the incident was handled at the White House. The next stop would be going, as I have, to primary sources, interviewing those involved. MB

    John Newark, DE
    Mark, I have never heard a shot fired in anger, but your account brought home to me the brutal reality of that battle. Good writers have that gift. Stephen Crane was able to do it, and now so have you. Congratulations. One final note. Wasn't the battle fought on the same day as the attack on the Russian "White House." I distinctly remember CNN's cameras focused on tanks taking pot shots at the Russian parliement; the battle in Mog was out of sight and hence out of mind - for a while. Check the dates.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, John. You are right about the attempted Russian coup. Elizabeth Drew's "On the Edge" recounts how Somalia came crowding in on an already busy foreign policy schedule. MB

    gordon ft benning, ga
    To Peter Richard: Your right about airfield seizures. However, the key word here is main or primary. The regiments mission is "to plan and conduct special military operations in support of the policies and objectives of the United States." This has been our mission since our activation in 1974. Included in this are many types of special operations which can support the policies and objectives of U.S. national interests. Our requirement to conduct all types of special operations remains unchanged, however, as with all the tier units we have our forte...this remains airfield siezures. Hopefully this answers your question.
    DTD Newburgh , N.Y
    It goes like this Mark, sure we had a few weak links in our company, but I'll tell you what SO DID DELTA and the 10 mtn. every unit has its people that slip threw the crack. As for sfordie you piece of SHIT i would give every thing I have to get a hold of you and go to work on you, you scum bag. Whats your job anyway? I apolgize to everyone for my outburst but people like sfordie should keep his mouth shut or someone may just SHUT it for him permantly. THANK YOU RLTW!!!
    JCB Cincinnati, OH
    DTD: Good to hear you sound off. Maybe SFORDIE is that guy who asked you "Is that REALLY Delta in the hangar?" Don't worry about the guy - must have be a slow night at the Reception Station CQ desk. I'm sure we'll be hearing from other 'warriors'in the months to come.
    D.M. Kennedy Thousand Oaks CA
    We need to hear more from the "LNO from TFR to COMCENT"(13)! In my opinion, he has the key to why this operation failed. The OPERATIONAL U.S. (vice Administrative or UN) Chain of Command is critical: direct from TFR to COMCENT to SECDEF (via COMJCS). I'm left curious as to why COMUSCENTCOM (four-star General Hoar, the designated, responsible warfighting CinC) apparently did not go the distance for his people, slow-rolled the request from his field commander, didn't fight for the resources his commander said he needed before the incident, ultimately let down both his soldiers and his superiors (SecDef and POTUS), but was never held accountable. Would the previous holder of the CENTCOM billet have given up so easily, or allowed the civilian Secretary of Defense to take the blame for his Command's failure? Special Operations personnel are known for being phenomenally brave, but the downside is that they often underestimate their own vulnerability. Unit pride (so evident in comments from your questioners) gets in the way of admitting that you might capability outside your own unit, or might need help from another unit or service. This intense unit pride is both the streng
    Dave Cleveland, OH
    Mark - wonderful and informative series. Did you learn much about the specific training the Rangers and Delta received for this kind of urban snatch and grab raid? Will you discuss the differences in the training received by these forces in the book?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Dave. There will be more about the training these units received in the book, and more about their differences overall. It helps explain how each saw its role on 10/3-4. MB

    Hunter Arizona
    Mark, really loved the story, Was reading it in Az Republic but they are doing a poor job editing it leaving out much of your story. Decided to look for this site(which they don't t ell you about!) and am glad I did, spent five hours this evening. Looking forward to the book
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks for your persistence. We have no control, unfortunately, over how other newspapers edit and present the story. But I'm flattered so many have picked it up and are running it, considering it numbers 30 parts or more. MB

    Jim C San Jose, CA
    Mark, I seem to remember mortars (60mm) being organic to Rangers. Short range, and don't work too well with helos flying around, true, but were they left behind during the deployment? If so, fear of 'collateral damage' in urban environment an issue, same-same as with AC 130? Thanks, and I look forward to reading your book.
    Mark Bowden
    As far as I know TFR did not use mortars. I suspect it was out of concern for collateral damage, which was an overriding issue throughout. I don't see how they would have helped much on 10/3-4, but that might be my own ignorance showing. MB

