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CHAPTER 1: HAIL MARY, THEN DOOM CHAPTER 2: DAZED, BLOOD-SPATTERED AND FRANTIC CHAPTER 3: A TERRIFYING SCENE, THEN A BIG CRASH CHAPTER 4: AN OUTGUNNED BUT RELENTLESS ENEMY CHAPTER 5: 'MY GOD, YOU GUYS. LOOK AT THIS!' CHAPTER 6: TRYING TO GET IN SYNC AMID THE CHAOS CHAPTER 7: ANOTHER GRENADE, ANOTHER CHOPPER HIT CHAPTER 8: A SECOND CRASH, AND NO ESCAPE CHAPTER 9: ALONE AND AT THE MERCY OF AN ANGRY MOB CHAPTER 10: AT THE BASE, BRAVERY AND HESITATION CHAPTER 11: BESIEGED, DISORIENTED AS THE BULLETS FLY CHAPTER 12: LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT - LOST AND BLOODY CHAPTER 13: NO COVER FROM THE FLYING GRENADES CHAPTER 14: HAMMERED, AND STILL NO SIGN OF HELP CHAPTER 15: AMBUSH AFTER AMBUSH; FIGHTING JUST TO STAY ALIVE CHAPTER 16: FURIOUS ATTACKS ON A SECOND CONVOY CHAPTER 17: AT FIRST HELICOPTER CRASH, MORE BODIES CHAPTER 18: RESCUE TEAM COMES UNDER FIERCE FIRE CHAPTER 19: A DESPERATEBATTLE TO HOLD THE CRASH SITE CHAPTER 20: UNEASY PARTNERS UNDER HEAVY FIRE CHAPTER 21: A SHARED QUEST: PUNISH THE INVADERS CHAPTER 22: A RANGER'S PLEA FOR HELP AS THE BODY COUNT CLIMBS CHAPTER 23: AS DARKNESS NEARS, A DREADED FEELING CHAPTER 24: DISARRAY IN COMMAND, AND TRAPPED CHAPTER 25: BESIEGED, DISORIENTED AS BULLETS FLY

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CHAPTER 26: AT RESCUE, RELIEF TINGED WITH SORROW CHAPTER 27: DURANT'S ORDEAL OF AGONY AND TERROR CHAPTER 28: ON TV, THE BATTERED FACE OF DURANT CHAPTER 29: THE FINAL CHAPTER: FREEING A PILOT, ENDING AMISSION

STAFF SGT. Matt Eversmann's lanky frame was fully extended on the rope for what seemed too long on the way down. Hanging from a hovering Blackhawk helicopter, Eversmann was a full 70 feet above the streets ofMogadishu . His goggles had broken, so his eyes chafed in the thick cloud of dust stirred up by the bird's rotors.

It was such a long descent that the thick nylon rope burned right through the palms of his leather gloves. The rest of his Chalk, his squad, had already roped in. Nearing the street, through the swirling dust below his feet, Eversmann saw one of his men stretched out on his back at the bottom of the rope.

He felt a stab of despair. Somebody's been shot already! He gripped the rope hard to keep from landing on top of the guy. It was Pvt. Todd Blackburn, at 18 the youngest Ranger in his Chalk, a kid just months out of aFlorida high school. He was unconscious and bleeding from the nose and ears.

The raid was barely under way, and already something had gone wrong. It was just the first in a series of worsening mishaps that would endanger this daring mission. For Eversmann, a five-year veteran fromNatural Bridge,Va. , leading men into combat for the first time, it was the beginning of the longest day of his life.

Just 13 minutes before, three miles away at the Ranger's base on theMogadishu beach, Eversmann had said a Hail Mary at liftoff. He was curled into a seat between two helicopter crew chiefs, the knees of his long legs up around his shoulders. Before him, arrayed on both sides of the sleek UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, was Eversmann's Chalk, a dozen men in tan, desert camouflage fatigues. He had worried about the responsibility. Twelve men. He had prayed silently during Mass at the mess hall that morning. Now he added one more.

. . . Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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It was midafternoon,Oct. 3, 1993 . Eversmann's Chalk Four was part of a company of U.S. Rangers assisting a commando squadron that was about to descend on a gathering of Habr Gidr clan leaders in the heart ofMogadishu,Somalia . This ragtag clan, led by warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, had challenged theUnited States of America .

Today's targets were two top Aidid lieutenants. Commandos, the nation's elite commando unit, would storm the target house and capture them. Then four helicopter loads of Rangers, including Eversmann's men, would rope down to all four corners of the target block and form a perimeter. No one would be allowed in or out.

Waiting for the code word to launch, which today was "Irene,'' they were a formidable armada. The helicopter assault force included about 75 Rangers and 40 Commando troops in 17 helicopters. Idling at the airport was a convoy of 12 vehicles with soldiers who would ride three miles to the target building and escort the Somali prisoners and the assault team back to base.

The swell of the revving engines had made the earth tremble. The Rangers were eager for action. Bristling with grenades and ammo, gripping the well-oiled steel of their weapons, they felt their hearts race under their flak vests. They ran through last-minute mental checklists, saying prayers, triple-checking weapons, rehearsing their choreographed moves. They had left behind canteens, bayonets, night-vision devices (NODs) - anything they felt would be dead weight on a fast daylight raid.

It was3:32 p.m. when the lead Blackhawk pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, announced:

''F-in' Irene.''

And the swarm of black copters lifted up into an embracing blue vista ofIndian Ocean and sky. They eased out across a littered strip of white sand and moved low and fast over the breakers.

Mogadishuspread beneath them in ruins. Five years of civil war had reduced the once-picturesque African port to a post-apocalyptic nightmare. The few paved avenues were crumbling and littered with mountains of trash and debris. Those walls and buildings that still stood in the heaps of gray rubble were pockmarked with bullet scars and cannon shot.

In his bird, code-named Super 67, Eversmann silently rehearsed the plan. When his Chalk Four touched the street, the boys would already be taking down the target house, arresting the Somalis inside.

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Then the Americans and their prisoners would board the ground convoy and roll back for a sunny Sunday afternoon on the beach.

It was the unit's sixth mission since coming toMogadishu in late August. Now Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison, their commander, was taking a calculated risk in sending them in daylight into the Bakara Market area, a hornet's nest of Aidid supporters.

The commandos rode in on MH-6 Little Birds, choppers small enough to land in alleys or on rooftops. In the bigger Blackhawks, Rangers dangled their legs from the doorways. Others squatted on ammo cans or sat on flak-proof panels laid out on the floor. They all wore flak vests and helmets and 50 pounds of gear and ammo.

Stripped down, most Rangers looked like teenagers (their average age was 19). They were products of rigorous selection and training. They were fit and fast. With their buff bodies, distinct crew cuts - sides and back of the head shaved clean - and grunted Hooah greeting, the Rangers were among the most gung-ho soldiers in the Army.

Inside Super 67, Eversmann was anxious about being in charge. He'd won the distinction by default. His platoon sergeant had been summoned home by an illness in his family, and the guy who replaced him had suffered an epileptic seizure.

Now, as they approached the target site, he felt more confident. They had done this dozens of times.

By the time the Blackhawks had moved down over the city, the Little Birds with the Commando troops were almost over the target. The mission could still have been aborted. But the only threat spotted was burning tires on a nearby street. Somalis often burned tires to summon militia. These, it was determined, had been set earlier in the day.

"Two minutes,'' came the voice of the Super 67 pilot in Eversmann's earphones.

Two advance AH-6 Little Birds armed with rockets then made their "bump,'' or initial pass over the target. It was3:43 p.m.

The sergeant thought it would be a lot safer on the ground. The landmark was the Olympic Hotel.html Cameras on spy planes and orbiting helicopters relayed the scene back to commanders at theJointOperationsCenter on the beach. the four Commando Little Birds zoomed down toHawlwadig Road . "We're about 100 meters short. people and donkey carts.com/abclit.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. They were going in a block north of their assigned corner. This delayed things further. "We're a little short of our desired position. http://www. one dropped down on a car. At the intersections. It was flat-roofed with three rear stories and two front stories. .'' the pilot warned. that wasn't crucial. drifting sand turned rust-orange in the afternoon sun. Conditioned to the noise of the copters by months of overflights. The 3-inch-thick nylon ropes were coiled before the doors. Seeing none. people below did not stir as two Little Birds made a first swift pass. a paved. disappearing into swirling dust as the commandos leaped from their helicopters and stormed the house.north-south avenue crossed by narrow dirt alleys. "No problem. was the target house. The pilot nudged his aircraft forward until the rope dragged free.'' he said. They saw a busyMogadishu neighborhood. a five-story white building. one of the few large structures still intact in the city. in much better shape than most. across Hawlwadig. In front of the hotel ranHawlwadig Road . When they were finally pushed out. Even over the sound of the rotor and engines the men could hear the pop of gunfire. Eversmann's copter hovered just above the brown storm. It was shaped like an L. it seemed to the sergeant that they hung there for a dangerously long time. In front moved cars. with a small courtyard enclosed by a high stone wall. Still. A still Blackhawk was a big target. looking for trouble.processtext. He would be the last man out.'' he told Eversmann. Three blocks west was the teeming Bakara Market. Next came the Blackhawks with the Rangers. Eversmann gave him a thumbs-up. One block up from the hotel. Waiting for the three other Blackhawks.

Then. he tossed them and sprung for the rope. he figured he'd better find cover. 2 Mark Good. First Class Bart Bullock. Pvt. As the Blackhawk moved up and away. His men had peeled off as planned against the mud-stained stone walls on either side of the street. it hadn't even registered with the sergeant. and the crew chiefs in the copter released the rope. It was hot. Oddly. "He's litter urgent. Flustered. but it wasn't very accurate. As big a target as he made at 6-foot-4. Eversmann spotted Todd Blackburn splayed out on the street at the end of the rope. Sgt. the strap on his goggles broke. The city's musky odor bore in. They squatted behind two parked cars. Good inserted a tube down Blackburn's throat to help him breathe. We need to extract him right now or he's going to die.'' . time slowed. It fell twisting to the road.html When it was his time to jump. That left Eversmann in the middle of the road with Blackburn and the medics. Now he noticed. All his movements became very deliberate. Eversmann's feet touched down next to the fallen Ranger. He took a quick count of his Chalk. The kid had one eye shut. Passing bullets made a snapping sound. In the excitement. he'd fallen. trying to keep his neck straight. the noise eased and the dust settled. Eversmann had never been shot at before. started an IV.com/abclit. on his way down. like cracking a stick of dry hickory. Chalk Four's medic. He looked pretty busted up. forgetting to take off his earphones. nose and ears. a Commando medic. dragged him to the edge of the street.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and sand was caked in his eyes. Blood gurgled from his mouth. ripping the earphone cord from the ceiling. They were taking fire. but unconscious. but he'd been too preoccupied. http://www. He was still alive. He and the two medics grabbed Blackburn under his arms. was already at work on Blackburn. The slide down on the rope was far longer than any they'd done in training. He hadn't realized how high they were. Sarge. He'd somehow missed the rope and plummeted. Good looked up at Eversmann. Eversmann stepped away. Blackburn hadn't been shot. You would think bullets clipping past would command your attention.processtext. He jumped. and.

and asked him to raise Capt. This is one hell of a time to start sharpshooting me. Steele. Whenever there was a disturbance in Mogadishu. They were to shoot only at someone who pointed a weapon at them. women. came on the line. So when Perino said.processtext. "Calm down. it was as if their men had poked a stick into a hornet's nest. Mike Steele on the company radio net. He saw crowds of Somalis way up Hawlwadig to the north. It was like some national imperative to bear witness. Larry Perino.html Eversmann shouted to his radio operator. Eversmann tried to convey urgency without alarm. "What do you mean you can't get him?'' Eversmann asked. There wasn't much the Joint Operating Command could do but watch. The Rangers had been issued strict rules of engagement. Moore shouted back to say he couldn't get Steele. Eversmann's men had fanned out and were shooting in every direction except south toward the target building. And over this summer. Again Steele didn't answer. Jason Moore. Neither man had noticed that a bullet had severed the wire leading to the antenna on Moore's radio. taking shots at the Rangers. He needed to come out. They were coming closer. Fire was getting heavier. but after several tries Steele's lieutenant. Cameras on the surveillance aircraft circling high over the fight captured crowds of Somalis erecting barricades and lighting tires to summon help. the Ranger missions had stirred up . People were pouring into the streets. The sergeant made a particular effort to speak slowly and clearly.com/abclit. http://www. It was an amazing and unnerving thing to view a battle in real time.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. had roped in with two lieutenants and the rest of Chalk One to the block's southeast corner. darting in and out of alleys. He explained that Blackburn had fallen and was badly injured. but already this was getting unrealistic. To officers watching on screens in the command center. Minutes passed. They were racing from all directions toward the spot where orbiting helicopters marked the fight. children . closer. people would throng to the spot: men. Eversmann tried his walkie-talkie. the Ranger commander.even the aged and infirm. Pvt. wary of the Americans' guns. many with weapons. and others. The Somalis were strange that way. Those with guns were intermingled with women and children.'' it really burned Eversmann.

It would mean that things were wrapping up.processtext. shouting over the escalating noise of the fight. It was hard to believe things could have gone so much to hell in such a short time. but from inside his personal space. He radioed Lt. the humvees.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Things were not playing out according to the script in Eversmann's head. we really need to move this guy or he's going to die. http://www. but Blackburn's falling and the unexpected volume of gunfire had ruled that out.html widespread hatred. toward the target. He knew it was probably too soon. Time played tricks. the medic. spoke up: "Listen. Can't you send somebody down the street?'' No. could not move to his position. He'd figured they could just hoof it down Hawlwadig. What a relief! Maybe the boys are done and we can roll out of here. He must have looked a dozen times before he saw the first humvee . every second seemed a minute long.the wide-bodied vehicle that replaced the jeep as the Army's all-purpose ground vehicle round the corner three blocks down. Sarge. you need to move him down to those humvees. He addressed McLaughlin. His Chalk was still in the wrong place. It would be hard to explain to someone who wasn't there. rock-solid Casey Joyce and 6-foot-5 Jeff McLaughlin. "Listen. Events seemed to happen twice normal speed. the place where he thought and reacted and watched. "Sergeant. Good. Perino.'' Eversmann summoned two of Chalk Four's sergeants. He had no idea how much time had gone by. we've got to get him out.com/abclit. He kept checking back to see if the ground convoy had moved up.'' .

They were always burning tires. Jeff Struecker had waited several minutes in his humvee with the rest of the ground convoy at the base. People burned trash on the streets. In some parts of town the men would shake their fists at the Rangers as they drove past. they took off down the street. they would often find wads of the addictive khat plant they chewed to get high. put Blackburn down. he had already let go. a born-again Christian from Fort Dodge. It was hard to imagine what interest the United States of America had in such a place. then put him down again. "We keep picking him up and putting him down like this and we're going to kill him. Garbage was strewn everywhere.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. still bleeding from the nose and mouth. knew Mogadishu better than most guys at the compound. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AFTER THE HELICOPTER force had moved out over the beach. There were gold-toothed women in colorful robes and old men in loose. cotton skirts and worn. Struecker. When the Rangers searched the men.com/abclit. by the look of him. They burned animal dung for fuel. then pick him up and carry him a few more steps. In this African city people spent their days lounging outside their shabby rag huts and tin shacks. The stench was what hit him first.processtext. Staff Sgt. "Hang on! Hang on!'' but. His was the lead in a column of 12 vehicles. On the litter he was dead weight. McLaughlin didn't think Blackburn was going to make it. His platoon had driven out on water runs and other details daily. They were all yelling at him. "We've got to get those humvees to come to us. Bullock was still holding the IV bag connected to the kid's arm.html They unfolded a compact litter. He took off running on his own. But Struecker . They ran stooped.'' Good said finally. plastic sandals. Iowa. which was just a five-minute drive from the base. That added to the mix. http://www. When they grinned their teeth were stained black and orange. shoot.'' So Joyce volunteered to fetch a humvee. They would run a few steps. They were to drive to a point behind the Olympic Hotel and wait for the D-boys to wrap things up in the target house. and with Joyce and McLaughlin in front and medics Good and Bullock in back.

