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 20

    LFitch Houston TX
    Re: Alex von Sunnydale: "Why couldn't the Marine's (sic) be involved..." Study the events at Desert I in Iran and you'll see why Marines are no longer invited to events of this type. See espec Jim Kyle's "The Guts to Try"
    Ted Redman Atlanta, Ga
    Will there be anything in the book about the Ranger medics that were there..... Sgt. Black, Spc. Stanfield, et al.?
    Mark Bowden
    Ranger medics Strous and Good make an appearance in the book, as well as severeal of the Delta medics and Air Force PJs. I'm afraid I will not be able, even in 500+ pages, to tell the story of everyone who fought in Mogadishu on 1-/3-4/93. MB

    lefty san jose ca
    As I read these captions I cannot help but to cry, for I know all too well the thoughts that these young men have racing through their head. It seems to me that the main source of firepower the skinnies had were light weapons. How come we were not provided with tracked vehicles?
    Mark Bowden
    I would refer you back to the earlier rounds of Q&As, lefty. Defense Secretary Les Aspin cut Bradley armored vehicles from the force request. There are those who feel this was, perhaps, the worst single mistake associated with this event (and, indeed, Aspin later acknowledged it was a mistake). Others, notably Maj. Gen. Bill Garrison, the TFR commander, believe armor would not have significantly altered what happened and might have made things worse. MB

    former Infantryman Arlington, Va
    Mark TO&E -table of organization and equipment
    Former Infantryman Arlington, VA
    Re: Armor in built up areas. Unfortunately, armor guys like to dream of massed tank bns operating over open, rolling terrain or in deserts ( approx 10% of earths surface). The Gulf War was the first time they could do this since Tunisia in 1943. In between, tanks have fought in jungles, mountains and cities and done well. The armor on an M-1 or Bradley stops a lot more than a flak jacket or BDUs will. For anyone to suggest that 5 ton trks or Humvees were better in Mog is pretty ridiculous.
    Rey San Jose
    Not a question but another reader riveted to the web site. You've done a great job writing the story. To all the servicemen and servicewomen, thanks.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Rey. MB

    Shanna Jagusch St. Paul, MN
    It was mentioned in the analysis on p7 that the Somalian warlord had written to former President Carter and that Carter had taken the peaceful message to Clinton who received it 'warmly'. So why then were our troops there if both leaders were seemingly ready to negotiate?
    Mark Bowden
    If you read further in the same story, it explains that American and UN leaders believed Aidid's willingness to negotiate was a direct consequence of the pressure being applied by TFR. They were pursuing a two-track strategy (carrot and stick). MB

    reader St. Paul, MN
    Why aren't the videos working?
    Mark Bowden
    They work okay on my computer. I'll refer you to our online genie, Jennifer. MB

    bradley stout ft irwin ca
    I really enjoyed your article, there was no sugar coating about it and you talked to the soldiers. If you ever do a continuation story do one on what happened before the rangers arrived 44 americans died total only 18 on those 2 days, there is alot more of a story there than just oct 3-4
    Mark Bowden
    You are right, Bradley. I think that's probably true of most stories, especially about war. I do hope that BlackHawk Down will help Americans remember the sacrifices made in Somalia by all the men and women who served there. MB

    Dan Hagee Paoli, PA
    Your piece was heart wrenching to read. As a veteran of the USMC debacle in Beirut it pained me to read a similar tragedy happen a decade later. Great Work...the show was great as well.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Dan. MB

    Ed San Jose, Ca.
    Well Done...Enjoy your Pulitzer.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Mark Cushing Seattle, WA
    The Seattle Times has been running your series for a few weeks now. I must tell you that this is most harrowing account of battle I have ever read. The store hooked me from chapter 1 and I can't wait to read each installment each day.Keep up the great work and I hope to read more of your articles in the future.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Mark. I've been very flattered that so many newspapers have picked up the series, especially considering its length. Newspapers in Columbus, Ga., Alabama, St. Paul, San Jose, Arizona and Grand Forks, N. Dakota so far. The book will be out in October, The Atlantic Monthly Press. MB

    Mark Cushing Seattle, WA
    The Seattle Times has been running your series for a few weeks now. I must tell you that this is most harrowing account of battle I have ever read. The store hooked me from chapter 1 and I can't wait to read each installment each day.Keep up the great work and I hope to read more of your articles in the future.
    Eric Ruttencutter St. Louis, MO
    Another book on the intervention in Somalia that hasn't been mentioned yet is Losing Mogadishu, by Jonathan Stevenson. ISBN 1-55750-788-0, Naval Institute Press. Good luck on your book, and don't let Hollywood mess up the movie.
    Mark Bowden
    You're right. I have it on my shelf. Thanks, Eric. MB

