From The United States Army in Somalia 1992-1994, released by the U.S. Army Center of Military History, this photograph depicts a scene from the October, 1993 battle in Mogadishu. Appearing at page 25 of the work, its caption is: “Soldiers of Task Force Ranger take cover and return fire during the 3-4 October battle.”
What had gone wrong? Why was THIS battle the most intense for America’s military since the Tet Offensive in Vietnam?
Why did the returning convoys have so much trouble returning to base? Aren’t armored personnel vehicles sufficient to get through barricades and roadblocks?
Although field commanders had requested proper equipment support, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin had turned them down. When the Rangers and Delta Force commandos went into Mogadishu on the 3rd of October, 1993, they had no tanks.
American forces were unable to roll over roadblocks and barricades because they didn’t have the equipment to do it. Returning to base in their humvees, with an angry mob all around them, Rangers were more like sitting ducks than fighting soldiers properly equipped to deal with possible contingencies.
Given the extraordinary circumstances in which they found themselves, it is a credit to the men (and their training) that more soldiers didn’t die.
Casey Joyce had called his wife before he left base. As he hung up, he was reluctant to let her go:
Tell me one more time you love me.
They never talked again. Returning to base, while sitting in a non-armored vehicle, Casey was killed. His courage had saved Todd Blackburn, but there was no armored vehicle that might have saved Casey.
His father, who had served in Vietnam, believed his son died because of the "same misguided policies, one generation apart."