Martin pulled several bloody fragments of blade out of Gay's hip. the Commando teams and the Rangers. It had shattered the blade. Today his job was to roll up in force on Hawlwadig Road. but people laughed along with Pilla. took cover. His cutting impression of Capt. He'd found his way back. N. load up Somali prisoners.com/abclit. They'd explode with a startling Pop! about halfway through a smoke.who used his hands a lot when he talked. As this humvee approached the house. who was leading the convoy. took a wrong turn and watched with alarm as the rest of the vehicles drove in a different direction. and his companion humvee had a Mark 19. The three-vehicle column began racing back to base through streets now alive with gunfire and explosion.J. and bandaged it. and it wasn't his place to question such things. Steele was a highlight of the little skits the Rangers sometimes put on in the hangar. Spec. He had bought tiny charges that he stuck in guys' cigarettes.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. which had found 24 Somalis in the house and were handcuffing them. grenade-like rounds. but only after the rest of the vehicles had already moved up to the target house to load prisoners. They raced on ahead of the convoy to join the assault force. SEAL John Gay heard a shot and felt a hard impact on his right hip. He had three men in his vehicle: Spec. Then they immediately got lost. One of the humvees in the column held a group of Commando soldiers and Navy SEALs. McLaughlin and the two medics. Sgt. Tim "Grizz'' Martin. He loved practical jokes.processtext. they were startled to see a Ranger running toward them down Hawlwadig Road. Master Sgt. a commando in Gay's humvee.he had that Joy-zee accent . Most people who tried that kind of thing were annoying. then gave Gay good news. Gay limped out. Tim Moynihan and a company favorite. It had no big gun on top. that service's elite commando unit. Struecker and his companion humvee had just found their way back to the main convoy and were ordered to escort the SEAL humvee. Derek Velasco. He cried out. http://www. The round had hit smack on the SEAL's knife. but the knife had deflected the bullet. Struecker's had a 50-caliber machine gun. . Dom Pilla was a big. Struecker and the rest of the column timed their departure so they wouldn't arrive at the hotel before the assault on the target house had begun. Pilla was just born funny. Dominick Pilla. It was Casey Joyce. which could rapidly fire big. He quickly explained Blackburn's condition. a soldier. In the mounting gunfire. and began returning fire. He jumped into the humvee.html was just 24. and pointed back to where the others were waiting. and bring them back out. tore open Gay's pants and examined his hip. and they drove up a block to where the young private waited on the litter with Sgt. . They set Blackburn in the back of the SEAL humvee and got permission to take him back to the base immediately. powerful kid from Vineland. Struecker.

"Pilla's hit!'' he screamed. People were shooting from rooftops and from windows and from all directions. leader of the vehicle platoon. His body flopped over into the lap of Spec. He had mapped a return route that was simple. Several blocks south of Hawlwadig was a main road that would take them all the way down to the beach. Pilla wheeled his gun toward a Somali standing on the street just a few feet away. They started taking fire. Just then. But things had worsened. http://www. A round tore into Pilla's forehead and the exit wound blew blood and brain out the back of his skull. because a violently bumpy ride couldn't do Blackburn any good. he instructed his M-60 gunner.processtext. with Struecker in the front vehicle and Blackburn in the middle humvee. A Ranger in Blackburn's humvee shot down two Somali gunmen who ran right up to the rear of the vehicle as they moved past an alley. where they could turn right and drive straight into the base. Roadblocks and barricades had been erected. over the radio. How things going? Struecker ignored the radio.html This time Struecker knew which way to go. They both fired at the same time. .com/abclit. Armed street fighters were sprinkled into the crowds of civilians. They didn't want to drive too fast. Tim Moynihan. and shouted back over his shoulder at Moynihan. The humvees drove around and through them. and to leave everything to the left to the 50-caliber. the medic. First Class Bob Gallagher. At every intersection came a hail of rounds. Good. who cried out in horror. and both fell. Up in Struecker's humvee. to concentrate all his fire to the right.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. came the voice of Sgt. Dom Pilla. was holding up the IV bag for him with one hand while firing his rifle with the other.

"He's shot in the head! He's dead!'' Moynihan screamed. Struecker told his driver to step on it. Sgt.'' To hell with driving carefully. a main east/west highway. Inside Struecker's humvee. It seemed as if the whole city was shooting at them. "Just calm down. "How do you know he's dead? Are you a medic?'' Struecker asked. They were close to National Street. and he hoped the others would follow.'' Struecker pleaded. How's it going? "I don't want to talk about it. Gallagher's voice came across the radio again." Struecker said into the radio. http://www. They drove wildly now. Gallagher didn't like that answer. Struecker saw rocket-propelled grenades flying across the street now.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Struecker turned for a quick look over his shoulder and saw that the whole rear of his vehicle was splattered red. . shooting at both sides of the street.processtext.com/abclit. ``We've got to keep fighting until we get back.html "Calm down! What's wrong with him?'' Struecker couldn't see all the way to the back hatch. "He's dead!'' Moynihan shouted.

Who is he and what's his status? Gallagher demanded. One. as far as he knew.html You got any casualties? "Yeah. the little convoy sped out of the treacherous .processtext. Unlike most of these guys. People panic. and then reluctantly answered: "He's dead!" At the sound of that word. it was real hard to reassert control." Struecker tried to leave it at that. http://www. So far nobody on their side had been killed. it becomes more important than water. It was happening to Moynihan and the other guys in his humvee right now. and he knew soldiers fought a lot better when things were going their way. all radio traffic stopped. in Panama and the Persian Gulf. there was silence. For many long seconds afterward. Struecker had been to war before. "It's Pilla. Men in battle drink up information as if downing water. Once things turned. Todd Blackburn on board. debating with himself. blood-spattered and frantic WITH BADLY INJURED Pfc.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and he didn't want to be the one to put news like that on the air. Chapter 2 Dazed. Panic was a virus.com/abclit." What's his status? Struecker held the microphone for a moment.

Two of Eversmann's men. How was he going to get his three humvees back to base through all these people? His driver slowed to a crawl and leaned on the horn. clutching his leg. On the way they'd been badly shot up. For some reason. Then he told his 50-gunner to open up over people's heads. They may have run over some people. the road was mobbed with Somalis. Struecker told him to keep moving. Among them were the primary targets of the raid. Struecker grabbed one as he went past. Scott Galentine and Sgt. at Staff Sgt. "Pay attention to what's going on and listen to my orders!'' It smelled like panic.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. shattering the windows and blowing out the tires of the cars. They had run the gauntlet. Jeff Struecker's heart sank. well south of the target building. Struecker didn't look back to see. Instead. And now they were pinned down on Hawlwadig Road. http://www. Dazed and blood-splattered. and for a stretch the firing abated. as rounds kicked up dirt between them. Then they had roped in well off target. About three miles north. As the truck veered off the road. making faces and grinning. He was goofing with Telscher. the commandos had 24 Somalian prisoners handcuffed and ready for loading on the main ground convoy. the scene was frantic. shouting. Dominick Pilla had been shot dead. things continued to go wrong for Chalk Four. They didn't know about Pilla. and the column sped up again. Matt Eversmann's intersection. they piled out. Staff Sgt. Struecker had expected to find the calm safety of the home base. They passed through the gates of the beachfront American compound with a tremendous sense of relief and exhaustion.html side streets of Mogadishu to a wide road. . It would not pull over. As they approached the sea. near the Olympic Hotel.'' BACK IN THE CITY. The medical people ran to the middle humvee to get Blackburn. so Struecker told his driver to ram it. In the back of Struecker's humvee. you need to get him off. a block north of their proper position at the northwest corner of the target block. In the lead humvee. It turned him giddy. Sgt. a young Ranger who had fallen out of a helicopter. The sound of the big gun scattered most of the people.processtext. He threw out loud but harmless flash-bang grenades. He heard a commander's voice on the speaker box.com/abclit. Now they came up behind a slow-moving pickup truck with people hanging off the back. there's a dead in the back of my vehicle. two Somalian clan leaders. He had blood smeared on his face. "Look. the steady gunfire didn't frighten Galentine. were crouched behind cars across the street. Telscher was a sight. A man with his leg hanging off the back screamed as the humvee hit. who was on his way to a long and difficult recovery. First Blackburn had fallen out of the helicopter. Struecker's three-vehicle convoy had left to get emergency treatment for Blackburn. People were racing around on the tarmac. Jim Telscher. the man curled into the back bed. Something had happened. Sgt.

The sergeant was still contending with the crowd. She was staring up at Galentine and trying to open a door. Now he was pointing his M-16 at people down the street.html having accidentally smacked himself with his rifle coming down the fast rope.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. as if in a dream. The grenades came wobbling through the air and exploded with a long splash of flame and a pounding concussion. He dived the last few feet. Seconds after Galentine had dived in. As he fired. Eversmann saw the flash and puff of smoke of rocket-propelled grenades being launched their way. just like silhouettes at target practice. the M-16 spinning and a splash of pink by Galentine's left hand. aiming at center mass. People would drop. "You all right. his gun braced against his shoulder. Eversmann had seen it. that moment. then look across the road at him. His feet seemed heavy and slow. who had gotten bored working at a rubber plant. His first instinct had been to shoot. The heat would wash over and leave the odor of powder. then take cover. At one point. They had expected some resistance on this raid. For a few minutes. The woman's eyes were wide with terror. but when he reached out he saw that his left thumb was lying on his forearm. "Don't come across!" Galentine heard the sergeant but started running anyway. He picked up his thumb and tried to press it back to his hand. Men would dart out into the street and spray bursts from their AK-47s. This wasn't a game.com/abclit. He had seen Galentine reach for the thumb. When one of the big Blackhawks flew over. such a great wave of fire from Somalis tore down the road that it created a shock wave of noise and energy that Eversmann could actually see coming. . 2 Anton Berendsen was prone on the ground and firing his M203. To Eversmann's left. all shooting from that direction stopped. He seemed to be getting nowhere. She got the door open and stepped inside. Pvt. http://www. He was picking targets out of the hundreds of Somalis moving toward them. Scotty? You all right?'' Sgt.processtext. a rifle with a grenade-launching tube under the barrel. directing them to the Somalian gunmen. There was withering fire coming down the road. He had been very close to killing this woman. he felt a painful slap on his left hand that knocked his weapon so hard it spun completely around him. Berendsen turned and grabbed his shoulder. and then saw the gun spout lines of flame at targets up the street. Galentine came face to face with a Somalian woman. It startled him. attached by a strip of skin. sitting behind his minigun. and squeezing off rounds. Eversmann stood and stretched his long arm to the north. Galentine took cover behind another car. Telscher called to him. Ohio. He watched the crew chief in back. but nothing like this. It cut through his silliness. When they started catching rounds from a different direction. There. His first thought was to right his gun. Galentine was a 21-year-old sergeant from Xenia. "Don't come across!" Eversmann shouted. Galentine and Telscher ran to an alley.

and opened up on the car. my God. turning first to Berendsen. and he'd managed to get him out. It was hectic. It felt the way it did on a cold day when you hit a baseball wrong. "Just put your hand up and hold it. Berendsen scooted over against the wall next to Galentine with one arm limp at his side. Eversmann impatiently reached down and opened it. the shack vanished in a great flash of light and smoke. When it hit. He had three Rangers injured. "Scott. Sgt. I'm hit. The sergeant could see the fist-sized round spiraling toward a tin shack 40 meters away. Neither Galentine's nor Berendsen's wounds were life-threatening. removed a clean dressing. just a few yards away. http://www. who was still preoccupied. A Somali had run out to the middle of Hawlwadig Road. he dropped the field dressing to the ground. When he saw Galentine's thumb. hold this.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Galentine. Berendsen's injury did not look severe. This was his first time in charge. "There's a guy right down there. and the company's arm-wrestling champ. Eversmann tried to stay calm. who looked wide-eyed.html "Oh. Sgt. and handed it to him. buddy. Dave Diemer covering the alley to the east with his SAW (squad automatic weapon).processtext. Galentine reached into Harris' kit with his good hand. Eversmann grabbed the thumb and placed it in the dazed sergeant's palm. one critically. Eversmann turned to Galentine. Berendsen was fumbling with the breech of his grenade launcher.Y.. The Somali fell over backward in a rumpled . looking down the alley.'' Berendsen said. "Ber.'' Berendsen said.'' Eversmann said. N. Eversmann squatted next to both men. His injured hand stung. His left thumb was hanging down below his hand. Glass shattered and showered on Eversmann and Diemer. "Don't worry. Diemer was a boisterous 22-year-old from Newburgh. As Eversmann struggled to lift Berendsen's vest and open his shirt to assess the wound.com/abclit. the private shot off a 203 round one-handed. you're going be OK. Eversmann kneeled beside Diemer behind a car and fired his M-16. "I think I got one in the arm. picking small chunks of debris from his face.'' Berendsen said. It occurred to Eversmann that this was the first shot he'd fired. Eversmann had only Spec. Diemer dived down behind the rear wheel on the passenger side and shot him with a quick burst.'' With his good hand. With Berendsen hurt. First Class Glenn Harris came running up to tend the wound. as if he might be lapsing into shock. He looked up at Eversmann.'' he said.'' Galentine gripped the thumb with his fingers. tell me where you're hurt.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. On the street were dead people and a dead donkey splayed out in front of its water cart. It didn't look too dire. Eversmann radioed to First Lt. As he ran back to his house.step into the alley and drop to one knee. had been crouched behind a car hulk and a round had evidently skipped off the car or ricocheted up from the road. near Hawlwadig. a slip of a man with thick. Aden rushed outside when the helicopters passed over. The sky was dark with smoke. Aden ran toward the noise. "Sgt. Aden could see no part of them that looked human. The scene terrified Aden. Above him were helicopters. so low that the big tree that stood in the central courtyard of his stone house was uprooted and knocked over. "A helicopter just crashed. the Chalk One commander. Telscher shouted. hiding from them. and wash from its rotors swept over the dusty alley like a violent storm. The machine gunner was not screaming. Larry Perino. the big road that passed before the Olympic Hotel three blocks west. Sgt. The air around Aden sizzled and cracked with gunfire. that he had taken two more casualties.an RPG . The Rangers wore body armor and helmets with goggles. cracking the tail. . Then he leaned the RPG up and fired at the aircraft from behind. From across the street. bushy hair. with machine guns mounted on them.processtext. It made a rackety blast. Eversmann! Snodgrass has been shot!'' Spec. He ran two blocks with his head down until he saw several big American trucks and humvees. He heard shooting to the west. Aden saw a great flash from the back end of the launcher and then saw the grenade explode into the rear of the helicopter. There was a line of Somalian men in handcuffs being loaded onto big trucks. then a big crash ABDIAZIZ ALI ADEN heard the American helicopters coming in low. Aden was 18 but looked five years younger. Through this dust. one of the Blackhawk helicopters flew over him at rooftop level.'' Chapter 3 A terrifying scene. Kevin Snodgrass.com/abclit. Eversmann saw Telscher stoop over Snodgrass to tend to the wound. some with lines of flame spitting from their guns. Aden saw a Somalian militiaman carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher . http://www. People were running madly.html heap. the machine gunner. "Sarge?'' Eversmann turned wearily to Diemer. The militiaman waited until the copter had passed overhead. They were like futuristic warriors from an American movie. shooting everywhere.

The woman fell face forward. they all ran across a wide. so close to Aden that he could see the pilot inside struggling at the controls. crunching sound. Smoke had stopped rising from the helicopter when he returned. Aden worked his way past the crashed helicopter. More Somalis came now. Aden saw a wounded American soldier climb out of the crumpled machine. trying to make himself small. They were not badly hurt. It was a Little Bird. It seemed impossible that a helicopter could fit in so narrow a street. Seeing that Aden had no weapon. He ran closer. They had stepped outside and were standing against the west wall when the helicopter hit and the roof came down on them. There were no flames and no explosion. Then a helicopter landed right on Freedom Road. but the Somalis' bullets also hit him. Afraid that the helicopter would explode. But first he stopped alongside the car . .and pointed his gun at a Somalian man armed with an M-16 across the street from the car.html The body of the aircraft started to spin. it would quickly be looted. He dropped to one knee and shot many of them. http://www. and then another American with an M-16. The two men fired at the same time but neither fell. with guns. it was just a heap of stones and dusty mortar. He ran to the crash and found his parents and eight brothers and sisters trapped under a big sheet of tin roof.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. There they waited. curling himself up into a ball. The bullet made a hole in the Somali's forehead. the street in front of Aden's house. rutted dirt road to a friend's house three doors up. the Americans' fast. He helped pull the roof off his parents and brothers and sisters. The helicopter had destroyed part of Aden's house. Soon Aden came back to guard his house. he quickly fired his weapon. shooting at the American. right in front of the soldier. The roar of the helicopter was deafening. Startled. Then a big Somalian woman came running from a narrow alley. he feared his family had been killed. The pilot could not hold it. Then. Aden couldn't breathe. and the helicopter started to flip. Its rotor blades were just inches from the walls of Aden's house and the house directly across the road. The American ran over and shot him three more times as he lay there. Aden turned and ran back out a side door and hid behind an old white Volkswagen on the dirt street. then fired. and he toppled. standing inside his house. dropping like a sack. He slipped down and crawled under it.com/abclit. In Mogadishu. tiny and highly maneuverable copter. and then slammed on its side into the alley with a great. over to a wall across the road.Aden could have reached out and touched the soldier's boots . When the American with the gun rounded the corner he saw Aden under the car. He ran into his house and stood in the courtyard by the uprooted tree and saw that the wall where the helicopter had crashed was gone. which had fallen to the alley sideways so that the bottom of it faced him. Then the shooting got worse.processtext. without putting out her arms to break the fall. They went to shoot again but the Somali's gun jammed and the American didn't shoot. the soldier moved on. It was tilted slightly toward Aden when it hit the roof of his house with a loud. and dust swirled around. scraping crash in a thick cloud of dust and rock and smoke. if you left your house open and undefended.