    LTC Cliff Cloonan Fort Bragg, NC
    Mark, I know you are busy. Any possibility of getting a copy of the entire casualty list (or let me know your source)? I am continuing to work on the Mogadishu Raid Medical Case Study for the JSOMTC and will use this info to train SOF medics for combat. Any assistance you can provide to help me "flesh out" the medical aspects of this raid would be appreciated. Thanks Cliff
    Mark Bowden
    I'll send you what I've got on Monday. MB

    Mark, did you mean to say that no AC-130's were ever used in MOG or just on 3-4 OCT? Because I certainly remember seeing them on the MOG airfield ramp and actually used them a few times to help spot for me as we flew "eyes over MOG" missions.
    Mark Bowden
    Just on 10/3-4/93. MB

    Pablo Lee Seattle, WA
    I think your article brings to light the heroism that is lost in todays world. It made me furious to see this headline being quickly overshadowed by a basketball player deciding to retire. Is it possible to get a copy of the documentary?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Pablo. You can order a copy of the series, the CD-ROM and the videotape by calling 1-800-440-1470, or right here on this Web site. MB

    Steve Baller Hastings, MN
    I just wanted to say thank you, I served during Desert Storm and this does credit to the people who were in Somalia. People don't realize what war is all about.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Steve. MB

    David Nguyen New York, New York
    Dear Mr. Bowden: Your article "Blackhawk Down" is remarkable. You also mentioned that there is a TV Documentary based on your work. Where and when the documentary will be shown? And what would it be called? Thank you.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, David. The documentary is entitled "Good Intentions, Deadly Results," and aired in Philadelphia back in January on the local PBS station. Still no national air date, but we expect it will be shown this year. You can order it, along with a reprint and a CD-ROM of the series, by calling 1-800-440-1470 or by clicking on the right places on this Web site. MB

    CPT Brad U.S. Army
    I'm very excited for you and your phenomenal series. It goes without saying, at this point, that your attention to detail, unswerving adherence to the facts and dogged determination to "get it right" have won over the support and adoration of a great deal of the military community. This is no small task (as I'm sure you well know). We ache to have reporters, writers, and movie producers "get it right" and generally just laugh and shake our heads when they don't. You've transcended an emotional barrier WE'VE constructed to protect ourselves from those who've never served and don't care to understand what we go through. Let it be known we appreciate your efforts to "get it right". I have one unsolicited request. The movie deal will reach a much broader audience and, unfortunately, is potentially where the trust you've developed could go sour with the military...please, please, pursue accuracy with that account as everything in your power to hold the producers, directors, and actors to your exceptional standard. Perhaps the warriors of the battle of Mog will act as technical advisors (who knows, maybe the military will support the
    CPT Brad U.S. Army
    effort...and really complicate your efforts :) You have a monumental task ahead Mr. Bowden... good luck! Congratulations on your success. And again, Thank You. P.S. I'd like to e-mail you (I know, I know, you won't have time until the year 2001) and ask some writing questions.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you very much, Brad. I will do my best with the movie. The producer and director have said they want to be accurate, and have hired me to write the screenplay, which means I'll at least start out with a shot at some control. But movies are the ulimate collaborative art form, and I can't promise I will even be happy with what is ultimately done. The good news is that whenever a big movie is made about a book, it promotes sales of the book like nothing else in this world. So it's kind of a Faustian bargain. Even if the movie gets it wrong, more people end up reading the book, which I can stand fully behind. Any mistakes there will be my very own fault. You can reach me by email through MB

    Vito Charlottesville, VA
    I don't mean to add to the confusion but... In Q/A #18 (I think) you mentioned the book would be called Black Hawk Down (not Blackhawk Down). I did a net search using UH-60 as a search term. Several web sites with the .mil extension came up. It seems they use both the one word and 2 word version on their pages. Which one is correct? I haven't the foggiest, but I thought I should mention it.
    Mark Bowden
    Sikorsky says it's two words. So the book will be Black Hawk Down, or maybe BlackHawk Down which has been suggested as a compromise. Frankly, it don't matter a hill-o'-beans to me. MB

    John L Knoxville, TN
    Mark, thanks for the response to my inquiries. I am impressed by the time you spend answering questions. I can't disagree w/ Sikorsky, but is it possible that the Army uses a different nomenclature? I think I'm right about the use of Indian names for helicopters, which would imply its one word. No need to respond, just a suggestion to check further. BTY, I didn't mean to suggest the SEALS didn't hold their own. I just wondered why they were in the mix, since the inclusion of units from different services can lead to "unity of command" problems.
    Eugene Lim Guildford, United Kingdom
    I am a Malaysian working in the UK for the moment. I found your account rivetting. Naturally, the M'sian press makes a muck of the Malaysian involvement (glossing over the details). But thanks for not passing judgements.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Eugene. MB

    Liam Jackson New Jersey
    Dear Mr. Bowden I am particularly interested in the gunship issue. An interesting bit of info, although likely with little impact on TFR, was the fact than an ammo defect caused the IMMEDIATE withdrawal of AC-130s from combat following the Kenya crash. I'll forward you the info...
    Tom Hunter CA
    Hi MB Thought my site might help with your research, gimme a call if you need anything (714) 673-0455, or talk to our mutual friend. TH
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Tom. MB

