The fight was in Somalia and is called the Battle of Mogadishu which is the capital of Somalia. Mogadishu is pretty much the size of Charlotte. It was a typical situation of a warlord (Mohamed Farrah Aidid), taking over the city with he and his militia pretty much doing whatever they wanted to the citizens. Various leaders in Mogadishu asked for help from the U.N. and more specifically from the U.S. to get rid of the warlord and his oppression. Not to my liking President Clinton rallied to give them support while some of the U.N.’s military stood by in Pakistan should we need them.
Not that we thought it would be easy to extract the warlord but we certainly weren’t prepared for the type of fight we’d be engaged in. We sent 116 soldiers mostly from Delta Force and the Army Rangers. They went in from the ground with Humvees and through the air with seven Black Hawk helicopters which were used to drop some of our soldiers close to where the warlord was supposed to be hiding. In my opinion soldiers who exit a helicopter through climbing down a rope are heroes to begin with. Think about how exposed they are to enemy gunfire when they exit a helicopter this way. For that matter think how exposed a helicopter is to enemy fire especially RPG’s as they’re flying in place while dropping the soldiers off; no doubt a lot of very brave soldiers. This is why I joined the Navy…I felt safe hundreds of feet below the surface on my submarine.
During the battle two of our helicopters were shot down and fell into the streets with each having a couple of soldiers who survived. Our troops were moving as fast as they could under heavy gunfire to see if they could save anyone on board and they made it to the first helicopter in time and saved them but they didn’t get to the second helicopter in time. The two survivors were overrun by the militia and killed then paraded in the streets. Could you imagine if we did something like this to one of their soldiers?
The major problem we ran into is that our people on the ground were constantly getting outmanned and outgunned. Here we had 160 fighters and the militia had over 4,000. I don’t know where the Intel came from but someone should’ve lost his job. Plus they were way more organized than what we thought as they strategically put up road blocks and had snipers on top of roofs to fire down on our vehicles as they tried to turn around. They were equipped like an army with automatic weapons, grenades, and RPG’s (used to shoot down aircraft).
I can’t go into how many fights Delta Force and our Army Rangers were involved in because just about every street they went down the militia attacked. Although dangerous, our fighters don’t leave anyone behind so if someone were hit in one of the attacks our soldiers risked their lives recovering their fallen brother or sister dead or alive. Things became completely out of control and the mission changed from getting rid of the warlord to getting our soldiers out.
When help finally arrived to get our soldiers, they boarded Humvees to head back to camp except for ten members of Delta Force who wanted to walk behind the convoy to make sure none of the militia pursued them. Delta Force was involved in a few skirmishes as they left town. As they approached the boundaries of the city Somalians lined up and cheered for them.
This must be difficult psychologically because I’m sure it’s difficult to not hate everyone in the city because it seems like everyone wants to kill you but then you encounter a group of people who are cheering in appreciation of your help…I don’t know how I’d process it. Is hearing the cheers worth fallen brethren? Keep in mind I’m former military and I’m not against war I just want to make sure it’s the right war if we’re to risk the lives of those serving in our military.
Out of the 160 soldiers, 18 were killed and 73 were wounded. We had one of our pilots captured and he was released in three weeks. Somalian rebels had around 4,000 soldiers and civilians participate in the fight with 1,000 casualties and 1,500 wounded. What an amazing feat by our soldiers.
The warlord got away that day but ended up dying three years later in a fight between him and one of his previous allies. Think about how things have changed…we would’ve sent in a drone to accomplish the mission to take him out versus sending in our troops.
I’d have preferred not going in especially since it’s the kind of place where it goes from one warlord to the next so even if we would’ve taken this guy out someone else would’ve taken his place. Just my opinion but some areas in the middle-east are better led by dictators.
We didn’t accomplish our objective and even if we did how would Somalia be of benefit to us? President Clinton got us into this mess but he’s certainly not the first president to severely disappoint me with their foreign policies. I’ve never seen such as foreign policy mess as the one Obama has created. We don’t understand what he’s doing nor do our allies. His first trip to the middle-east in his apology tour he bypassed Israel. Wow…what were they to think?
By the way the U.N. did pitch in but it was only to pick our soldiers up and get them back to camp. It’s seems like it’s always the U.S. who tries to solve the world’s problems with the U.N. often egging us on so they won’t have to do the dirty work. It’s like pulling teeth to get them to even pitch in monetarily for our military doing the work. I say charity begins at home. When we’ve solved all of our problems then we can go out looking for opportunities to help; with the exception of altruistic help to countries experiencing natural disasters.
I’ll wrap up with this, the general who was in charge of the operation was devastated about the amount of men he lost especially since they didn’t accomplish their primary objective. He showed a lot of compassion in trying to get his troops out of there as fast as he could. The warlord did lose most of his powers so he never ended up on our radar again although he did stay on the general’s radar and the very next day after the warlord was killed he retired from the military; seems it’s all he had left on his military bucket list.