Both alleys were deeply rutted and littered with debris. There wasn't enough time for anyone to consider all the ramifications of that helicopter's sudden end. its fuselage smashing into a narrow alley on its side against a stone wall in a cloud of smoke. then a shudder and puff of smoke near the tail rotor. The ambitious nation-building hopes of United Nations bureaucrats were lying in a twisted hunk of smoldering metal. things were going well. nose up until its belly bit the top of a stone building and its front end was cast down violently. then an awkward counter-rotation as Super 61 fell. The mission had been quieter for them than for the Rangers one block west on Hawlwadig Road. A Somali with an AK-47 leaned out from behind a corner and rattled a burst. It was so loud that the sound of the helicopter and the guns was just one continuous explosion.com/abclit. had just taken a crippling hit. plastic and flesh in an alley in northern Mogadishu. the Rangers on Chalk One fanned out around the southeast corner of the target house in Mogadishu. but the sick. Another airman ran from the helicopter toward the Blackhawk that had crashed. rotors snapped and flying.html One of the airmen was leaning out of the helicopter and aiming his gun up the street behind where Aden was hiding. William F.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The shooting got even worse then. http://www. sinking feeling that came over officers watching on screen went far beyond the immediate fate of the six men on board. America's 10-month mission to Somalia. code-named Super 61. Bullets were hitting and rocking the old car that was shielding Aden.processtext. AT THE JOINT OPERATIONS Center next to the airport. Mike Goodale and Aaron Williamson. dust and debris. As far as Chalk One knew. and in a matter of minutes Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk would be shot down just five blocks away. cameras on three surveillance helicopters had captured close-up and in color the crash of the helicopter. But now gunfire was picking up. handed off by one president to another. He curled himself into a ball and wished he was someplace else. who were crouched behind the rusted hulk of a burned-out car. Gen. taking cover from Somalis at an intersection of dirt alleys. the latest symbol of the nation's commitment to a New World Order. making two slow turns clockwise. Chapter 4 An outgunned but relentless enemy AFTER ROPING DOWN from their Blackhawk. Maj. . The Chalk One men were hunkered down. Dirt popped up all around Ranger Sgts. Garrison and his command staff had watched it live: pilot Cliff Wolcott's black chopper moving smoothly.

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Goodale hopped and ran, but there was no safe place to hide. He dived behind a pipe protruding from the road. It was only 7 inches wide and 6 inches high. He felt ridiculous cowering behind it. When the shooting ceased momentarily, he rejoined Williamson behind the car, just as the Somali opened up again.

Goodale saw a spray of bullets walk up the side of the car and down the side of Williamson's rifle, taking off the end of his finger. Blood splashed up on Williamson's face and he began screaming and cursing. "If he sticks his head out again I'm taking him,'' he told Goodale. Severed fingertip and all, Williamson coolly leveled his M-16 and waited, motionless. Bullets were still snapping around them. When the shooter showed his face again, Williamson fired. There was a spray of blood, and the man fell over hard. With his uninjured hand, Williamson exchanged a high five with Goodale. Moments later, another Somali sprinted away from them. As he ran, his loose shirt billowed out to reveal an AK-47, so Goodale and Williamson shot him. As the man lay on the street, Goodale asked Chalk One's medic if they should check him out. The medic shook his head and said, "No, he's dead.'' That startled Goodale. He had just killed a man. Only two years earlier, he had been partying hard at the University of Iowa, flunking out and joining the Rangers. His two years with the Rangers had been mostly a great time. Soldiering was fun. This was something else. The man had not actually been shooting at him when he fired, so was it right to shoot? Goodale stared at the man in the dirt, his clothes tangled around him, splayed awkwardly in the alley.

Across the alley, Chalk One's commander, First Lt. Larry Perino, a stocky West Point man, was watching Somalian children walk right up the street toward his men, pointing out the Americans' positions for a hidden gunman. His men threw flash-bang grenades, which scattered the children momentarily. Perino sprayed rounds from his M-16 at their feet. They ran away again. Then a woman began creeping toward Staff Sgt. Chuck Elliott's M-60 machine gun, which the men called a ``pig'' because of the grunting sound it made when fired. "Hey, sir, I can see there's a guy behind this woman with a weapon under her arm!'' Elliott shouted. Perino told Elliott to fire. The 60-gun made its low, blatting sound. The man and the woman fell dead.

ONE BLOCK NORTH, at the northeast corner of the target block, were the Rangers in Chalk Two. Spec. Shawn Nelson, the unit's 60-gunner, set up his ``pig'' at the crest of a slight rise in the road. At 23, Nelson was a little older than his buddies. When the corporate training program he attended after high school in Atlanta abruptly folded, he had enlisted. He felt protective of his fellow Rangers, and not

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just because of his big gun. They were the first real family he had ever had. He could see Somalis aiming guns at the southwest corner of the target block, where Chalk Three had roped in. One Somali, an old man with a bushy white afro, was so intent that he didn't run like the others when Nelson fired. "Shoot him, shoot him,'' urged Nelson's assistant gunner. "No, watch,'' Nelson said. "He'll come right to us.'' Sure enough, the man practically walked up to them. He ducked behind a tree 50 yards up and was loading a new magazine in his weapon when Nelson put about a dozen rounds into him. The bullets went right through the man, chipping the wall behind him, but still he got up, retrieved his weapon, and fired again. Nelson was shocked. He squeezed another burst. The man managed to crawl behind the tree. This time he didn't shoot back. "I think you got him,'' said his assistant gunner. But Nelson could still see the afro moving behind the tree. He blasted another long burst. Bark splintered off the tree and the man slumped sideways. His body was quivering and he seemed to have at last expired. Nelson could not believe how hard it was to kill a man. Taking cover next behind a small car, Nelson saw a Somali with a gun prone on the dirt between two kneeling women. He had the barrel of his weapon between the women's legs, and there were four children actually sitting on him. He was completely shielded by noncombatants. "Check this out, John,'' Nelson told Spec. John Waddell. "What do you want to do?'' Waddell asked. Nelson threw a flash-bang at the group, and they fled so fast the man left his gun. Crouching nearby, Staff Sgt. Ed Yurek's attention was called to a nearby tin-walled shed. "Hey, we've got people in the shed!'' shouted Chalk Two's medic. Yurek sprinted across the street, and, with the medic, plunged into the shed, nearly trampling a huddled mass of terrified children. With them was a woman, evidently their teacher. "Everyone down!'' Yurek shouted, his weapon ready. The children wailed, and Yurek realized he needed to throttle things back. "Settle down,'' he pleaded. "Settle down!'' But the wailing continued. Slowly, Yurek stooped and placed his weapon on the ground. He motioned for the teacher to approach him. He guessed she was a young teenager. "Lay down,'' he told her, speaking evenly. "Lay down,'' gesturing with his hands. She lay down, hesitantly. Yurek pointed to the children, gesturing for them to do the same. They got

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down. Yurek retrieved his weapon and addressed the teacher, enunciating every word, vainly trying to bridge the language barrier. "Now, you need to stay here. No matter what you see or hear, stay here.'' She shook her head, and Yurek hoped that meant yes. As they left, Yurek told the medic to guard the door. He feared somebody would barge in shooting.

Up the alley, Nelson saw a man with a weapon ride out into the open - on a cow. There were about eight other men around the animal, some with weapons. Nelson didn't know whether to laugh or shoot. In an instant, he and the rest of the Rangers opened fire. The man on the cow fell off, and the others ran. The cow stood stupefied. Just then, a Blackhawk slid overhead and opened up with a minigun. The cow literally came apart. Great chunks of flesh flew up. Blood splashed. When the minigun stopped and the helicopter's shadow passed, what had been the cow lay in awful, steaming pieces. Those powerful guns overhead were deeply reassuring to the men on the ground. On the streets of a hostile city with bullets snapping past, where the smell of blood and burnt flesh mingled with the odor of garbage and dung, the thrum of the Blackhawks reminded them they were not alone. As the helicopter moved off, yet another crowd of Somalis began to form. Nelson tried to direct his fire only at people with weapons, but those with guns were intermingled. He debated only momentarily before firing. The group dispersed, leaving bodies in the alleyway. Quickly another, larger group began to mass. People were closing in, just 50 feet up the road, some of them shooting. Nelson wasn't weighing issues anymore. He cut loose with the M-60, and his rounds tore through the crowd like a scythe. A Little Bird swooped in and threw down a flaming wall of lead. Those who didn't fall fled. One moment there was a crowd, and the next instant it was just a bleeding heap of dead and injured. "Goddamn, Nelson!'' Waddell said. "Goddamn!'' Chapter 5 'My God, you guys. Look at this!'

November 19, 1997

Black Hawk Down Table of Contents Who's Who

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Where are they now? Timeline Book Reviews Movie Updates Night Stalkers Memorial Wall Quotes Memorial Poems Guest Book Speeches Ranger Memorial Hall of Honor Articles Ranger Gregg Gould Jeff Raycher

Poems Heroes Our Loss BlackHawk Down Toy Soldiers Brothers to the end Tommy To his Comrades In Memorium Unfortunate Losses

and a chug-chug-chug coughing followed. The bird's two crew chiefs were blasting targets with their mounted miniguns. "Look at this!'' Wolcott's bird moved directly over them. then picking up speed. walk and talk of his musical idol. Pvt. "Oh. His exploits were legendary. the rotor stopped spinning with an ugly grinding sound. to knock out Saddam Hussein's Scud missile sites in Iraq.first slowly. http://www. "Oh. It was Super 61. refueling in flight. The whole helicopter shuddered and started to spin .processtext. JUST AFTER he had leveled the Somalian crowd with his M-60. He had flown secret missions behind enemy lines during the Persian Gulf war. on its side. watching for Somalian gunmen. you guys.'' As Wolcott's Blackhawk passed overhead. Then came a thunderclap. leaving the street strewn with bodies. Cliff Wolcott's bird.com/abclit. Every time the sleek black copters moved overhead.'' He fought the urge to just stand and watch the bird go down.html Not for fame In Honor of Fallen Night Stalkers Navigation NightStalkers. The helicopter started to tilt as it hit the top of a house. it gave the guys on the ground a good. . protected feeling the boys called "a warm and fuzzy. Wolcott's Super 61 had delivered a Chalk of Rangers and was now flying a low orbit over the target area in central Mogadishu. my God. Nelson's eye caught the distinctive flash and puff of an RPG . then flipped over as it crashed into an alley. He saw the rocket climb into the helicopter's path. He turned away to keep his eyes on his corner. Chief Warrant Officer Wolcott was a funny guy whom everybody called Elvis because he affected the hair. Jesus.com Night Stalker Assn. John Waddell. "It just went down! It just crashed!'' The disbelief in Nelson's voice echoed the feelings of every soldier on the corner. The bird's tail boom cracked. gunner Shawn Nelson heard the approach of a Blackhawk. Look at this!'' Nelson said to the Rangers crouching with him. spinning faster now. Nelson couldn't stop watching. gasped. On this mission. There were guys in his unit who had known Elvis for years but would scratch their heads if you asked them about somebody named Cliff Wolcott.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and two Commando snipers in the rear were picking off Somalian gunmen.a rocket-propelled grenade.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. piloting a Little Bird with the call sign Star 41.com/abclit. He took the other half . Nelson's buddy Waddell was feeling the same urge to run toward the crash. even more than the Rangers' rifles and machine guns. the dead crew members were mutilated by the crowds. We've got to go right now!'' He knew the six men inside the Blackhawk needed help immediately . who came running. The helicopters. were what kept gunmen at a distance. one with something in his hand. http://www. This was dreadful shock. the Ranger commander. Voices rose with surprise and fear: We got a Blackhawk going down! We got a Blackhawk going down! We got a Blackhawk crashed in the city! Sixty-one! Sixty-one down! It was more than a helicopter crash. When another unit's Blackhawk had gone down two weeks earlier. There was no pretense now of the deadpan calm of radio transmissions. the Chalk Two leader. He saw crowds of Somalis running in that direction. He dropped to one knee and felled them both with a burst from his M-60. "We need to go!'' Nelson shouted at DiTomasso. Word spread wildly over the radio. They were determined that such a thing would never happen to their guys. voices overlapped with the bad news. running full trot to catch up with Nelson. He tried to get on the command network. The Blackhawks and Little Birds were their trump cards.eight men with him to the Blackhawk crash. a . and guns poking out of windows nearby. The captain had decided to authorize it himself. "Now!'' Nelson started running at the same moment Steele called back. One had been holding a stick. He spotted two boys running toward him.processtext. but if Chalk Two left. but the calls were coming so thick and loud now he couldn't be heard. ``We've got to go. Steele understood the urge to go help. the mandatory military monotone that said everything was under control. Nelson saw smoke and dust rising from the crash three blocks east. The other got up and limped for cover. DiTomasso ordered half of Chalk Two to stay at the target house. Tom DiTomasso. "A bird just went down!'' Nelson said. In the hangar the Rangers had talked about it.html "What happened?'' called First Lt. IT HAD TAKEN Chief Warrant Officer Keith Jones. It was a blow to the sense of invulnerability in all the young men on the ground. the security perimeter around the target building would break down. But now they had to get permission on the radio from Capt. Mike Steele.before Somalis got to them.

Jones examined Busch. You are coming over it right and low.'' had a bad gut wound. Maier didn't know. leaving Maier to control the Little Bird and provide cover up the alley. from the wreckage and positioned him against the wall with his weapon. fired with handguns. One of the men was still breathing and trying to move. Jones saw dark smoke choking the interior of the downed Blackhawk. On the radio he heard the command from the bird overhead. Staff Sgt. Just passed it. piloting Blackhawk Super 62 above him. Nelson picked up Busch's pistol and stuck it in his pocket. The wounded sniper had dragged his injured Commando buddy. so Jones stooped and lifted him with both arms. barely. Jones banked hard left and then flew in. Maier nearly shot him. had helped guide him. Landing in the big intersection closest to the downed Blackhawk would have been easier. Busch had been shot again.processtext. . and placed him in the small back door of the Little Bird. One hundred meters. Two hundred meters. Then Sgt. Karl Maier. Jones and Smith were having trouble dragging Busch. Then he helped the wounded Smith into the helicopter. a devoutly religious man. Somalis were coming at them. He had been shot in the belly. indicating he wanted a head count on casualties. The rest of the squad fanned out to form a perimeter. Daniel Busch. There was a woman and two men. He needed a doctor immediately. His eyes were gray and rolled up in his head.'' Smith had been shot in the meaty part of his left shoulder. a Commando sniper who had climbed out of the Blackhawk wreckage. the startled lieutenant tapped his helmet. They saw that Busch. Now. but Jones knew there was nothing he could do for him. http://www. and he knew just looking at it that his friends Elvis and Donovan "Bull'' Briley. It was Smith who had encountered Abdiaziz Ali Aden. He then got down behind the bodies for cover while Jones and Smith pulled Busch uphill to the Little Bird. Jones hopped out and followed Smith to the downed Blackhawk.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. were probably dead. Chief Warrant Officer Mike Goffena. so Nelson pumped two finishing rounds into him. the slender Somalian teenager who had hidden inside the old car nearby. Busch. the copilot.'' Nelson found three Somalian bodies beside Busch. the gung-ho commando everybody called ``Rambusch.com/abclit. Both Jones and his copilot.html few minutes to find the crash. Nelson and the other Rangers behind DiTomasso went after Jones and Smith. over the din of the helicopter. Jones climbed back into his pilot seat. So he'd eased his copter onto the street called Freedom Road and set it down on a slope between two stone houses. but he didn't want to sit down where he would make a fat target from four different directions. appeared alongside Jones' window. He was still alive.45-caliber pistol was on the ground in front of him. had told his mother before leaving for Somalia: "A good Christian soldier is just a click away from heaven. Lt. While propped there. just under his armor plate. His SAW (squad automatic weapon) was on his lap and a . Seconds after Jones left. Jim Smith. Smith mouthed the words: "I need help. When Maier lowered his weapon. DiTomasso rounded the corner and came upon the Little Bird.

The two helicopters were supposed to be opposite each other in orbit over the target area in Mogadishu. Come out now. http://www. Durant's chopper weighed 16.processtext. come on out. He heard Goffena explain that he had been hit by an RPG fired by Somalis. and that there was damage to the tail area. are you OK?'' Goffena radioed to Durant. which lay smoldering on the ground after being shot down minutes earlier. and the tail rotor was a long way from where he sat. Goffena's radio call came before Durant had even sorted out what had happened. there was a real risk that the Little Bird would be damaged and get stranded on the ground.000 pounds with crew and gear. Durant was still struggling to take the spot vacated by Cliff Wolcott's Super 61. With intensifying fire. The grenade blew off a chunk of it. 1997 PILOT MIKE GOFFENA was moving his Blackhawk up behind Mike Durant's bird when the grenade hit. "I have it. The Blackhawk is a big aircraft. Goffena saw all the oil dump out of the rotor in a fine mist. and everything seemed to still be functioning.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.'' Black Hawk Down Chapter 7 Another grenade. but the bird stayed intact. Jones grabbed the stick and told Maier.'' Jones told the command network: "Forty-one is coming out. was closing in fast from behind when he saw the hit to Durant's gearbox. flying Super 62. "Sixty-four. The pilots would have to leave the rest of the Super 61 crew and hope the Rangers could hold on until more help arrived. Goffena.com/abclit.html Forty-one. . but Durant's Super 64 hadn't been in the formation long enough to get in sync. Smith and Busch needed doctors. another chopper hit November 22.