    Charlie Overseas
    Mark, A little extra background for you. In late 1991 the UN Development Programme announced that there was high potential for oil and nat'l gas reserves in N. Somalia. And in fact, one of the quieter missions of the early US forces there was extracting western oil exploration teams that were having problems with the locals out in the hinterlands. I'm not trying to paint a "blood for oil" picture, but these were the days just after the Gulf war and over-dependence on gulf oil was a hot issue. Obviously the existing Somali political situation wasn't cutting it; we needed a friendly gov't. Hence the US/UN nation building mission was not entitrely motivated by pure humanitarian causes. Maybe you could use this in the book to help answer some of the strategic "why's". Congrats on an excellent series. If it doesn't win a Pulitzer, the prize is rigged!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Charlie. I could be wrong, but I don't believe oil had a thing to do with it. I think the nation-building effort grew out of an ambitious UN and an American administration that was eager (perhaps overeager) to help out. MB

    Mark, I really appreciate your thought provoking responses -- time spent on the answer is obvious with all your responses. As a warfighter "fighting a desk in DC," I look forwared every morning to follow the story and the Q&As. This is the best Professional Military Education going!!! I continue to pass along the internet address to everyone I know because this is a great effort to educate. Your effort will significantly contribute to the survival of those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who participate in future battles. I look forward to your book!!!!!! WELL DONE!!
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you. MB

    Big-D Savannah, GA
    MB, great story, after reading 'Mogidishu' your story tells it better from the soldiers view. Wasn't there, but some of my coworkers were and have good stories of thier own. Will the book have move of the events leading up to this night and also more about the Night Stalkers roles and missions? Also, are you going to release the show date when you find out? I will be checking in often to find out...NSDQ!!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. The book will tell more about the Nightstalkers' role on 10/3-4, but not much about previous missions. I have to leave some stories for you guys who really know what you're talking about. I promise we'll post the national air date as soon as we get it. You can order the videotape right now, along with a CD-ROM and series reprint, on this site or at 1-800-440-1470. MB

    MC Ft Bragg, NC
    In your intoduction and explanation of photos, you incorrectly ID a Cobra as a type of Blackhawk helicopter. The Cobra is a version of the Huey.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks for pointing it out. MB

    Big-D Savannah, GA
    TO ZACH W: yes it is sad people have to die in combat, and some civilians who are unarmed, but did you read the story? These soldiers do what they have to do to survive, they serve the greatest country in the world, are are willing to die if necessary. They don't ask much, they go anywhere, anytime, and do what is asked. It must be nice to just sit back and pass judgement on these men from your lazyboy. These soldiers have to live with what they saw and did, they lost friends and killed other people. I thank them for doing this, and I am glad this country can depend on men like this and not have to rely on the beliefs of men like you.
    Big-D Savannah, GA
    TO ZACH W: continued. It is people like you that we as soldiers fight to protect. The people who call the police when needed, and then sue for brutality when they show up. Holier than thou hipocrates!! If you don't want the help, don't ask, if you don't like what our government does, leave. But don't put yourself above everyone else. Enjoy your freedom, and respect those who help to give it to you. They are unappreciated and don't ask for your approval, they just keep doing the job. Let them do it!!! NSDQ
    Big-D Savannah, GA
    MB, sorry, had to vent. That was for all the people who are always the 'victoms'. Your story was great, and i plan on buying the book when it comes out. Will pass on the website to all my coworkers and friends.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    lttonyk Bettendorf IA
    Been asked before, but I dont want to miss when this aires on national television. Has there been a date set?
    Mark Bowden
    No date yet, sorry. Everything slows down during holiday season. You can order the videotape now, with a series and reprint, at 1-800-440-1470, or on this Web site. MB

    Min Fort Benning, Georgia
    After reading your series of articles "Blackhwak Down" I was completely overwhelmed with knowledge of what our soldiers went through in Somalia. God Bless our Soldiers and thank you again for a fantastic series. Please email me at for information regarding CD-ROM, books and audiotapes of this series. Thank you again.
    Mark Bowden
    You're welcome. MB