    Jon Grogan Flossmoor, IL
    I was a Major in the USMC at Camp Pendleton on October 3, 1993. During a staff meeting, one of my fellow officers lamented on the fact that the country seemed more upset about Michael Jordan's retirement than the loss of 19 soldiers. A week later, I was on my way BACK to Mogadishu.
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks. MB

    Jennifer Cox Clarksville, TN
    As the wife of an A Co, 2/14 Infantry vet. and Oct.3 and 4 survivior I want to thank you for your article. We are t at Ft. Campbell now, and it just started running in our paper. I can tell after just one day that it will be wonderful and that all soldiers involved will be represented. Thank you for the much needed attention to the events of that night!
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Jennifer. As you will see noted below, soldiers from the 2/14 were unhappy with how much of their part in this battle I told, and I have agreed with them. There will be more about the 2/14th's gallant and eventful rescue in the book. MB

    Lindy San Jose, Ca
    My question concerns the "Lost Convoy". Did they have road maps on the ground? It seems to me they could have pinpointed the crash site with a street location and set the route accordingly. Even if they had to deviate from the original route, they might not have gotten so lost.
    Mark Bowden
    There are no good road maps of Mog. The ones I have seen (the ones used by TFR) just have this hopeful grid superimposed on the city, but having been there I know the actual streets and alleys hardly form a neat grid. The force never knew where they would be going in the city until minutes before they launched. They got detailed aerial photographs of the neighborhood they were going into, but these were limited to the immediate target. The choppers crashed well outside the target perimeters. There are no posted street names or numbers of anything like that. Also, part of the problem was the effort the choppers and plane were making to steer the convoy clear of roadblocks and ambushes, coupled with the fact that sometimes the roads the convoy was directed to take were simply too narrow for the trucks. I think the episode of the lost convoy points up one of the biggest problems troops face going into an unfamiliar urban environment to fight, and may point up the need for more sophisiticated, rapid mapping systems. MB

    Jeff Peterson Baldwin WI
    The St.Paul paper could'nt come early enough in the morning Absolutely the best combat story ever written. My question is, How many magazines of ammunition did the Rangers go out with that morning and what was total count of ammo fired during the mission?
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Jeff. I'm afraid I don't know the answer to your question. MB

    bill dahl san leandro, ca
    mark, outstanding work of journalism! will the video that aired in december be available for purchase? how about the book? if so, i want them!
    Mark Bowden
    Thanks, Bill. You can order a reprint, CD-rom and the video by calling 1-800-440-1470, or by clicking on the right spaces on this Web site. The book will be published in October by The Atlantic Monthly Press. MB

    JackFlash Fitchburg,MA
    Saw the recent comment from wife of A/2-14 IN soldier thinking the story of every unit involved in 3-4 Oct was going to be told. Mark, are you going to tell her that you glossed that part over? I read every chapter waiting A/2-14 IN. to be told. Too bad! Seems like you had an axe to grind. Father of A/2-14 soldier
    Mark Bowden
    The only axe was the one that trimmed my copy to fit the space requirements of the newspaper. The book will tell more of the 2/14th's critical role in the fight. MB

    Todd Fort Dodge, Ia
    Mark - I find myself troubled over many of the questions and comments posted. For me, the main point to be remembered is that the mission was completed. No matter what is said about tanks, command and control, confusion, casualties, tension between various units, the men out there completed the mission. From my comfy chair, I find it infuriating that the captured persons were released. How do those involved feel?
    Mark Bowden
    Infuriated. MB

    Todd Fort Dodge, Ia
    Another quick question - have you any information on whether or not the senior commanders in theater (in Somalia) "went to the mat" to get armored vehicles from Aspin? And a quick comment - thanks to Mr. Bowden, and a big thanks to those who were there.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you, Todd. My impression is that there was not a big fight over the Bradleys and AC130, primarily because Gen. Garrison, the commander of TFR believed (as he has publicly testified), that the resources approved were sufficient to do the job. MB

    Todd Fort Dodge, Ia more question. Is the information (text, audio, video, photos) available on a disk or CD? If so, let me know where to send a check! Thanks again for the series!
    Mark Bowden
    Call 1-800-440-1470. Or order it online. MB

    CPT Preston McMurry Milwaukee, WI
    What sort of viewing software do I need to see the *.vdo movies? More a technical than reportorial question, I know, but I can't find a help e-mail address for the Inquirer.
    Mark Bowden
    I'll ask Jen to answer this for you. MB

    You need a VDOLive player. You can download one for free from their Web site at -- Jennifer Musser, online ed.

    CPT Preston McMurry Milwaukee, WI
    I should have said this first, before I asked my question: You did an outstanding job. Thank you.
    Mark Bowden
    Thank you. MB

    To CIB11H20: The MK-19's were rockin'! Your support was accurate and muchly appreciated.

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