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"Roger,'' Durant radioed back, coolly. He didn't feel anything unusual about the Blackhawk at first. He did a quick check of his instruments and saw that all the readings were OK. His crew in back, Staff Sgt. Bill Cleveland and Sgt. Tommy Field, were unhurt. So after the initial shock, he felt relief. Everything was fine. Goffena told him he had lost his oil and part of the gearbox on the tail rotor, but the sturdy Blackhawk was built to run without oil for a time if necessary, and it was still holding steady. Durant had faith in the aircraft, but it had absorbed a strong impact. The air mission commander, Lt. Col. Tom Matthews, who had seen the hit from the command-and-control helicopter circling above, told him to put the bird on the ground. Super 64 was out of the fight. Durant pulled out of his left-turning orbit and pointed back to the Americans' airfield, about a four-minute flight southeast. He could see it off in the distance against the coastline. He noted, just to be safe, that there was a big green open area between him and the airfield, so if he had to land sooner, he had a place to put his helicopter. But the bird was flying fine.

Durant was the calm, collected type - a true pro. He had been with the secretive 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment), the Night Stalkers, long enough to be a veteran of dangerous, low-flying, night missions in the Persian Gulf war and the invasion of Panama. He had learned to conduct himself with such discipline that many of his neighbors in Tennessee, near the Night Stalkers' base in Fort Campbell, Ky., didn't even know what he did for a living. His own family often didn't know where he was. In fact, he'd been given just two hours' notice of his assignment to Somalia. There had been just enough time to drive home and spend 15 minutes with his wife, Lorrie, and his baby son, Joey, and to explain that he would have to miss the child's first birthday three days later. Sometimes it seemed that all he did was fly missions, or train for them. Practice defined the lives of the Night Stalker pilots. They practiced everything, even crashing. Their moves in the electronic maze of their cockpits were so well-rehearsed they had become instinctive.

Now Durant steered his crippled Blackhawk southeast over Mogadishu, toward the Indian Ocean and the base. His friend Goffena made a quick decision to follow him. Goffena's Super 62 had been providing cover for the target building and the crash site, where the Super 61 Blackhawk piloted by Cliff Wolcott had gone down from an RPG hit. Goffena had seen a rescue team rope in at Wolcott's downed bird, and the forces around the target building were getting ready to leave. Prioritizing quickly, he decided he would see his four friends in Durant's crippled bird at least part of the way safely home. Goffena followed Super 64 for maybe a mile, to a point where he felt confident it would make it back. He was preparing to turn around when Durant's tail rotor, the whole assembly - the gearbox and two or three feet of the vertical fin assembly - just turned into a blur and evaporated. Inside Super 64, Durant and his copilot, Ray Frank, felt the airframe begin to vibrate rapidly. They heard the accelerating, high-speed whine of the dry gear shaft in its death throes. Then came a very loud bang. With the top half of the tail fin gone, a big weight was suddenly dropped off the airframe's back end, and its center of gravity pitched forward.

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As the nose lunged down, the big bird began to spin. After a decade of flying, Durant's reactions were instinctive. To make the airframe swing left meant pushing gently on the left pedal. He now noticed he had already jammed his left pedal all the way to the floor and his craft was still spinning rapidly to the right. The rotation of the big rotor blades wanted to make the airframe spin that way, and without a tail rotor there was no force to stop it. The spin was faster than Durant ever imagined it could be. Details of earth and sky blurred, the way patterns do on a spinning top. Out the windshield he saw only blue sky and brown earth.

They were about 75 feet above ground when Goffena saw the Blackhawk spin 10 or 15 times in the seconds before it hit. It all happened too fast. Durant was trying to do something with the flight controls. Frank, in the seat next to him, somehow had the presence of mind to do exactly the right thing. In crash simulators, pilots are taught to eliminate torque by shutting off the engines. But the controls for the engines were on the roof of the cockpit, so Frank had to fight the spin's strong centrifugal force to raise his arms. In those frantic seconds he managed to flip one engine switch to idle and turn the other halfway off. Durant shouted into his radio: Going in hard! Going down! He screamed his copilot's name: Raaaay!

Goffena was amazed to see the plummeting helicopter's spin rate suddenly slow. And just before impact, the nose of the bird came up. Whether for some aerodynamic reason or something Durant or Frank did inside the cockpit, the falling chopper leveled off. With the spin rate down to half what it had been, and with the craft fairly level, the Blackhawk made a hard but flat landing. Coming down flat was critical. It meant there was a chance the four men inside Super 64 were alive. Black Hawk Down Chapter 8 A second crash, and no escape

November 23, 1997

The crew of Super 64 a month before the battle. From left: Tommy Field, Bill Cleveland, Ray Frank and

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Mike Durant. CIRCLING IN HIS HELICOPTER over Mike Durant's downed Blackhawk, pilot Mike Goffena saw that Durant had been lucky. His helicopter had crashed not into one of the many stone buildings in central Mogadishu, but into a warren of flimsy tin huts. The chopper hadn't hit anything hard enough to flip it over. A Blackhawk is built with shock absorbers to withstand a terrifically hard impact, so long as it lands in an upright position. And Durant's Super 64 Blackhawk was indeed upright. In other ways, Durant and his three crew members were less fortunate. The crash site was about a mile from the commandos and Rangers on the ground near the downtown target site. Durant had been shot down while taking the place of Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk, which had crashed only a few blocks from the American troops.

The only airborne search-and-rescue team had already fast-roped down to Wolcott's bird, so there would be no easy way to reinforce Durant's crash site. If there had been an irremediable flaw in this mission, it was this lack of a second rescue force. Nobody had taken seriously the prospect of two helicopters going down. From above, Goffena could already see Somalis spilling into alleyways and footpaths, homing in on the newly downed bird. Goffena flew a low pass and caught a glimpse of Durant in the cockpit, pushing at a section of tin roof that had caved in around his legs. Goffena was relieved to see that his friend was alive. He flew close enough to catch the frustrated look on the face of Durant's copilot, Ray Frank. Frank had been in a tail-rotor crash like this one on a training mission several years before. It had broken his leg and crunched his back, and he had been involved in a legal battle over it ever since. To Goffena, the look on Frank's face down there said, I can't believe this has happened to me again! Then, in the back of the crumpled Blackhawk, Goffena saw movement. This told him that at least one of the crew chiefs, either Bill Cleveland or Tommy Field, was still alive. At this point, 4:45 p.m., command conditions were on overload. Most of the Rangers and Commandos inserted at the target building were moving to the site of Wolcott's downed helicopter, where the air-rescue team had already roped in. The situation report from the command helicopter sounded beleaguered. We are getting a lot of RPG fire. There's a lot of fire. We are going to try to get everyone consolidated at the northern site [Wolcott's crash] and then move to the southern site [Durant's crash].

In the back of Blackhawk Super 62, Goffena had, in addition to his two crew chiefs, three commandos: snipers Randy Shughart, Gary Gordon and Brad Hallings. With Somalis closing in, he knew Durant's downed crew wouldn't last long. They were an air crew, not professional ground fighters like the boys. Goffena's crew gunners and the snipers were now picking off armed Somalis. Goffena would drop down low, and the wash of his propellers would force the thickening crowds back. But the men with RPGs

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were slower to take cover, and his snipers were picking them off. Goffena also noticed that every time he dropped down now, he was drawing more fire. He heard the ticking of bullets poking through the thin metal walls of the airframe. A couple of times he saw a glowing arc where a round would hit one of his rotor blades, which would spark and trace a bright line as the blade moved. Goffena's Blackhawk and other helicopter gunships were holding the crowds back. Goffena and the other circling pilots worked the radio, pleading for immediate help. They were repeatedly assured that a rescue by the hurriedly assembled ground convoy was imminent. But Goffena's air commander, realizing that it was taking too long to get the new column up and moving, approved Goffena's request to put two of his helicopter's three commandos on the ground. The idea was for them to give first aid, set up a perimeter, and help Durant and his crew hold off the Somalis until the arrival of a rescue force.

This was not a hopeless mission. One or two properly armed, well-trained soldiers could hold off an undisciplined enemy indefinitely. Shughart and Gordon were experts at killing and staying alive. They were career soldiers trained to get hard, ugly things done. Gordon had enlisted at 17; his wife and children lived near Fort Bragg, N.C. Shughart was an outdoorsman from Western Pennsylvania who loved his Dodge truck and his hunting rifles. When the crew chief gave Gordon the word that he and Shughart were going in, Gordon grinned and gave an excited thumbs-up. Goffena made a low pass at a small clearing, using his rotor wash to knock down a fence and blow away debris. He held a hover at about five feet, and the two boys jumped. Shughart got tangled on the safety line connecting him to the chopper and had to be cut free. Gordon took a spill as he ran for cover. Shughart stood motioning with his hands, indicating their confusion. They were crouched in a defensive posture in the open. Goffena dropped the copter down low and leaned out the window, pointing the way. A crew chief popped a small smoke marker out the side in the direction of Durant's helicopter. Shughart and Gordon ran to the smoke. The last thing the crew chiefs saw as the Blackhawk pulled away was both men signaling thumbs-up.

MIKE DURANT CAME TO and felt something was wrong with his right leg. He had been knocked cold for at least several minutes. He was seated upright in his seat, leaning slightly to the right. The windshield of his Blackhawk was shattered, and there was something draped over him, a big sheet of tin. The helicopter seemed remarkably intact. The rotor blades had not flexed off. Durant's seat, which was mounted on shock absorbers, had collapsed down to the floor. It had broken in the full down position and was cocked to the right. He figured that was because they were spinning when they hit. The shocks had collapsed, and the spin had jerked the seat to the right. It must have been the combination of the jerk and the impact that had broken his femur. The big bone in his right leg had snapped in two on the edge of his seat.

with his rescuers at hand. Durant did some things he later could not explain. A hunk of flying metal had taken a deep gouge out of her forehead. Then he took off his watch. Before flying he always took off his wedding ring because there was a danger it could catch on rivets or switches. a little German automatic rifle that fired 9mm rounds. but it had evidently been long enough for a rescue team to arrive. He assumed they were attending to Field and setting up a perimeter. Shughart and Gordon. but he recognized their faces. Now he removed the watch and took the ring off the strap. And just as Frank disappeared out the doorway. the other crew chief. He squeezed . probably engine oil. The dazed pilots checked themselves over.'' he told Durant. Shughart and Gordon were calm.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Somalis were starting to poke their heads around the corner on Durant's side of the copter. but in the next hut a 2-year-old girl. and was talking but making no sense. His ordeal was over. or looking for a way to get them out. He felt an enormous sense of relief. explaining his struggle to turn off the engines as the helicopter plummeted. He was not in great pain. Behind him the front of his aircraft was wedged tightly against a tin wall. Durant was in a perfect position to cover the whole right side of the aircraft with his skinny-popper. Her mother. He would pass the strap of his watch through the ring and keep it there during a flight. He knew they were the boys. They both figured they had crushed vertebrae. They set him down by a tree. lay unconscious and bleeding. He removed his helmet and his gloves. an MP-5K. showed up. Durant's back hurt. and was severely burned on her face and legs. Durant could not pull himself out of the wreckage. there was no need. That was the last time he saw him. He could see that his crew chiefs had taken the worst of the crash. had been splashed with something hot. http://www. No one had been inside. and set both on the dashboard. The pilots called them ``SPs. Durant was startled by their arrival. He picked up his weapon. or perhaps looking for a place where another helicopter could set down and load them up. the commandos. ``I couldn't get them all the way off. Durant couldn't see what was happening. as if they had all the time in the world.html The Blackhawk had flattened a flimsy hut. He didn't know either man well.'' or ``skinny-poppers. one taking his legs and the other grabbing his torso.processtext. closing off any easy approach from that side. He had been thinking about getting the radio operating. Bint Abraham Hassan. He watched them lift Bill Cleveland from the fuselage. Frank said he had reinjured his back.com/abclit. He had blood all over his pants. but now. They reached in and lifted Durant out of the craft gently. Howa Hassan. too. Ray Frank's left tibia was broken. Then Gordon and Shughart moved to the other side of the helicopter to help Tommy Field. Frank was trying to explain what happened during the crash.'' a reference to the nickname ``skinny'' the soldiers had bestowed on the wiry Somalian militiamen. He didn't know how long he had been unconscious. He pushed the piece of tin roof away and decided to defend his position through the broken windshield. Durant saw that Frank was about to push himself out. They didn't have the shock absorbers in back.

that only 110 yards or so away. He caught hold of the arm of his friend Cawale. Mo'Alim saw everyone around him reverse direction. Moments before. which was still forming at the airport base two miles away. The instant Durant's helicopter hit the ground. a goateed veteran soldier waving his weapon and shouting. Jones and Maier were aiming their weapons at alleyways leading to the clearing. They lifted off. Now everyone was running south. saw many of his neighbors grab guns and run toward the wreck. http://www. Cawale had a rifle. and the next time it would shoot properly. Don't go!'' he shouted at him. ``It's dangerous. Mo'Alim was an armed bandit and gunman for hire. He knew they weren't going to be able to carry them to where Jones' Little Bird was waiting. It still hadn't occurred to him that Shughart and Gordon were the entire rescue force. who owned the Black Sea restaurant. They could not make it to the Little Bird. . Goffena. Hussein grabbed him by both shoulders. had seen Shughart and Gordon lift Durant and then Cleveland and Field out of the fuselage. the crowd on the streets and the fighters had been moving north. Maier and Jones reluctantly asked for permission to leave and refuel.processtext. Others ran on ahead. Then it would jam again.html off a round. but on this day he had thrown his entire gang of 26 street fighters into the citywide effort to fight off the American invaders. The Little Bird was running low. expecting a crowd of Somalis to show up any second. and they dropped back.com/abclit. over to where the first helicopter had crashed. Ali Hussein. DURANT'S BLACKHAWK had crashed in Wadigley.other than the emergency ground convoy. He got on the radio and explained to Jones and Maier that the boys had set up a perimeter around Durant's Blackhawk. After waiting on the ground about five minutes. They were eager to load everybody up and hustle out of there. circling overhead. leaving the Americans at crash site two to their fate. who managed a pharmacy near where the helicopter crashed. He could hear more shooting from the other side of the airframe. Cawale wrestled away from Hussein and joined the running crowd. Durant also did not know. and hoping that Shughart and Gordon would arrive with Durant and his crew. none of them did. Mo'Alim ran with them. They were going to have to hang on until the ground force arrived. for he was known as a militia leader. His gun kept jamming. There was no big rescue team . The same team that had set the Little Bird down near the first crash site to help Cliff Wolcott's downed crew had now set their helicopter down again . They had badly wounded crew members. pilots Keith Jones and Karl Maier were waiting. But there was the smell of blood and vengeance in the air. and they were vulnerable. a crowded neighborhood just south of where Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim lived on a street of rag huts and tin-roofed shanties.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. ``Turn back! Stop! There are still men inside who can shoot!'' Some listened to Mo'Alim. so he would eject the round.to help Durant and his crew.

using his weapon to keep back the occasional Somali who poked his head into the clearing. "Are there weapons on board?'' he asked. but this new weapon was set on burst.html Minutes later. He fired at them. He said there was a channel Bravo. they saw Cawale sprawled dead in the dirt. it meant he and Gordon had come in on their own. so he fired in that direction.it was Gary Gordon . Then he heard one of the guys . Then Shughart took the weapons and moved back around to the other side of the helicopter. He was on his back. and Durant shot him. too. He handed Durant Gordon's weapon. the Americans around the crashed helicopter were still very capable of fighting. He tried to hold the crowd back. Just a quick shout of anger and pain. It startled him because he had been firing single shots. He could hear firing on the other side of the helicopter. Randy Shughart. As Mo'Alim had expected. He didn't say what had happened to Gordon. rummaged around and returned with both rifles. "What's the support frequency on the survival radio?'' Shughart asked. but it was difficult to approach the small clearing where the helicopter lay. Shughart asked for immediate help. His leg was broken but it didn't hurt.shout that he was hit. but they were angry and brazen. that it dawned on Durant that they were stranded. The Americans had every approach covered with deadly automatic-weapons fire. came back around to Durant's side of the bird. A man tried to climb over the wall. and was told that a reaction force was en route. And Gordon had just been shot! Durant explained standard procedure on the survival radio to Shughart. . They were the entire rescue team. http://www. and Shughart stepped into the craft. He had to keep the Somalis away. a CAR-15 automatic rifle loaded and ready to fire. It was then.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Mo'Alim waited for more of his men to catch up so that they could mount a coordinated attack. He didn't know whether he had hit them.processtext. for the first time. Another came crawling from around the corner with a weapon. He didn't hear the voice again. He could hear them talking behind a wall. as Mo'Alim and his men reached the second crash site. propped against a supply kit next to a small tree. He wanted to find a way for his militiamen to get clear shots at the Americans. The other guy. He knew Ray Frank. The crew chiefs carried M-16s. Tommy Field. Durant told him where they were kept. If Shughart was asking how to set up communications. just four paces in front of the helicopter. And somewhere were the two boys and his crew chief. The ground all around was littered with the bodies of Somalis. He wondered if Tommy was OK. was hurt but alive. DURANT STILL THOUGHT things were under control. his copilot.com/abclit. The voices behind the wall stopped. Durant felt panic closing in now. He figured it was only a matter of time before the ground vehicles showed up to take them out. He felt a twist of alarm in his gut. and they jumped back. Then two Somalis tried to climb over the nose end of the copter. and Durant shot him. and he listened while Shughart called out.