    Min Fort Benning, Georgia
    After reading your series of articles "Blackhwak Down" I was completely overwhelmed with knowledge of what our soldiers went through in Somalia. God Bless our Soldiers and thank you again for a fantastic series. Please email me at for information regarding CD-ROM, books and audiotapes of this series. Thank you again.
    Michael Boise, Idaho
    MB- Just finished the story. A special thanks to all the military people in this country who "stick it out there" so the rest of America can enjoy their double skinny lattes. I wish we had an administration who appreciated you as well.
    J. Jones Raleigh, NC
    Excellent job Mark. Your work has definitley helped me see what our military goes through. I also praise your patience with those eager to criticize. My question is who is Delta John(Ft. Bragg)? He has excellent commentary in the Q&A? Is he in "Blackhawk Down" and where at? I tried to find him in Who's who. Please forgive me for coming in late on the story and having hurriedly read it all. Superb job
    Mark Bowden
    Our friend Delta John has chosen to remain anonymous. He may be in the story. Thanks for the note, and I'm glad you liked the story. MB

    My father sent me all of the chapters. The StarTribune didn't mention a thing about the series. I was appalled by the per- formance of the senior officers. Watching the battle on video cameras!!! Were there any disciplinary actions taken? Sounds like the army covered this one up, right up to chairman of JCS.
    Mark Bowden
    To my knowledge, there was no formal disciplinary action taken against anyone. There were, however, lots of decorations, more than for any single episode in recent American military history. A few soldiers who failed to perform were encouraged to leave elite units, and did. MB

    marka phoenix,AZ
    Mark,your story covers the ordeal of the brave Rangers as it richly deserves.If the multi-national rescue operation (without which the tragedy would have been many times worse) has a place in your account, you need to do some homework on the role of Malaysian and Pakistani soldiers.There is a lot they did,at the risk of their lives,to rescue men that were not their compatriots,that is not mentioned in your account.Some Rangers/10th Mountain veterans may like to comment?Most Malaysian or Pakistani soldiers dont own computers,nor have access to the internet,nor speak English.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Marka. There will be more about the Malaysian soldiers in the book, the drivers and gunners on the APCs in the final rescue column, and a mention or two of the Pakistani tanks that went out with that column. I know many of the American soldiers remain deeply grateful for the selfless heroism of the Malaysians who risked their lives when "they didn't have a dog in the fight," as one officer put it. There have been stories about Malaysians being threatened with pistols to drive on (Tom Wolfe's fictional "Ambush and Ft. Bragg" includes such an account) but my research shows nearly all the Malaysians performed professionally, and what problems developed had to do with language barriers and conflicts between orders the drivers had received from their own commanders and what American commanders wanted them to do on the ground, not reluctance or cowardice. MB

    marka phoenix,AZ
    Mark,your story covers the ordeal of the brave Rangers as it richly deserves.If the multi-national rescue operation (without which the tragedy would have been many times worse) has a place in your account, you need to do some homework on the role of Malaysian and Pakistani soldiers.There is a lot they did,at the risk of their lives,to rescue men that were not their compatriots,that is not mentioned in your account.Some Rangers/10th Mountain veterans may like to comment?Most Malaysian or Pakistani soldiers dont own computers,nor have access to the internet,nor speak English.
    willie N.C
    No questions for Mark, but to fellow TF Ranger members it's good to read your comments and to see the heavy barrage returned back to those clueless individuals who fail to realize that from the Private on up to the command level, regardless of which unit, acts of heroism took place on Oct3 . We, not just TFR, but all members of the US Army lost 18 valuable soldiers and aviators on that day. It is for them that this book is written, not to build up our egos or to prove who's better. R.L.T.W.
    Mark Tucson
    Very, Very well done. One of the best pieces of investigative journalism I have read in many years. Many compliments to your web page designer, fine, fine work.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, and I agree with your assessment of the fine folks at Philly Online. True pioneers. MB

    MC Ft Bragg, NC
    Before I am corrected, the Cobra is neither a "version" of the Black Hawk nor the Huey (Bell UH-1). It would probably be more correct to label it as a contemporary of the Huey. Developed by Bell after the initial buildup in Vietnam, it was built on a unique frame, but used many of the same parts as a huey, e.g. engine and transmission. It was the first helo built specifically as a gunship, unlike the armed A and B model hueys used initially in this role, and deployed to Vietnam around 1967 or 68.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Carl Falls Church, VA
    My compliments on "Blackhawk Down"... it's superb. I was assigned to DIA during the Mogadishu operation. Without going into detail, my experiences left me bitter. Yes, the soldiers on the raid were brave, but the bottom line is that the raid accomplished nothing and those that died lost their lives for nothing. Okay, on with the back-slapping...
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Carl. I certainly understand the feelings of bitterness and pointlessness. MB

