Black Hawk Down - RESCUE

Around 2 a.m., soldiers trapped in Mogadishu saw a column of friendly troops making its way through the city. It had been a difficult trip for this multinational force including Malaysians and Pakistanis. They brought water, medical supplies, and equipment to extract Chris Wolcott’s pinned body. After it had been freed from the wreckage, there was no reason to stay in the city.

Unfortunately for some of the men, there was not enough room in the convoy. Those without seats had to run nearly a mile to safety, dodging bullets on the way. Miraculously, only one soldier was injured during that trek.

By 5 a.m. on 4 October 1993, eighteen Americans were dead and 75 were wounded. Somali casualties were even more extreme.

Mike Durant, however, was still missing. Deployed to take the place of the downed "Super 61," he had dropped off the Rangers he was transporting before his Black Hawk was hit. He knew things might get difficult, but he urged his crew to "keep our heads in the game." They had a job to do.

It was Durant’s skill as a pilot that had saved his life. Fighting to keep the spinning Black Hawk under control, he knew he had to “land” it on the wheels. It was the only way to survive. Now he was under the control of a Somali warlord, and he wasn’t sure (move the video forward to 1:13:17 to watch his part of the interview) whether he would make it through the night.

Before he was taken from the crash site, Somali militiamen filled Durant’s mouth and eyes with dirt. That was not the worst treatment he endured. During his captivity, someone opened the door of the room in which he was held and fired a round at him. A bullet ended up in his left arm.

Aidid’s Minister of Internal Affairs visited Durant and, near the end of his captivity, told him he would be released within 24-48 hours. Unknown to Durant, and in a kind of perverse irony, American military personnel were guarding Aidid as he met U.S. envoys in Ethiopia to negotiate for Durant’s release. Eleven days after his capture, Mike Durant was freed.

 

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