The shooting stopped. but he never even thought to reach for it. They did gruesome. Indigenous? That's affirmative. The man shouted. The crash had left the clearing littered with debris. worried commanders were watching on video screens.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The others must be dead. His second weapon was out of rounds. folded his hands over it. at the mercy of an angry mob November 24.com/abclit. It was an . http://www. blowing the tin roofs off houses and roping in to shoot and arrest Habr Gidr clan leaders. He seemed startled to find Durant lying there. Do you have video over crash site number two? Indigenous personnel moving around all over the crash site. High overhead in the surveillance helicopters. 1997 ON THE CROWDED STREETS people surged with anger around Mike Durant's crashed Blackhawk. and turned his eyes to the sky. He heard Shughart shout in pain. Durant placed the empty weapon across his chest. people continued to move in that direction. The rumor around the hangar was that they'd played soccer with the heads of a couple of downed pilots earlier that summer. Durant knew what had happened to soldiers who had fallen into the hands of angry Somalis. and more Somalis came running. That was in store for him now. In the months since the Rangers came. He was done. He could hear sounds of an angry mob. horrible things. There was no more shooting.processtext. The radio fell silent. It was time to die. It was over. He still had a pistol strapped to his side.html Suddenly there was a mad fusillade on the other side of the helicopter that lasted for about two minutes. they had been swooping over the city at all hours of the night and day. Black Hawk Down Chapter 9 Alone. Terror washed over Durant like nothing he had ever felt. over. They wanted to kill these Americans who had fallen from the sky and opened fire on their friends and neighbors. A Somali stepped around the nose of the helicopter. And despite furious gunfire from the soldiers around the downed helicopter. and he heard a great shuffling sound as the Somalis pushed it away.

and the Somalis were afraid he had other hidden weapons. they were unfamiliar with the plastic snaps on his gear. The crowd surged past Mo'Alim and fell on both men. All the while . and the bone around his eyes was shattered from the blow to his face. for one of their own.processtext. which sought only revenge. Another American lay dead or badly wounded. his men opened fire all at once on the Americans. He shouted and waved his arms as the mob grabbed him by the legs and pulled him away.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Soon people were running. Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim. tearing at his clothes. He grabbed the pilot's arm. They knew the American pilots also wore beacons in their clothing so that the helicopters could track them. parading with parts of the Americans' bodies. Mo'Alim and some of his men formed a ring around the pilot to protect him from the mob. there were two soldiers and a pilot who were firing. was still alive. They also left on his brown T-shirt. Durant kept his eyes on the sky. he was startled to find two other Americans.com/abclit. so Durant reached down and squeezed them open. On the side of the helicopter he could see. When Mo'Alim ran around the tail of the helicopter. On this day all the hatred had come to a boil. perhaps all of them. The Somalis were screaming things he couldn't understand. Now he didn't have to work as hard. Gary Gordon were fending off the crowd. A man started unzipping his pants. First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sgt. Mo'Alim stayed back himself. then his survival vest and his shirt. His boots were yanked off. It occurred to Mo'Alim that this American was more valuable alive than dead. One of his men struck the pilot hard in the face with his rifle butt. They would be willing to trade them. had been trying to keep the angry crowd back. The pilot had a pistol strapped to his side. http://www. Others in the crowd pulled and tore at the dead men's limbs. and a knife. The mob descended on the Americans. and Mo'Alim pushed him back. stretched on the ground. One. the neighborhood militia leader. People with knives hacked at the bodies of the dead Americans. fired his weapon in the air and shouted for the crowd to stay back. so they stripped him. and many were already dead. looked badly wounded or dead. The crowd followed Mo'Alim and his men into the clearing. He set his weapon on his chest and folded his hands over it. His nose was broken. The man did not shoot. When they started pulling off his clothes. a pilot. The Americans were surrounded. The other. shouting and cackling. Several of Mo'Alim's fighters tore off Durant's clothing. The pilot was at their mercy. The Rangers had spent months capturing Somalis and holding them prisoner. At the wreck site. Only one was still alive. and then they fanned out to find good positions for a coordinated assault. Those who went for the pilot began kicking and beating him. The Somalian bodies strewn around the clearing and the deadly accurate fire from the Americans did that. At Mo'Alim's signal. He waited until about a dozen of his men joined him. Sgt. the Americans stopped firing. but the bearded militia leader felt suddenly protective of the man. but when he saw that the pilot wore no underwear (for comfort in the equatorial heat) he zipped the trousers back up.html insult to Somalia. waiting for the promised rescue convoy of ground troops. There was time. After a furious exchange of fire that lasted at least two minutes.

they couldn't watch the fight unfold on video screens. you die Somalia!'' Then someone threw a handful of dirt in his face. hit with fists. the battle seemed immediate and distant at the same time. He was in it. He felt no pain. Their best friends. The fear lessened. They tied a rag or a towel over the top of his head and eyes. . and he passed out. or above it.processtext. The fight really hit home when Sgt. They heard the voices of men who never got rattled shouting with fear and cracking with emotion. He stuck it in Durant's face and shouted in English. rifle butts. A young man leaned down and grabbed at the green ID card Durant wore around his neck. The snatch-and-grab mission had clearly become a pitched battle. And in this agony of fright. their brothers. perhaps. Ranger. Dominick Pilla's humvee rolled in. and then Mike Durant's. He was observing the crowd attacking him. he thought a woman. Todd Blackburn. 1997 FOR THE RANGERS left behind at the American airport base on the beach in Mogadishu. partly carrying and partly dragging him. He was buffeted from all sides.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. His vehicle had been part of a convoy carrying Pfc. Durant suddenly left his body. his mouth was bloody. He was engulfed in a great chorus of hate and anger. All they had was the radio. all shot up and mangled. ``Ranger.com/abclit. Pilla had been shot in the head and killed. He could not see where they were taking him. and that was enough. were trapped and dying. apart somehow. Someone. Black Hawk Down Chapter 10 At the base. and the mob hoisted him up. Blackburn looked awful. kicked. Unlike the commanders at the Joint Operations Center nearby. bravery and hesitation November 25.html he was being kicked and hit. His eyes were closed. He was no longer at the center of the crowd. He felt the broken end of his femur pierce the skin in the back of his right leg and poke through. grabbed his penis and testicles and yanked at them. They heard the radio describe Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk going down. They could tell the mission had gone to hell. and he wasn't moving. http://www. and it filled his mouth. who fell from a helicopter at the start of the mission.

As much as it made Sizemore want to join the fight.'' He had the word Ranger tattooed twice on his bulging left deltoid. But the Rangers were all shaken. Jeff Struecker. I do not want to go out there. There was no hesitation whatsoever. you need to clean your vehicle up. as if talk were a net to prevent their free fall.'' Thomas was crying. It's going to mess them up. He looked at Anderson and choked out. What are we doing in this place? Then Anderson got a good look at Spec. He was ashamed. while minor. as if they needed to stay in touch. "Pilla's dead. His stomach was churning. He looked at the Commados and SEALs who had climbed off the little convoy. pointing to the blood-splattered humvee. Earlier that day. As Thomas emerged from the humvee now. hearing the distant gunfire and the radio traffic. Anderson and Sizemore were both Rangers from Illinois.processtext. Do I have to go out there? Seeing Pilla dead and Blackburn busted up brought things into immediate and dire focus. it made Anderson want to be someplace else. Staff Sgt. a husky blond kid from Illinois. He dared not show it.html No one was more fired up than Spec. Thomas rode the whole way back bathed in his dead friend's blood. Spec. with a bad case of asthma. His men were freaking out. Thomas lost it. and were friends. .com/abclit. and Anderson felt himself start to cry and he realized. His vehicles were all shot up. your guys are going to get more messed up. "If you don't. to a man. "Look. http://www. his eyes were red. had cracked his Hoo-ah spirit. The Rangers called him "Adonis. How could they go back out into that? They'd barely escaped with their lives. Pilla had dropped dead in Thomas' lap inside the humvee. Now word came that the remnants of Pilla's convoy were to be joined by fresh Rangers and vehicles from the base. The whole damn city was trying to kill them! The commander of Pilla's tiny convoy. Sizemore had felt miserable when his buddies had suited up for the mission. It seemed to him that everybody was using the radio twice as much as usual.'' Struecker strode over to his Rangers. One of the Commadno guys pulled him aside. "I can't! They're shooting from everywhere!'' Even those Rangers who remained composed felt the same way.'' he said. Anderson was dismayed by the confusion of shouting and shooting. felt his own heart sink. Not everyone was as eager as Sizemore. had a sick feeling. Steve Anderson. He couldn't go because he had a cast on his arm. Dale Sizemore. and he was in a cold sweat. He had banged up his elbow a few days earlier wrestling with a Commando colonel who had flung him down. but they were quite different.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. These guys were like machines. They were going to fight their way to the Durant site and rescue the crew. They're going to get sick. "I can't go back out there!'' he shouted. They were already rearmed and ready to charge back out. sergeant. but that's how he felt. He had shrapnel in his legs from a night mission a few weeks earlier. Until then he had been as gung ho as the rest of the guys. Brad Thomas. Anderson was slender and quiet. but his wounds.

"Sgt. Sizemore saw all this. He was wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt. found a pair of scissors. "Will you help me clean up? You don't have to.'' said his team leader. which meant that at least some of his men regarded him with a slightly jaundiced eye.'' Thomas said. He found a flak vest that was three sizes too big for him and a helmet that lolled around on his head like a salad bowl. Sizemore didn't argue. "You can't go out there with that cast on your elbow. but it wasn't out of passion or solidarity or patriotism.'' he said. and cut straight up the inside seam and flung the cast away. of all of them. "OK. He had donned his own vest and helmet. obedient. He ran into the hangar.'' he told Cash. There was no doubt that.processtext. He had decided he would go out into Mogadishu and risk his life. "I'm going out. As the other men were about to board the humvees.html "Listen. "You can't. He showed none of this. He grabbed his SAW. above all. Anderson saw Sizemore's response and admired him enormously for it. Go get yourselves some more ammunition. but he was mortified. All the men watched for his response.'' Cash said.'' Struecker asked his 50-gunner. Everybody else go resupply.com/abclit. Together they set off for buckets of water. "I'm going out there with you guys. The rest of his gear had been packed away for his medevac flight home the next day. and it made him wild with anger. his squad automatic weapon. . Struecker was a model Ranger: strong.'' The gunner nodded glumly. Thomas pulled Struecker aside. and felt all the more ashamed. you're hurt. Struecker fit the unit's mold better than anyone else. He didn't know whether to feel more ashamed of his fear or of his sheeplike acceptance of the orders. The sergeant knew this was coming. pulled on pants and a shirt. It was because he didn't dare refuse. Then he came back and climbed onto a humvee. With Struecker challenged like this. I can't go back out there. He raced back out to the convoy with his boots unlaced and his shirt unbuttoned. men. Raleigh Cash. they expected him to explode. "Then I'll lose it. He was like the prize pupil in class.'' Sizemore ran back into the hangar. I'll do it myself if I have to. unassuming. You don't have to do this if you don't want to. and stuffed ammo into his pockets and pouches. http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Cash just looked at him and shook his head. The officers loved him. Sgt. But we have to clean this thing up right now because we're fixing to roll right back out. and taken a seat in the back of a humvee. and began grabbing stray gear. Struecker.'' he said. by the book. tough and.

With all the gunfire and chaos around them. . .Thomas had made a decision.'' However steep a price a man would pay for backing down like that . But we've got to go. Anything seemed possible.html Instead.50-cal. and one of the rounds turned a chicken into a puff of feathers. women. He'd just been married a few months before. The difference between being a coward and a man is not whether you're scared. Struecker noticed to his relief that Thomas had climbed on board with the rest of the men. Othic's humvee was the last vehicle in the column. . I'm scared. "I understand how you feel. As they were about to pull out.50-cal. It's our job. I know you're scared. "Listen. it was impossible for the Rangers in the vehicles to tell what was going on.'' Thomas didn't seem to like the answer. The convoy's original mission had been to load up 24 Somalian prisoners seized in the raid and haul them back to the airport base. but Thomas was calm.and for a Ranger it would be a steep price indeed . cows. He'd taken all he could take. He had opened up from the turret of his humvee with the powerful . 1997 Clay Othic in the turret out by the range. along with commandos and Ranger teams around the target house. it's what you do while you're scared. The plan changed dramatically when Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk went down four blocks east of the target house. children.brick walls. He repeated very deliberately. . He'd made a calculated decision. Black Hawk Down Chapter 11 Besieged. and he'd mowed down a crowd of men and women who had opened fire on the convoy. He tried to calm him.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. I've never been in a situation like this. men. he pulled Thomas aside and spoke to him quietly. a perfectly rational one. http://www. He had already torn a man apart with the .processtext. I'm married. He was not going to go out there and die. and chickens flying. But they all understood that this quick mission into Mogadishu was developing into the gunfight of their lives. either. houses. Othic had seen people running. Everything was getting blown apart in this battle .com/abclit. men with AK-47s firing wildly. In the melee that began as soon as the nine-vehicle ground convoy turned the corner at the Olympic Hotel. "I can't do it. He walked away. Don't think of yourself as a coward.'' Struecker said. Othic felt besieged and disoriented. cars. disoriented as bullets fly November 26. too. PRIVATE CLAY OTHIC shot a chicken. man to man.

There weren't enough vehicles to carry all four Chalk teams and the Commando guys from the target house.there would be nearly 120 men to rescue the two downed crews and then fight their way out of the hornet's nest. the men in the vehicles were getting hammered. guiding them through the maze. It happened just after he had seen an RPG launched from a crowd of Somalis. If everything went well the 20-man convoy and ground units linking up at the Wolcott crash site with all the Rangers and Commando teams already there . instructed the convoy to load up the prisoners. Col.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.html Most of the men fighting in the vehicles didn't know it. firing it on automatic. Wilson held his weapon on the prisoners and propped up his mangled legs. But instead of returning to base. Mike Durant's Blackhawk was shot down about a mile south of the convoy. Sgt. Othic had been one of the first men hit. a Commando colonel in the command helicopter. Lorenzo Ruiz stepped up to take the gun. Some of the soldiers were able now to jump on the remaining vehicles. First Class Bob Gallagher had been shot in the arm. which had its slope-backed hatch . Bill Powell had been shot in the meaty part of his calf. Now they were told to continue as planned to the Wolcott crash site.processtext. The helicopters were the troops' eyes in the sky. but they had just been given new orders. who had been standing alongside. To an extent the commanders didn't realize from watching on their screens above.000 feet higher than the helicopters. The trucks had big. Harrell in the command bird at 3. Sgt. Before they could carry out their revised orders. Gary Harrell. and U. In a few blinding moments of pain he just went "cyclic'' on the big gun. But the convoy itself needed help. as planned. They were directed by officers watching from above on video screens. Othic had just turned to fire on the crowd when he heard a loud crack. http://www. Othic stretched out on his belly in back of the second-to-last humvee. they were to wend their way through Mogadishu's narrow streets and rescue Wolcott and his crew.S. All this while guarding two dozen prisoners and taking fire that was getting more intense by the minute. but the others had to move out on foot.com/abclit. Lost and wandering in Mogadishu's confusing alleyways. In the back of one truck. they badly needed guidance. Othic wasn't the only casualty. Dave Wilson. But after that they were to load up the soldiers who had rushed to Wolcott's aid.000 feet. and then fight their way to the Durant site a mile away. fluorescent-orange panels on top to help the surveillance birds keep an eye on them. It felt as if a baseball bat had whacked his right arm. A round had splintered the forearm. He watched the grenade explode on one of the five-tons. The orders changed again. disabling it and mangling the legs of Staff Sgt. sweeping the street behind the convoy until Sgt. Navy pilots in a P-3 Orion spy plane about 1. Three vehicles had been dispatched earlier to return an injured Ranger to the main base.