    D.M. Kennedy Thousand Oaks, CA
    Mark, sorry for running on in my last EMail regarding COMCENT accountability. Bottom line: you have given us a great piece that has set a standard and a path for future journalistic efforts. Like many others, I'm looking forward to your book.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Col Pablo Pine Mtn, Ga
    Good Lord man. This is the best stuff since SLA Marshall. Is there a follow up to any punishment, UCMJ or not, for the people that planned and oversaw this trajedy of errors ie... CINC, Secdef, JCS, any other 0-8s, 0-7s, or 0-6s that killed some of Americas finest?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. There will be an epilogue that will bring all of the book's characters up to date. MB

    BlackBeard China Lake, Ca.
    Mark, I have never been moved so much by a newspaper story. Pulitzer material to say the least. And your Web people are to be congratulated too, this is the epitome of what the web should do. I have a newfound respect for the men involved. Interservice rivalry aside, great job and thanks to those involved. From a former Submariner.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Terminator6 On Block Leave
    Terminator5....Will write after I return home from Leave....Some Gave All
    LTC Cliff Cloonan Ft. Bragg, NC
    I am Dean of the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center (JSOMTC) at Ft. Bragg. We use the TF Ranger raid as a case study. I have previously been unable to access much of the material you have in your article so I was surprised to see it all in the article. I would very much like to find out how I can get further info regarding casualties, effectivess of body armor, effect of heat and dehydration, treatment of wounds, long term outcome of wounded, etc... At a minimum I would like to get permission to use all that is on the Website as part of my medical case study for our Spec Ops medics. I can be reached at work (910-396-0089/3517) or at home (910-486-0801) or by e-mail at this e-mail address or at my work e-mail address, Any assistance you can provide in making this case study a more valuable learning experience for my students would be most appreciated. Thanks Cliff Cloonan, MD
    Mark Bowden
    I'll be in touch. MB

    Robert Pohlman Baltimore, Md. USA
    Can you repost the President's first words to the press concerning the deaths (read, needless deaths) of American troops in the initial action. No American soldier should ever be put in this type action again....But sadly when one looks at Congress and the Administration today there is little combat experience reflected !!!! And How do we stop it?!!
    Mark Bowden
    I'm afraid I don't have a transcript of the President's remarks. I'll try to get one for the book. Maybe somebody out there can answer this. MB

    Reggie Ypsilanti, MI
    How long will this story be available on this web site? I trully enjoy it and want to read every piece of it.
    Mark Bowden
    I'm told it will be up for as long as there is an Internet, so take your time. The book will be out in October. This series represents only about a third of the book. MB

    john gay santee, calif.
    just found your web site. good article, but there are some inaccuracies regarding the Navy SEALS who participated in the the Battle of Mog. let me know if you want me to help your fix them if its not too late.
    Mark Bowden
    Boy, am I glad to hear from you, John, the man with the knife. Your account of the battle, typed and single-spaced, was the best of many written in the days immediately after the fight, and I leaned heavily on it for this account. I would be delighted to speak with you, and would very much appreciate any corrections. It's never too late to make a fix online, and you could make a big contribution to my account in the book. Unfortunately, all I see on this posting is your name. Could you telephone me at the Inquirer foreign desk (215-854-2400) and bear with the electronic maze until you reach me? Or email Jen, the online editor ( with your phone number and she'll forward it to me. I'd be most grateful and I'll get back in touch pronto. MB

    Philip Miano Norwalk, CT
    Mark- Thank you for all your work in getting all of this out in the open. I was a Special Forces Medic in 5th group 84-86. I went thru the SFQC with Earl Fillmore.I left the service to go on to college and a civilian career. I was deeply touched whe I heard of Earls death,by chance, a year or so ago. Thank you for telling me how and when etc... Can you tell me anything more concerning Earl? If you need to reach me days I am at 203.840.5467 or email Thank you.
    Mark Bowden
    I'll be in touch. MB

    Ken Kasprisin Carlisle, Pa
    Why weren't the U.S. APCs and ACEs in country used in the rescue?
    Mark Bowden
    I don't believe there were any US APCs in Mogadishu, and I'm afraid I don't know what ACEs are. MB

    Kevin C. Phila, Pa.
    Mark, What a great series. I would stay up late as each new chapter was put on-line the previous evening than the morning paper. Just one question, were all the bodies of the KIAs returned or did they have to be negotiated for?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Kevin. All the bodies were accounted for, through a process that involved both guile and negotiation, as I understand it. I don't know the details. MB

