Black Hawk Down - Summary

When military personnel are sent on a mission, they have to believe they can carry out their objective. But sometimes reality is different from expectations. And sometimes the nature of the mission changes.

 Troops go in thinking they are invincible - especially when they have high-tech equipment and the other side has antiquated guns. But the battle isn’t always won by the side with the best weapons. Sometimes the battle is won by those who believe they have the most to lose. Such is the case in Mogadishu in the fall of 1993.

America's original mission to Somalia - Operation Restore Hope - is humanitarian in nature. But when UN-supplied food materials are used as bargaining chips by rival clan leaders, further fueling chaos, peacekeeping Americans are killed.

In August of 1993, President Clinton sends special forces to Somalia as part of a new mission: Operation Continue Hope. This time, armed Delta Force commandos (from Ft. Bragg) and Army Rangers (from Ft. Benning) attempt to keep the peace. A detachment of helicopters, with their crews, are sent from Ft. Campbell. The choppers are UH-60s - also called “Black Hawks.”

On the 3rd of October, 1993, members of Delta Force are sent to capture two rebel leaders (who are in Mogadishu) while a Ranger Task Force will secure all four corners of the target block. Everyone expects the commandos and rangers to return to base within an hour. Instead, two Black Hawks are shot down by Somalis using antiquated guns and rocket-propelled grenades. An urban battle ensues, in which the Americans find themselves in the middle of a shooting gallery.

In this story behind the film, virtually visit Mogadishu to view the scene of action. Meet the soldiers who gave their lives, or were wounded. See Black Hawks, including the two which were shot down. Watch the Pentagon’s video of the raid. Hear the actual radio transmission, as shocked voices exclaim: “We got a Black Hawk going down!!"

 

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