'' for he was the smallest man in the unit. and he was shooting at whatever moved. a tiny guy. and found himself flat on his back. a woman in a flowing purple robe darted past on the driver's side of the truck. realizing what a terrific target he was and that he couldn't even return fire. He shot four more rounds into her before she fell. He hoped he hadn't hit the baby.50-cal steadily. His men were badly shot up. He thought he probably had hit the baby. was firing away steadily with his M-16. Wolcott's crash site was just blocks away. the column started moving. the sergeant had said. The driver had his pistol resting on his left arm. There they came upon Staff Sgt. Each time his M-16 magazine was used up. A few turns later they found themselves right back where they had been minutes earlier. Matt Eversmann. When a Ranger captain had ordered Eversmann to move his Chalk to Wolcott's crash site on foot. As he stood there taking a final mental count of his men. Spalding shot with his 9mm Berretta pistol while he replaced the rifle magazine with his free hand. He had a field dressing on his right arm.'' but to himself had said facetiously. Othic's buddy. And that spot was just a few blocks north of the target house. and he was using his left arm to shoot his M-16. Spalding shot her where she stood. They were moving fast.50-cal. He spotted his buddy Sgt. Eric Spalding. He had only about four or five still able to fight out of the original Chalk of about a dozen soldiers.. right in front. An avid hunter from Holt. He was amazed at the ferocity of the Somalian attacks. Mo. Why would a mother do something like that with a kid on her arm? What was she thinking? Black Hawk Down Chapter 12 . and moving. Right. "She's got a kid!'' At that moment the woman turned. in the second truck. He landed on top of somebody. He was a crack shot.com/abclit. Eversmann was relieved to see the convoy approach. As they crossed one alley. and he didn't get to see whether he had. The Rangers had nicknamed him "Little Hunter. piling them on top of other guys. ``Roger. whose Chalk Four had been pinned down since the mission began.processtext. where they had loaded up their prisoners as the mission began an hour earlier. so low in the turret of the lead humvee that he was actually peering out from underneath the . If they were together and rolling. "Don't shoot. http://www. It brought a smile to Eversmann's face despite his ordeal. Holding a baby on one arm. Eversmann had to make a running leap on the back of a humvee. looking up at the sky.'' Spalding shouted at him. The big gun's recoil gently rocked the wide vehicle. Up ahead. he was relieved to be back with the others.html open so he and the others crammed in there could shoot out the back. it meant the end was near. Ruiz was working the . Sgt. at windows. Next to Othic. There were people with guns in alleyways. which was comforting. Mike Pringle.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Eversmann loaded his bloodied men on the crowded vehicles. As helpless as he felt. They started off following the soldiers who were on foot. Spec. she raised a pistol with her free hand. She had been carrying the infant on her arm. but the helicopters steered them along a different route. Othic had grown up with guns. on rooftops.

First Class Matt Rierson. But the Orion pilots were handicapped. They seemed to believe that their mission had ended with the capture of the Somalis back at the target house. SEAL John Gay. left . Watching on screens. but few of them were. They were not allowed to communicate directly with the convoy. As far as Gay could see.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. All were capable of fighting. dodging the soldiers left and right on the labyrinthine streets. A group of about 15 gunmen was running along streets parallel to the convoy. This gave the gunmen time to get to the next street and set up to fire at each vehicle as it came through. There were about seven wounded Rangers in his humvee who seemed to be in varying degrees of paralysis. The pilots watched with frustration as the convoy drove past the place they had directed it to turn. But the convoy couldn't get anywhere because it was lost . help rescue the crew.lost and bloody November 27. There was another problem. Roads you thought were taking you one place would suddenly slant off in a different direction. was also getting frustrated. Lying helplessly on his back. It was already evident to Gay that they were not on their way home but were fighting for their lives. then get over to pilot Mike Durant's crash site about a mile south. leader of the Commando team that had taken the Somalis. ``Turn left.S. Standard procedure on a convoy was to tell each . his right hip still aching and bloody from where an AK-47 round had been stopped by his knife. There was another turn. The choppers and the spy plane. Then another. then. Staff Sgt. the convoy would have just barreled over to it. as close to Cliff Wolcott's crash site as they were. did not know where the convoy was going. getting the delayed message. commanders could see Somalis throwing up roadblocks and preparing ambushes in Mogadishu.'' that message went first to the JOC and then to the convoy. Sgt. It was like negotiating a maze. the commanders weren't hearing the pop of bullets and feeling the bone-rattling. running over and shooting through anything in its path. The video images were't conveying how desperate the situation was. He was riding blind. The men in the vehicles had been ordered to fight their way to Wolcott's crash site. the convoy was about to illustrate how too much information can hurt soldiers on a battlefield. At the rear of the convoy. flown by U. Matt Eversmann felt his vehicle steer left when he knew the crash site was back to his right. But with the surveillance helicopters and P-3 Orion spy plane overhead. From above. http://www. lung-sucking blast of grenades. The convoy's progress seemed orderly.processtext.html Left. tried to steer the convoy clear of Somalian gunfire. It was easy to get lost in Mogadishu. Their orders were to relay all communications to the Joint Operations Center (JOC) back at the beach.com/abclit. Navy aviators. 1997 IN ORDINARY circumstances. keeping up because the two five-ton trucks and six humvees were stopping and then darting across intersections one at a time. turned left down the wrong street. right. none had life-threatening or immobilizing injuries.and getting riddled. So when the Orion pilots said.

That seemed like hours ago. a tough little ex-boxer from El Paso. no one could climb into the turret from inside the humvee. First Class Bob Gallagher. They made another stop. Casey Joyce.50-cal just spinning around in the empty turret. They tore off his flak vest and shirt. The sun was low now. who had been shot in the left leg back by the target house. Inside. or stopping just beyond them. the Ranger who had fallen 70 feet off the fast rope at the start of the mission. like many of the men in the vehicles. who had taken over the . First Class Todd Blackburn. leaving the vehicle immediately behind exposed to a wicked crossfire. McKnight was in his lead vehicle with a radio plugged in his ear. Every time the ungainly five-tons turned around. who raced the humvee frantically up the column with the . At opposite sides of one alley stood Spec. then made a U-turn and drove straight back through the same maelstrom. He was shooting through his second magazine of M-16 ammo when Sgt. or guard the column. ``Get the . Who's calling the shots here? The driver of Gay's humvee. the convoy could continue. Spec. .com/abclit. He was bleeding heavily and seemed to be in shock. was hit in the right leg. Dave Ritchie got out and jumped up to the turret from the street. and found a hole in his lower right chest and a bigger exit wound in his back. He couldn't climb inside because Ruiz's limp form was in the way.50 cal up ASAP!'' Packed in the way they were. The convoy took several doglegs onto side streets and got no closer to Wolcott's crash site. ``Get the . to negotiate the narrow streets. Texas. the able-bodied would jump out to pull security. suddenly slumped down. the column stopped. Pfc. At one point. Lorenzo Ruiz. http://www. up and back. It was a nightmare. relying on his eyes in the sky to direct him. But convoy commander Danny McKnight. Howard Wasdin. after driving through a hail of gunfire. so turning west meant a blinding stab of dusk. had taken the armored plates out of his flak vest to reduce the weight he had to carry in the African heat. Every time they stopped. hadn't told anyone. ``He got shot! He got shot!'' shouted the driver. Ritchie swiveled and shot the big gun. Clay Othic's shattered right arm ached but wasn't bleeding. Ruiz. and then more people would get shot. with Ruiz now slumped on top of them. they would have to pull clumsily up and back. Those who were not wounded were smeared with the blood of those they had helped carry back to vehicles. The whole exercise seemed maddeningly foolhardy.50-cal. That way.processtext. so he hung on from the outside as they began moving again.html driver where he was headed. a lieutenant colonel more accustomed to commanding a battalion than a line of vehicles. The inexperienced Ranger drivers kept stopping at intersections. Aaron Hand and Sgt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.50-cal up!'' screamed Sgt. if the lead vehicle got hit. Veterans such as Gay and Rierson wondered. the Ranger who had earlier run alone through gunfire to get help for Pvt. the men pulled Ruiz out of the turret. Rangers piled out to provide cover.

Hand didn't hear him. Joyce was on one knee. From where Spalding stood. There was just a blaaaap! and a spurt of fire from the barrel. As Spalding debated with himself. doing things right. They loaded Joyce in back with the mounting number of wounded. on his way back down the column. Then a gun barrel poked out a window above Joyce and let off a quick burst. The SEAL fired several rounds up the alley and herded Hand back to the vehicles. a . It lodged in the front of the vest. The round had passed through his torso and had come out his abdomen. He was doing everything wrong. Sgt. which did have an armored plate. Hell no. He had been hit through the vest in the upper back where the Rangers' new flak vests had no protective plate. He had not sought cover.processtext. he was changing magazines with his back exposed. Joyce's skin was white. who had just leaped from his truck to provide cover. the commando stopped at every vehicle and spread the word. His eyes were open wide but empty. There wasn't even time for Spalding to shout a warning. grabbed him by the shirt and vest. http://www. And now McKnight. Gay ran out to help. Across the alley. weaving through the heavy fire. He'd found cover and was returning disciplined fire. Danny McKnight was overwhelmed. As he saw it. too. Spalding knew that he should go help cover his friend and pull him back. Spec. 1997 FED UP. it looked as if Hand was going to be shot for sure. Immediately.com/abclit. even if Joyce had been able to hear him. He looked dead. where they were exposed to concentrated fire. I'm not going to cross that alley. watched rounds shatter the wall just over Hand's head. He hesitated. MATT RIERSON left his humvee back in the column and sprinted up to the lead vehicle. was wounded.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Eric Spalding.html Joyce and Hand were in a furious firefight. Jim Telscher. . but that meant crossing the alley where bullets were flying. just the way he'd been trained. Sgt. sprinted out to Joyce. Then. ``We're going to move!'' he screamed to Hand. They had to get out of there. He screamed at each driver to stay out of the intersections. The colonel leading the convoy appeared completely lost. and dragged him back to the vehicles. and the sergeant went straight down in the dirt on his face. He was bleeding from the arm and the neck.50-cal on one of the humvees blasted gaping holes in the wall around the window where the gun had appeared. Rierson finally learned from McKnight where they were trying to go. Black Hawk Down Chapter 13 No cover from the flying grenades November 28.

this is Uniform 64. . of course. Have good visual on you now . as he carried him. Down toward National. He dragged himself out of the vehicle. but three other bullets struck the inner thighs of both legs. Romeo 64. As they turned another corner. but McKnight wasn't giving up. Spec. Matt Eversmann's Chalk Four. out of the question. Eric Spalding jumped out of his truck to help carry Burns to a vehicle and. . John Burns took two bullets. Uniform 64.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but had no idea that was where they were supposed to go. He wanted to know where the hell he was. Once we get everybody out of there we'll go to the second crash site and try to do an exfill [move out]. He began trying to call in helicopter gunships. Understand. When McKnight did hear from Command again. This was.processtext. and medics began patching him up. Staff Sgt. they encountered a roadblock. From my location I have to go east farther about three blocks and then head north.html Some of the men in the column had caught glimpses of Cliff Wolcott's helicopter crash site in their meandering. Turn east. From the crash site. he . and Pfc. where am I now? How far over? Stand by. the Americans were hit with a terrific volley of fire from the Somalis. Quite a few wounded. They helped him back into the humvee. are you still on that main hardball [paved road]? I'm on the exfill road. There was no answer at first. Understand. Over. Command replied: Roger. while other members of his Delta team organized men to collect the wounded every time the column stopped. We took a lot of rounds as we were clearing out of the area. So the increasingly deadly search resumed. Uniform 64 was the column's code name. we just need a direction and distance from where I'm at. . including me. you got everybody out of the crash site? Over. Adalberto Rodriguez was hit by a volley. He ignored the request. The radio net was filled with calls related to the crash of Mike Durant's helicopter. Want you to try to go to the first crash site and consolidate on that. Go about three blocks east and two blocks north. His body armor stopped a round that hit his chest. he was asked to report the number of Rangers he had picked up from Staff Sgt. Danny. McKnight answered: We have no positive contact with them yet. which clearly misunderstood their situation. Over the radio came a hopeful inquiry from Command. Can you give me some . Roger. Rierson tried to impose some order on the column. They're popping smoke. Piling out of the vehicles to provide security.com/abclit. . http://www.

Pfc. but the noise of gunfire was so loud he couldn't hear.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Telscher and Martin out of the back end of the moving vehicle. then stooped to pat out the flames on his feet. The blast blew Rodriguez. a skinny. The explosion blew off the back side of Rodriguez's left thigh and practically tore Martin in half. But it wasn't bleeding much. and he heard people screaming for him to kick it out! Kick it out! He booted the drum. Clay Othic had jumped out and run down to another truck. The grenade had poked a football-sized hole right through the skin of the humvee. and exploded inside. Ed Kallman sat behind the wheel. he saw a line of trees on the sidewalk begin to explode. Jim Telscher. Carlson felt himself for wet spots. severed a tendon. A grenade had gone through the steel skin of the vehicle. shooting out the open hatch in the rear. His boots were on fire. thinking Somalian gunmen were hiding in them. The goggles he had pinned to the top of his helmet were blown off. one after the other. the wounded Rodriguez. right in front of the gas cap.html felt the sergeant get hit by another round. Tory Carlson was wedged in between the two rear seats of the second humvee in the column. Pfc. it suddenly seemed to be raining RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades).50-cal ammo had been hit. He felt no pain. Sgt. It ripped the hand guards off Sgt. "What?'' The sergeant put his florid face right up to Spalding's nose and enunciated every word. As the convoy moved out again. Spalding was about to climb back into his seat on his truck when he was grabbed by an enraged Rierson and yanked back out to the street. To make room on the back of his humvee for the wounded Burns. Ahead. as if someone had put charges in each and was detonating them one at a time. His left arm was bloody where shrapnel had pierced it in several places. just some numbness in his hand. Carlson heard a grenade explode behind his humvee. where Spec. and Rierson's humvee was stuck in the middle of an intersection again. and moments later came a blinding flash and an ear-shattering Boom! The inside of his vehicle was clogged with black smoke. and Spalding could see veins bulging in his neck. exposed to enemy fire. He told himself to wait until the smoke cleared to check it out. Stuffed in behind him.com/abclit. but with his broken arm Othic couldn't grab hold of anything. First Class Bob Gallagher held down a hand to help him climb aboard in back. and he could still shoot. increasingly amazed and alarmed by what was happening around him. Two humvees farther back. Somebody with a big gun was systematically taking out the trees. http://www. Tim "Grizz" Martin. The sergeant was shouting so hard his face was beet red. A drum of . "PULL YOUR F-ING TRUCK FORWARD!'' Their sudden stop had left the vehicles behind backed up. quiet kid from Texas whom they all called "Alphabet'' because they didn't want to pronounce his name. Pvt. Jeff McLaughlin's M-16 and pierced his left forearm with a chunk of shrapnel. and broken a bone in his hand. The shrapnel had fractured a bone in his forearm. were Sgt. Richard Kowalewski. blown on through the . Pfc. and Commando Master Sgt. who was leaning against a row of sandbags to one side.processtext. After several failed attempts he ran around to the cab. Aaron Hand stepped out to let Othic squeeze between himself and the driver.

Rodriguez and Martin now lay writhing on the road behind the smoking humvee. bleeding. Kallman awoke lying on his right side on the front seat with his ears ringing. and he raced to catch up. He was a soldier for the most powerful nation on earth. passed through Martin's lower body.com/abclit. stunned and momentarily disoriented by another grenade blast. 2 John Maddox. If they were having this much trouble. So far. . And all this dangerous driving wasn't even taking them back to the base. Its driver. 1997 PVT. only to see one of the five-ton trucks bearing straight for him. Up ahead he saw the convoy making a left turn. But he watched with horror as the convoy disintegrated before him.processtext. It all happened in a second. Black Hawk Down Chapter 14 Hammered. His legs were a mass of blood and gore. neither he nor anyone in his vehicle had been hit. both of whom were gravely wounded. They were supposed to be rescuing the two Blackhawk pilots who had been shot down. Kallman was young and new to the unit. Those who were not injured were smeared with the blood of others. now felt a cold sweat of panic behind the wheel of his humvee toward the rear of the lost convoy. ED KALLMAN. Rierson helped carry some of the injured and found places for them in the back end of humvees. battling on these narrow dirt streets. and the vehicle took off. too. Pvt. There wasn't enough time to say or do anything about it. dazed. bleeding. men who knew how to fight and would keep him safe. dying! This isn't supposed to be happening! Men he knew and admired were dead or bellowing in pain on the street with gunshot wounds that exposed great crimson flaps of glistening muscle. These were men he looked up to and felt good about going into battle with. who had felt such a surge of excitement an hour earlier when encountering battle for the first time. rolled the truck right over Rodriguez. Rodriguez had tumbled about 10 yards before coming to rest. along with their crews. He began struggling to his feet. They were wandering in the smoke. curled in fetal position.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Telscher. In the rear of one he found an uninjured Ranger sergeant hiding. and penetrated the ammo drum. It did. and still no sign of help November 29. He knew it was a rocket-propelled grenade and he knew it was going to hit him.html sandbags inside. shouldn't somebody have stepped in? Where was a stronger show of force? It didn't seem right that they could be reduced to this. he looked out the open window to his left and saw a smoke trail coming straight at him. http://www. Medics did what they could for Rodriguez and Martin. Soldiers scrambled again from the vehicles to pick up their wounded comrades. He opened his eyes and was looking directly at the radio mounted under the dash. If these experienced soldiers were getting hit. Cliff Wolcott and Mike Durant. sooner or later he was going to take a hit. Now they were going to be out in this horror all night! As Kallman slowed down to let the humvee in front of him clear an intersection. fast. He sat up and floored the accelerator. their clothing torn off.

processtext. It was complicated by the fact that a second convoy had been dispatched from the airport base to attempt a rescue at Mike Durant's downed Super 64. the point of the grenade hit first steel and then the reinforced glass. the convoy commander. this is Romeo 64. this is Romeo 64. right turn! Right turn! And then: You need to go about four blocks south.com/abclit. I think you've gone too far west trying to look at the second crash. http://www. and those vehicles were under fire. Over. stop! Right turn! Right turn! You're taking fire! Hurry up! . Keep coming south. Next right! Alleyway! Alleyway! They just missed their turn. Next right. struggled to make sense of the directions rattling over the radio.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. BY NOW THE EFFORTS to direct the convoy had turned to black comedy. Take the next available right. Then: Uniform 64. stop! Goddamn it. and in overlapping confusion: Uniform 64. the instruction from Command refers to the second crash site. Be advised they are coming under heavy fire. Goddamn it. Stop giving directions! . too.html The grenade had hit Kallman's door. He and the others inside had been saved by a combination of the metal door and the bulletproof glass inside it. There is green smoke marking the site south. You seem to have gone about four blocks west and five blocks south. . Give me a right turn. Col. Danny McKnight. I think you're talking to the wrong convoy! But still the instructions came. At one point a voice came over the busy command frequency begging for order. Here. . Lt. while McKnight's convoy was actually searching for the first: Danny. Uniform. Because the window was rolled down. Convoy. turn east.