    S. Albin Bellingham, WA
    I've been waiting for 4 years to read an indepth article about the events of 3 oct. The armor unit arrived approx 3 weeks later from the 24th ID (mech) part of the RDF. The Air Force airlifted a QRF to Mog in less than 48 hours when the word was given for the armor unit to go. So, It could have been there. Great stuff, waiting for the book and PBS show. Will there be more helicopter video tape on the TV show?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. Yes, there's more helicopter video in the film, but not a lot. The vast majority of it remains classified. The book will be out in October (Atlantic Monthly Press) and you can order the documentary (along with a reprint of the series and a CD-ROM of this website) at 1-800-440-1470, or through this Web site. MB

    George Scottsdale, AZ
    Mark, I really appreciated your acount of the 3-4 Oct mission. I was the first Liaison Officer from the QRF to work with TF Ranger. 1LT Breen (he commented on Round 15) worked with me. Excellent accounting but I hope there will be more on the TF Ranger, QRF (Ft Drum) and UN relationships and involvement. I wish all those who served the very best; for they are all heros. Please contact me at (attn: George) or (602) 563-5333. A special hello to TF 160th.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, George. I'll be in touch. MB

    min fort benning, georgia
    Just finished leaving the msn chat room: "armed forces chat" and told everyone there to check out your web site "blackhawk down". Again, thank you for an excellent series of articles. I hope that you continue to have much success as a responsible journalist.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, and thanks for the plug. MB

    1Lt Carol Kanode Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
    Extremely engrossing text; read it for hours on end. Glad your telling this story. In chapter 28, you mentioned John Macejunas who wore civilian clothes to search for his fellow D-boys. Will you elaberate on this event in your book? Have you spoken to him?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Carol. I have not, unfortunately, had a chance to speak to the amazing Mace, but hope to. There will be more about him in the book ... a legendary figure. MB

    J. Grierson St. Gallen, Switzerland
    Congratulations. Incredible story, well told. Has anyone explored, or will you, why the extensive US military and civilian experience in Somalia was not drawn upon to better "know thy enemy"?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. I'm not too good on the "why didn't they...?" school of questions, but it's a good question and a discussion I hope my story prompts. MB

    Ken Kasprisin Carlisle, Pa
    Mark - reference the U.S. APCs and ACEs. There were 4 APCs and two ACEs (Armored Combat Earthmovers) from the 317th EN BN(CBT)in Mogadishu for about two weeks prior to the Oct Ranger/Delta mission. The APCs had three .50 cal MGs and one M-19. That platoon also had two .50 cal sniper rifles. Again the question - Why wasn't the only U.S. mechanized force in country used in the rescue operation? Thanks, Ken
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks for the information, Ken, and, again, I don't know the answer. I know that Garrison and Montgomery, after reaching out to the Malaysians and Pakistanis for APCs and tanks, approached Indian troops who began moving tanks to Mogadishu in the event they were needed (they weren't). I would suppose that if American assets were nearby, they would have employed them. They didn't. I'll ask around when I get the chance. MB

    Andy Tillman Bend, Oregon
    Dear Mark, I was the small arms editor for International Defense Review, the monthly magazine of the Janes Information Group for 15 years. A couple of quick corrections. The CAR-15 is a semi automatic rifle for civilian market. You probably mean an M-4, an M-16A2 with 14 inch barrel. The MP5-K is a sub machine gun with short 5 inch barrel, not "an automatic rifle." as described in chapter 8. Issued to Task Force 160 flight crews with "Navy" sound suppressor (silencer). Worn on lower leg with two spare magazines. Wonder if Durant used his MP5K with suppressor. The 40mm Mk 19 grenade does not penetrate two inches of steel and then explode as you say in chapter 15. It explodes and then penetrates steel with a shaped charge jet of high velocity plasma same as an RPG round. Unlike the RPG it also has anti personnel fragments. I am the only journalist to test fire the Mk19 with live ammo. Can send you test report on this and MP5K if you are interested. In glossary some mistakes: AK-47's are really AKM. No need to repeat this often mistaken identity. AK-47's were replaced by AKM with stamped receivers 25 years ago. A lot lighter. SAW fires 5.56mm ammo same as M-16. TOW
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Andy. I appreciate the corrections. As for the CAR-15, I have relied on the Delta soldiers and Rangers for descriptions of the weapons they carried. The Delta guys, in particular, seem extremely knowledgable about their weapons, and some told me they carried a CAR-15. Peter Squeglia, who was company armorer for the Rangers, also told me he carried a CAR-15. MB