McKnight was ready to pack it in. Every time another man was hurt. Under the din of gunfire he heard the sound of muttered prayers. Are pinned down. They were stacked tightly into the space. McKnight and some of the ranking noncoms huddled in the street to assess their situation . and where they should go now. and Commando medic Don Hutchingson would go to work. Ahmen Warsame was among the handcuffed prisoners in a five-ton truck.html It was the experienced commandos on the convoy who held things together. after about 45 minutes of meandering. Finally.the 24 Somalian prisoners. Command was insistent: Danny. the boys would brave fire on the streets to recover him. They were going to give up on reaching either crash site. We've got a lot of vehicles that will be almost impossible to move. until the Somalian man praying was shot dead. Things had deteriorated so badly that officers in the command helicopter were considering just releasing what they called ``all the precious cargo'' . laid out on their sides. Sgt. Got to get these casualties out of here ASAP. They started back to base. but they weren't home yet Black Hawk Down . vehicles that are halfway running. Quite a few casualties. They had made a courageous effort. Getting to the crash site will be awful tough. I really need to get you back to that crash site.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. They set off a purple smoke grenade to mark their position. I know you turned left on Armed Forces [Blvd. out on Hawlwadig Road. the convoy stopped. When the shooting let up for a few moments. This is Uniform 64. http://www.how they had gotten lost. Told to be silent. relaying the convoy's status and calling in air support. There was no telling who had fired the shot. First Class Matt Rierson kept radio lines up with the Little Birds. McKnight got on the radio. they were right back where they started. what's your status? But McKnight and his men had had enough. There were far more dead and wounded in the convoy than there were at the two crash sites.]. but casualties were piling up. The colonel answered: I have numerous casualties.com/abclit. the frightened prisoners began talking among themselves until a Ranger clubbed one of the Somalis in the head.processtext. You've got me back in front of the Olympic Hotel.

One of the 24 Somalian prisoners had been shot dead and another was wounded. who had been shot in both legs. Howard Wasdin. He had taken a round to the back of his head and was dead. http://www. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! From his seat in the second five-ton.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. 'Vaco!'' It was just after that when Cavaco. a bullet came through the side window of the humvee and took off the back of Leonard's left leg just below the knee. As Leonard fired.com/abclit. firing to his left down an alleyway. and still shooting. A Ranger tied a tourniquet around his leg. had them draped up over the dash and stretched out on the hood. stepped up behind Cavaco's Mark 19. They were shooting at everything now. . Paul Leonard. Now they were fighting just to stay alive as the convoy wandered into one ambush after another. Chunks of viscera clung to floors and inner walls. They tossed his body up and it landed on the legs of an injured Ranger in back. but it was also leaving a terrible swath of dead and wounded Somalis in its wake. The second humvee in line was dragging an axle and was being pushed by the five-ton truck behind it. Up in a humvee turret and behind a Mark 19. Another humvee had three flat tires and two dozen bullet holes.html Chapter 15 Ambush after ambush: Fighting just to stay alive November 30. so all the men in the humvee were splattered with tissue and blood. SEAL Sgt. Spec. but Cavaco was dropping grenades neatly into the second-story windows one after another.processtext. He was even more of an expert shot. He was standing in the turret. 1997 SOME OF THE VEHICLES were almost out of ammunition. The big 40mm rounds were designed to penetrate two inches of steel before exploding. one of the Commando soldiers. a machine gun grenade launcher. They had expended thousands of rounds.to rescue downed pilot Cliff Wolcott and then try to reach pilot Mike Durant's crash site. The back ends of the remaining trucks and humvees in the lost convoy were slick with blood. Yet another humvee had a grenade hole in the side and four flat tires. the rounds screamed right through the bodies of Somalian gunmen and exploded farther down the street. James Cavaco was pumping one big round after another into the windows of a building from which they were taking fire. They had abandoned their new mission . But not long after he took over the gun. who let out a shriek. Eric Spalding shouted out to his friend: "Yeah! Get 'em. The convoy was taking a beating. Sgt. But Leonard was still standing. trying to find its way back to base. It was hard to shoot the Mark 19 accurately. slumped forward. Spec. Spalding helped load him on the back of the truck. The muscles of his leg hung open in oozing flaps.

this one into Spalding's left leg. This is it for me. He had passed through some sort of barrier. he felt it all abruptly. with both legs shot. couldn't move over to grab the wheel. His heart banged in his chest and he found it hard to breathe and he thought he might die right then of fright. Pfc. Tory Carlson was shooting out the back. so there was nothing to do but shout directions to Maddox. Carlson was watching with horror and satisfaction when he felt a sudden blow and sharp pain in his right knee. in that moment of maximum terror. even to himself.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. He felt a jolt this time but no pain. Blood splashed everywhere. http://www. The truck was rolling out of control. Actually. It felt as if someone had taken a knife and held it to his knee and then driven it in with a sledgehammer. when he saw three Somalian men cross the big gun's range. inexplicably fall away. and blood spurted out between his fingers. Then the men came apart. a bullet had pierced the steel of the door and the window. "I can't see! I can't see!'' Spalding turned to see Maddox's helmet askew and his glasses knocked sideways on his head. He let out a squeal. coppery smell. and Spalding. "Put your glasses on. He had to keep fighting. when he was startled by a sudden flash of light down by his legs. who still had his hands on the wheel. which was rolled down. "Yes!'' And then another laser poked through. were all that mattered. Carlson glanced down and saw blood rapidly staining his pants. 2 John Maddox.'' But Maddox had been hit in the back of the head. Still Spalding felt no pain. but hit with such force that it had rendered him temporarily blind. And then. He figured. They couldn't stop right in the field of fire.com/abclit. He didn't want to look at it. He would think about this a lot later. He said a prayer and kept shooting. Their bodies went flying. He had stopped caring about himself. you dumb ass.html In another humvee. and had poked itself and fragments of glass and steel straight up his leg from just above his knee to his hip. Pvt. and now it was somehow worse. Then Maddox began shouting. his buddies. He reached down to grab his right thigh. and as the rounds kept coming the bodies skipped and bounced along the ground until they were thrown against a wall. his . because the other guys. one by one. Spalding was sitting next to the passenger door in his truck with his rifle out the window. oily and sticky with its dank. which saved his life. "Turn left! Turn left! Now! Now!'' "Speed up'' "Slow down!'' . The round must have hit his helmet. It looked as if a laser beam had shot through the door and up into his right leg. His head was filled with the sounds of shooting and explosions and the visions of his friends going down. you hit?'' shouted the truck's driver. turned in the seat so he could line up his shots. He had been wildly scared for longer now than he had ever been in his life.50-cal machine gun rocking the vehicle. and his best explanation was that he no longer mattered. "What's wrong.

was wedged between driver and passenger in the truck behind them when Pfc. He absorbed the blow and kept on steering. "Alphabet. They were both laughing as Maddox stopped the truck. Instead the two-foot-long missile was embedded in Alphabet's chest. who was driving. Othic. Spalding resumed firing. but the driver's bloody clothes just lifted off his pierced torso. The rest of the bullet had peppered his lower leg. the one with the prisoners in back and with Foreman. As Foreman got the truck moving again. yelling that he had to get out. want me to drive?'' asked Othic.html The truck was weaving and banging into the sides of buildings. It had flattened on impact with his kneecap and just slid around under the skin to the side of the joint. who had been sitting between Alphabet and Spec. was knocked unconscious. The impact threw Spalding against the side door. but no exit wound. It ran over a Somalian man on crutches. "No.'' And they laughed. Maddox and Spalding in the cab. http://www. Sgt. Kowalewski was nicknamed ``Alphabet.processtext. The cab was black with smoke. ran up and opened the driver's side door to find the cab splattered with Spalding's blood. "Holy s-!'' he said. The bullet had fragmented on impact with the door and glass.com/abclit. Clay Othic. It might have been a flash bang grenade . Richard Kowalewski. It didn't explode. and only the metal jacket had penetrated his knee. I'm OK. The driverless truck crashed into the rear of the truck ahead. We just ran over somebody. One of the Delta men. Pfc. He was shooting at anything that moved. Mike Foreman. Hand got his side door open and swung himself out. but something had caused a blast. The grenade lodged in his chest was unexploded. Spalding's buddy. and his truck rolled off and veered into a wall. the point sticking out the right side. Maddox slid over next to Spalding.a harmless grenade that gives off smoke and makes noise mounted on Alphabet's armor. . It severed Alphabet's left arm and ripped into his torso. He was killed instantly. They felt no pity and were beyond fear. who was examining his wounds. Othic reached over to grab Alphabet and pull him out. which was bleeding. Spalding propped both legs up on the dash and pressed a field dressing on one.'' Othic was struggling in the confined space to apply a pressure dressing to Alphabet's bleeding shoulder when a grenade rocketed in from the left. was hit in the shoulder. "What was that?'' asked Maddox. He lay his rifle on the rim of the side window and changed the magazine. "It's on fire!'' Hand shouted. "Don't worry about it.'' for his long surname. Aaron Hand when the grenade hit. and Othic could see a fuse glowing from what looked like the inside of Alphabet's body. There was a perfectly round hole in his left knee.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He snapped back awake when Hand shook him. the fins protruding from his left side under his missing arm.

"Hey.'' A humvee driven by SEAL Homer Nearpass was now in the lead. Spalding began to lose feeling in his fingertips. They found a four-lane road with a median up the center that would lead them back down to the K-4 traffic circle. "I'm not doing too good. Then he passed them back to those still shooting. a major traffic roundabout in southern Mogadishu. was curled up on one of the back passenger seats of his humvee. and had set it all on fire. training his weapon out the window. He saw a little Somalian boy cradling an AK-47. "You'll be all right.processtext. Foreman. Matt Eversmann. He felt these people must have no regard for even their own lives. He didn't know what else to do.com/abclit. Nearpass shouted to the driver to just ram through it. had his bloody legs splayed out on the hood (he'd been shot once more. He saw the boy's legs fly up. All that remained intact was the hand. At every intersection he saw Somalis who would open fire on any vehicle that came across. let's get the hell back. http://www. the leader of a Ranger unit that had been rescued by the convoy. Because they had men on both sides of the street. Somebody shot the boy. They came upon a big roadblock. Hand found the lower portion of Alphabet's arm on the street. His forearm had been shattered by a bullet earlier. yet they were virtually unscathed by the grenade. running on three rims. He picked it up and put it in his side pants pocket. He felt himself going into shock. He saw flashes from the muzzle of the gun.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. collecting rounds that guys had ejected from their weapons when they'd jammed. . Eversmann thought. in the left foot). shooting it wildly from the hip. the wounded SEAL sergeant.'' "You're doing cool. Spalding saw him gun down three Somalian men without even slowing down.'' Spalding said. nearly landing on their side. Spalding felt his fingers curling and his hands stiffening. and then he was flat on his back. Spalding felt as if everything around him had slowed down to half speed. As they set off again. Hand couldn't hear out of his left ear. They moved numbly and even a little giddily. It was shot up and smoking. What tactics. the Commando sergeant. The Somalis had stretched two huge underground gasoline tanks across the roadway along with other debris. In the truck. Hang in there. and it didn't feel right leaving it behind. and then home. Alphabet was dead and their helmets had been knocked off. Hand's rifle had been shattered. Afraid to stop the humvee for fear it would not start up again. as if he had slipped on marbles. Wasdin. They crashed over and through the flaming debris. but that was it. Staff Sgt. man.html Othic stumbled out to the street and realized that his and Hand's helmets had been blown off.'' Foreman said. One dead and eight wounded Rangers were in the back. For the first time in the ordeal he began to panic. he began groping on the floor with his good left hand. They just did not care. The rest of the column followed. but the sturdy humvee righted itself and kept on going. OTHIC CLIMBED INTO another humvee. any rounds that missed the vehicles as they flashed past would certainly have hit the Somalis on the other side of the road. was a hell of a shot. He had his weapon in one hand and the steering wheel in the other.

He told his driver to throw the humvee in reverse. groping around on the floor of the humvee with his good hand. Struecker's turret gunner swung around to face five Somalis with weapons. This column . A zing.processtext. Cash heard the explosion of gunfire and the zing and pop of rounds passing close. Clearly these Somalis didn't know how to stage a proper ambush. Jeff Struecker drove his humvee out of the American beachfront compound. "Action left!'' Sgt. Raleigh Cash screamed from the passenger seat of Struecker's humvee at the head of the convoy. Black Hawk Down Chapter 16 Furious attacks on a second convoy December 1. The Durant crash site was less than two miles from the base. He had been taught that if you heard that crack. then open fire. meant the bullet had missed you by a far margin. Othic was on all fours now. made vulnerable targets. along with pilot Cliff Wolcott and his crashed Blackhawk crew. But even with undisciplined enemy gunfire. A rocket-propelled grenade scraped across the top of his humvee and exploded against a concrete wall. which sounded to him like the sound made when you hit a telephone pole guy wire with a stick.four humvees and three five-ton flatbed trucks .html In his vehicle. The shots were answered by a roaring fusillade from the men in the convoy. gunfire erupted all around. The brunt of the shooting was aimed at Struecker's lead vehicle. it meant the bullet had passed within three feet of your head.had been hastily assembled to rescue the crew of pilot Mike Durant's downed Blackhawk. The correct way was to let the lead vehicle pass and suck in the whole column.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The concussion lifted the wide-bodied vehicle up on two wheels. They were driving out into hell. http://www. A larger convoy already in Mogadishu also had been ordered to rescue Durant. They weren't more than 80 yards out the back gate. Everybody behind him was just going to have to figure .com/abclit. They were just about out of ammo. absorbing terrible casualties. looking for unspent shells. 1997 AS SOON AS Staff Sgt. But the original convoy had finally given up and started back to base after wandering through the city under heavy fire. As they approached K-4 circle. The unarmored flatbed trucks in the middle. they all braced themselves for another vicious ambush. loaded with cooks and clerks and other volunteers. but Struecker realized already that he would have to fight street by street to get there. going forward would invite slaughter.

and he ran his hand inside his shirt. He knew he'd been shot. http://www3. But the convoy couldn't advance.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. You'll have to find us another route.com/packages/somalia/graphics/2nov16. Cash took a whack to his chest that almost knocked him over. you need to find one.html it out. junk. a big one. Eventually they all got the message. Struecker got on the radio to the officer directing him from a helicopter circling high above the city: You need to find a different route! The answer came back: Go back where you came from and turn right instead of left. It seemed to take forever for the five-tons to turn around on the narrow street. They rammed the humvee behind them. Struecker radioed to his guide high above. and this time he steered out the opposite way. The humvees could roll right over the roadblock but Struecker knew the five-ton trucks wouldn't make it. The Somalis had thrown up dirt. Figure out a way to get there. and then that driver rammed the truck behind him. They rammed into walls and ground gears. The only other route is to go all the way around the city and come in through the back side.com/packages/somalia/graphics/2nov16. There was none. Struecker said. looking for blood. Where he lay beside his helicopter.processtext. Fine. tearing the straps of his load-bearing harness so that it was now hanging by threads. We'll take it. Peter Squeglia. The trucks weren't delicate about turning around.asp http://www3. Spec. And even if they did. As they struggled to reverse direction again. sat with his M-16 pointed out the passenger side window of a truck.phillynews. There ain't another route. Well.phillynews.aspThe convoy knew Durant's Super 64 was somewhere directly ahead. Durant had heard the sound of the .50-cal on Struecker's humvee and figured the rescue column was coming in. the company armorer who had donned fighting gear and volunteered for the convoy. http://www.com/abclit. This was minutes before Durant's site was overrun and he was taken captive. The bullet had skimmed off the front of his chest plate. He drove straight into a roadblock. Struecker got the whole column back up to the gate. You can get there that way. providing security in all directions. chunks of concrete and wire. suddenly wondering what . most of the Rangers were out on the street. there wasn't going to be any way through the concrete wall. Beyond the roadblock was a concrete wall surrounding the vast ghetto of huts and walking paths into which Durant had crashed. On one knee in the street.