    Jim Dunn Fremont Ca
    The San Jose Mercury News started running this story in their paper yesterday Jan 2 1998,and will run it for the rest of the month.It really has got my attention.Then I came to this web site with the videos,etc..I saw that it may be broadcast nationally in the future.Do you know when that might be?
    Mark Bowden
    Glad to see the story running out your way, Jim. We still have no national air date for the documentary. You can, however, order a copy of the complete series, the videotape and a CD-ROM of this Web site by placing on order on the BHD home page, or calling 1-800-440-1470. BHD will be published as book, with about three times as much material, by Atlantic Monthly Press in October, 1998. MB

    Richard Smith San Luis Obispo
    The Black Caucus was awfully quiet following this disaster. Did any of them offer comments afterward?
    Mark Bowden
    I am not aware of the Black Caucus in particular taking a position on the events in Somalia. MB

    Bill C'ville VA
    Mark, Re awards: Was CWO Mike Durant ever awarded the POW Medal? He came to talk to the SERE instructors and students while I was the CO there, but I still had no authority to give him that medal, which I felt (and still do) he earned during his captivity. So, has he gotten it yet? Is it in the works? Has this been forgotten? Maybe your brillant series will remind the chain of command that we still owe Mike something. DOL/RLTW
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Bill. As I understand it, what happened in Mogadishu has not been officially recognized as "war," so it is not possible to recognize Durant as a prisoner of war. There are international legal questions that arise when war is officially declared. Along similar lines, I talked to a soldier the other day who served with the 2-14 10th Mt. Division in Mogadishu who is trying to get his county in upstate New York to recognize his service in Mogadishu 10/3-4 as "combat," because the local tax laws give a substantial break to veterans of combat. That, too, is still up in the air. I told him if the local tax officials doubted 10/3-4 was "combat," he should have them read this story. MB

    A.S. Stillwater MN.
    MB.......I just say your article for the first time in the the Pioneer Press. I went to your this site asap to read the rest. I was very enlightened I guess you could call it. I leave for Ft. Benning Ga, Where I'm persuing to be a ranger. In your opinion are rangers to young? I myself am 19. Everything can't always go perfect in missions of this sort, but should this be more of a operation for the more experience like Delta Force?
    Mark Bowden
    I'm glad you got a chance to see the story. I think Rangers are exactly the right age. It takes very young men to do what they ask. But you should go with your eyes open. If you've read this story, you have a clear idea of what might be asked of you. As for this mission, it was conceived primarily as a Delta mission. The Rangers were a vital part of it, but in a supporting role. I think any questions about what happened in Mogadishu reolve around the terrible situation these guys were placed in, not their heroism, performance or age. Good luck and Godspeed. MB

    jan reber southport, ct
    Great series--well researched, well written, and the web presentation is well executed. thanks
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Jan. MB

    CPT Anthony Zeruto Vicenza, Italy
    I am the BN S2 for 1-508th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, Europe's rapid reaction force. I would like a copy of the PBS special that recently aired. I will pay for tape, shipping and handling. You've produced an exceptional account of the leadership challenges faced by all involved.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Captain. You can order a copy of the tape, CD-ROM and a reprint of the series on this Web site, or by calling 1-800-440-1470. Chow, MB

    rick watsonville,ca.
    why was there any artillery support or a reactionary force.
    Mark Bowden
    As I understand it, artillery would have caused too much collateral damage, and there was a reaction force, the 10th Mt. Division, which ultimately pulled TFR out. MB

    Joe P Fehr St Paul Park MN
    Sir: I read your series Blackhawk Down and was very impressed. Your article is the finest example of good writing and reporting. I thank you.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Joe. MB

    Pat Barrett
    Difficult to get on your Web Site...suggest you contact Sun Microsystems to purchase a scalable Web Server to insure others don't experience this difficulty
    Mark Bowden
    Sorry if you've had trouble. Jen, our online genie, says that if you'd like to make a late Christmas present of a Sun webserver, they'd accept it. MB S.F. CA
    Just a comment; I'm sure you've read "Hazardous Duty" by Hackworth; just wanted to recommend his commery in the slight chance you'd missed it; quite relevant to your article. John

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