On the litter he looked diminished. limping.html he was doing there. Danny McKnight's lost convoy. setting up a perimeter of fire while casualties on the worst of the vehicles were moved to the intact ones. to prevent Somalis from looting it. still clutching his severed thumb in his bloody hand. down in a little valley. bleeding remnants of Lt. inside a squalid rag hut village. alive. Casey Joyce being lifted out of one of the vehicles. It was a remarkable sight. It was less than a quarter of a mile away. had a breathing tube in his chest. and less than a mile from Durant. driving through an occasional hail of AK-47 fire. So while the Command helicopter continued to reassure Delta soldiers who were holding off the mob around Durant's downed Blackhawk that help was just minutes away. The fresh convoy surrounded the battered vehicles." Tim Martin. Squeglia pointed his rifle across the cab. But as they limped through the flaming barricades on Via Lenin. A bullet clipped off the side mirror on the driver's side. and squeezed off several rounds. There was no way to get closer. broken mess. right in front of the driver. When they were at last turned around. Sgt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Joyce looked as if he was screaming. Then Sgt. Nearpass counted the bullet holes and Gay rooted around inside to find the handle of the broken knife that had saved his life by deflecting a bullet. THE MEN IN THE LOST convoy had braced themselves for another vicious fight at K-4. They had shared a particular hatred for the daily morning run that seemed so easy for thinner Rangers. he had been bar-hopping with his buddies in Rhode Island trying to pick up girls. http://www. but he was dead. Adalberto Rodriguez was a bloody. Lorenzo Ruiz. funny guy. They kept driving on their roundabout course until they came to the K-4 traffic circle. barely alive. Both of them were big guys. somehow. Pfc.com/abclit. and Struecker's men were shocked to see that the vehicles were loaded with dead and shot-up Rangers. emerged from the back of a truck looking pale and shocked. Col. They were less than a mile from the base. It really shook Squeglia. The lead humvee driven by SEAL Homer Nearpass. with Wasdin's bloody legs draped over the dash. At one rise they could actually see Durant's crash site. One look at the lost convoy made it clear that they weren't going to be able to break through Somalian roadblocks with just humvees and flatbed trucks. had been cut almost in half by a rocket-propelled grenade. The ones that followed looked almost as bad. The tough old master sergeant they called "Grizz. Squeglia saw his friend Sgt. The lead humvee was smoking and all of its tires were flat. Only a year earlier.processtext. but he was still. his mouth open. his eyes wide but empty. scared . bulkier than most of the Rangers. carrying John Gay and Howard Wasdin. to their enormous relief. they saw instead. He and Joyce had been pals. Before they torched the battered vehicle. The tough little ex-boxer. could go no further. Here they met up with the smoking. Jeff Struecker's line of fresh vehicles and troops approaching them. Now Casey was dead. The dead and wounded were lifted from it and loaded on another humvee. Scott Galentine. the convoy sped out a road that skirted the city to the southwest. one of the major traffic intersections in southern Mogadishu. the two convoys were already headed the opposite way. normally a cheerful.

Cash pointed to a Somalian gunner up a tree. A Somali fell out of the tree to the street. his best friends in the world.numb and angry and full of fight. Cash. It was as if they had flown off the end of a ramp. He shot them all down. And as the soldiers moved the last hundred yards to the gate. grinning. He thought he'd been shot. The blast underneath threw the humvee in the air. unharmed and still moving. Then Cash felt a jab in the leg. The bulletproof glass had stretched out under the round's impact to form what looked like a horizontal stalactite. four to five inches long. Squeglia couldn't believe what he was seeing. He just wanted to hit as many Somalis as he could.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Black Hawk Down Chapter 17 At first crash site. Rules of engagement were off. blasting everything they saw. They shot their way back to the base. all the shooting ceased. He didn't care anymore. and he mowed down the crowds. He had thrown himself backward in order to get a better shot at them when he felt the vehicle lurch. These Rangers were his buddies. and they applauded. some without. in the back of the humvee. wounded and horror-stricken soldiers. He marveled at it momentarily.50-cal gunner started blasting away. The dead and wounded were headed home. They crashed back to earth on all four wheels. chatting. He saw women running in crowds alongside men who had rifles. but they weren't out of danger yet. The Somalis in the street all turned to face them. just blocks from the gate to the airport. Sgt. There was a bright flash and a bang. At the same moment. and he was going to do anything he could to return them safely. As the vehicles approached.com/abclit. He could see the bullet lodged inside the point. It was as if they had entered a different city. They hammered every alley in both directions until. 7 and 8 years old. Both Sizemore and the humvee's . The men inside felt their stomachs drop. The tip of it had nudged Cash's leg. With no time to react to what had just happened. He didn't even care anymore if he got shot. which was rolled down. Spec. closer to him than family had ever been. Sizemore saw young boys. the crowds parted for the battered and bloody column with its crippled humvees and dead.processtext. http://www. He just felt numb . Crowds of Somalis were moving through open air markets. Dale Sizemore had spotted a row of Somalis. more bodies . He looked down and saw instead that a bullet had poked through the metal door of the humvee and had been caught by the window. as if nothing had happened.html and small. some with weapons. now in the third humvee. saw a Somali with an RPG launcher pop up from behind a brick wall. then broke it off with the butt of his rifle and resumed shooting. forming a second layer inside the door. strolling. their heads poking over a concrete wall.

But Jollota eased the Blackhawk back down to a hover for the few more seconds Wilkinson and Fales needed to clear the ropes. Shrapnel from the blast had poked holes in them. Only then was it safe to throw down the kit bags. trailing a thin gray plume of smoke.com/abclit. Wilkinson heard the explosion above. He had to wait until the men 30 feet below him reached the ground and got out of the way. The team hit the fast ropes perfectly and slid down. http://www.asp WILKINSON HEARD the snap of rounds passing nearby as soon as he hit the ground. a rocket-propelled grenade exploded on the left side of the airframe. It was hot. The bird came down with a quick roll right on the landing wheels. . Scott Fales. Be advised you are smoking.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. They walked away. Air Force Tech. http://www3.phillynews.com/packages/somalia/graphics/dec02. and . Jollota radioed to the command helicopter circling overhead. Jollota could hear his rotor blades whistling. but he was so intent on negotiating his descent that he never felt the rope pull forward and up. You have been hit . a Blackhawk carrying a rescue team moved over the crash site in south Mogadishu. He eased the Blackhawk back toward the main base three miles away. One of the crew chiefs screamed into the radio: We still have people on the ropes! Hanging on the rope below Wilkinson was Master Sgt. The aircraft started to slosh from side to side. By the time he reached the rope. Tim Wilkinson. . I think we have been hit. Sgt. As pilot Dan Jollota held his hover and Wilkinson slid down the rope. He didn't learn until much later how Jollota's composure had saved his and Fales' lives. The oversight delayed Wilkinson's slide down the rope. as if absorbing a roundhouse punch. But even professionals who practice the same moves a thousand times can overlook a detail in the heat of an actual mission. They hit with a jolt.asp http://www3. Despite the brown dust cloud below. It was just enough time to leave the big Blackhawk exposed to fire from crowds of Somalis converging on Wolcott's crash site. Jollota's crew could see both men reach the ground safely. Limping the last mile. He pulled up and away. . It was the last man out. Jollota plowed the heavy Blackhawk into the base landing strip. . Their specialty was saving downed pilots.com/packages/somalia/graphics/dec02. who noticed that their medical kits had been left behind.html December 2. Behind your engines . In the cockpit. the timing was off by several crucial seconds. Instinct and training dictated that he move away the instant he was hit. Coming out. Jollota instinctively began to pull up and away.phillynews. 1997 JUST EIGHT MINUTES after Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk went down. Inside were 15 men who had trained for months as a combat search-and-rescue unit. but the bird stayed upright and intact. The Blackhawk was knocked slightly sideways.

and took it with him. startled. a Ranger. cup-shaped space behind the main body of the helicopter created by its bent tail boom. He cut open his pants and saw that the bullet had passed through his calf muscle and out the front of his leg. Then he crawled back out into the alley. ``What's up?'' Wilkinson asked. At the front of the helicopter. ``I've been shot. Sgt. and in the distance there were many more. Alan Barton. a big.processtext. still lying in the middle of the street. He nearly bowled over Wilkinson. http://www. and have the men on . Fales. He ran out and snatched up both bags. Wilkinson's team leader.'' Fales said. Then came the pain. there was little pain. he rounded a corner and stumbled upon the wrecked Blackhawk. By the look of it. Wilkinson assumed Lt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He couldn't see inside Super 61 to determine if the eight men who had been aboard were still alive. it had usually taken 10 to 20 minutes for a Somalian crowd to gather around any action on the streets. Nothing was broken. He and his team would need to get the wounded and dead out of the helicopter. It felt like a hot poker stabbing through his calf muscle. He couldn't see Wolcott's downed Blackhawk or the rest of his rescue team. Fales. clicked a magazine into it. He figured his fear and adrenaline were acting as an anesthetic. grimacing. Danny McKnight's ground convoy would be pulling up at any minute. and applied a pressure dressing. In this narrow alley it looked tragic. Near him. The only thing he saw was the medical bags. broad-faced man who had fought in Panama and during the Persian Gulf war. finding cover in a small. shot two Somalis as they rounded the corner. In past missions. Fales figured it ought to hurt badly. He had thought they would have a few minutes to set up before coming under attack. packed some gauze into it. who was making his way forward. like a harpooned whale. beached on its left side. and after less than three minutes on the ground he'd been shot. was stretching up to peer inside and check for survivors when he felt a tug at his left pants leg. Wilkinson was surprised to see that the Rangers and D-boys from his rescue unit had already set up a tight perimeter around the crash site. treat the wounded. Barton picked up the Somali's rifle.'' Fales ducked into a deep hole that the crashing helicopter had left in the alley wall.html in the cloud of dust he couldn't see. But other than the stabbing sensation right after he'd been shot. A Commando medic came over to help. The size of it stunned him. He hopped back away. Fales' wound heightened Wilkinson's sense of urgency. a man with an M-16 and a woman with him. felt anger with the pain. He ran to the right side of the street and waited for the dust to settle. and Fales hobbled back toward the rear of the helicopter. Bullets whizzed and snapped up the adjacent alley. ``Rat bastards shot me. Col. He had trained years for a moment like this. Sgt.com/abclit. he had no way of knowing that the convoy was hopelessly lost and getting hammered. He folded the muscle tissue back into the wound. Scattered around were the bodies of several Somalis. He was accustomed to seeing the choppers in the air or on spacious tarmacs. But now they had to mount their rescue under immediate heavy fire. He tried to orient himself. with flaps of muscle tissue spilled out of the wound. Still running.

But the Blackhawk had plowed hard into the soil. The whole front end of the helicopter had folded in on him from the waist down. where various liquids were draining down. They were not leaving without him. There had been no fire. He looked as if he were wearing a fright mask. McMahon climbed down into the cockpit and checked on pilot Cliff ``Elvis'' Wolcott. They did not leave their dead on the battlefield. pulling out copilot Donovan ``Bull'' Briley. because his side had hit the ground. Wilkinson helped McMahon pull Briley up and out. They carried him over to the designated casualty collection point. angling up from just under his chin. There was a slight odor of fuel inside. Since McMahon was not a medic. Wilkinson moved quickly to the front of the helicopter. but there wasn't space. digging to see if there was a way to create an opening underneath the wreck so that Elvis' body could be extracted. Wilkinson felt the need to see for himself. He was still in his seat.com/abclit. A Commando soldier. McMahon's face was badly cut and swollen from the impact of the crash.'' he told Wilkinson.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He climbed out and got down on the dirt by the smashed left underside of the cockpit. which was now on the high side. He could not be lifted or pulled free. On impact something had sliced through his head.processtext. ``He's dead. http://www. James McMahon. They would not consider it. but the nose and instrument panel and crumpled front end of the aircraft had collapsed into his lap. It was purple and black. and then handed his body down to two sergeants. Wilkinson tried to slide his hand to grab the pilot's legs. and then he climbed up into the bird. But he hadn't even been inside the helicopter yet. Black Hawk Down Chapter 18 Rescue team comes under fierce fire . Briley was obviously dead. He was dead. He told McMahon to get some medical attention for his face. but that vantage looked no better. Now the rescue team had to figure out a way to cut Elvis out of there. was already on top of the bird. and Wolcott. which was now the bottom.html litters by the time the vehicles approached. and now his rescue team leader was wounded. the protected space where Fales had crawled. There would be no easy way to get the body out. He and Briley had taken the brunt of the impact. had gotten the worst of it. His body was relatively easy to reach because he was strapped in the right seat. Wilkinson was suspended upside down as he reached in and felt Wolcott's carotid artery for a pulse. It was eerily quiet inside. Sgt. and his head and upper torso were intact. Everything inside that hadn't been strapped down had been violently thrown around and had come to rest on the left side. He dipped his finger in the fluid and sniffed. Wilkinson then slid completely into the helicopter and crawled back behind the pilot's seat to see if Elvis could be pulled back and out that way. It wasn't fuel. and there was no smoke. who was aboard Wolcott's Super 61 when it crashed.

He reached in to help Dowdy pull free of the seat. TIM WILKINSON climbed back into the wrecked helicopter to see whether he could get more leverage to free the body of pilot Cliff Wolcott. Staff Sgt. He felt no pain and said nothing. He thought everyone was out of the wreck. Dowdy still hadn't spoken and was clearly dazed and disoriented.com/abclit. he peered through the open right side doors into the main cargo area. and a finger of the flight glove moved. 1997 Sgt. hopping away from the sharp burst of snapping and crashing noises. Dowdy saw the tips of two fingers shot off. a Commando medic standing alongside the wreck. In the heap Wilkinson noticed a scrap of desert battle dress uniform.html December 3. so now he was looking for any sensitive equipment. He gave up and climbed in through the upper doors just as Wilkinson freed Dowdy. Mabry and Wilkinson danced involuntarily. "There's somebody else in there. He was still in his seat. Ray Dowdy. When Wilkinson freed Dowdy's arm from under the pile. He called down into the wreck. he didn't want Somalis taking classified stuff once Wolcott's body was recovered and the Americans had pulled out. First Class Bob Mabry. He crawled out of the cockpit of Blackhawk Super 61. the crew chief was sufficiently alert to start helping to shove things away. Wilkinson was throwing things off and prying things back. Perhaps there was some way he hadn't seen at first to pull the pilot seat back and get more room and a better angle.'' he told Sgt. who was injured. It was the left side gunner. The last thing he remembered was noticing he didn't have his seat belt fastened before hitting the ground. which was now the bottom. Wilkinson climbed back into the wreckage and began pulling the debris and equipment off the man buried there. In this case. weapons or papers to be removed. http://www. but it was basically intact and in place. Mabry crawled down under the wreck and tried without success to make his way in through the bottom right-side doorway to reach Dowdy from below.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Part of the seat had been snapped off its hinges. just the tip of his index finger and about half the first digit of his middle finger. Wilkinson leaned in farther and saw an arm and a flight glove. As a member of a highly trained rescue team.processtext. he had been taught to quickly erase the memory banks of any electronic equipment that held important data. kneeling on top of it. They had accounted for the pilots . Wilkinson knew some of the guys from Super 61 had been rescued by a Little Bird that had landed and loaded up survivors. The three men were standing inside the wreck when a storm of bullets tore through the skin of the craft.both dead . But after a while he saw that it was hopeless.and one of the crew chiefs. and. Bits and pieces of debris were flying around . All the avionics equipment and every piece of gear that hadn't been strapped down had come to rest at the left side of the aircraft.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. that he was still alive. "Scott. It felt as if he'd been slapped or punched in the chin.com/abclit. Dowdy. had established a casualty collection point. Then another. Mabry and Wilkinson tunneled out of the aircraft. watches with surprise as bullet holes begin popping open a row of oil cans. digging wider a hole where the rear corner of the left side door was above ground. Fales was too busy shooting from his position out by the tail to take notice of the placement of the floor panels.the wounded boys who had been in the crash. unaware that villains are shooting at him. Wilkinson shouted Martin's line from the movie. They had no way of knowing that the convoy was lost and taking heavy casualties. let's get out of here!'' Mabry tore up the bullet-resistant floor panels and propped them up over the side of the craft where the bullets had burst through. To avoid the gunfire outside. Then it stopped. After patching up a few more men . There wasn't. He'd been hit in the face and arm.html them. with a blank look. They were still expecting the arrival of the ground convoy at any moment. http://www. Mabry set to work handing out the bullet-resistant panels from the interior. Wilkinson remembers noting. Mabry had been hit in the hand. Wilkinson put his hand over Dowdy's bleeding fingertip and said: "OK. He had a pressure dressing on his calf and an IV tube in his arm. to see again if there was some way of pulling Wolcott's body down and out. "Good idea. Scott Fales. where Martin's moronic character. Then he checked himself. and his fellow crew chief . "They hate the cans! Stay away from the cans!' Both men laughed. why don't you get behind the Kevlar [floor panels]?'' Wilkinson asked. Wilkinson was reminded of the Steve Martin movie The Jerk. The crew chief's eyes were open wide. which were being placed around the tail of the aircraft where a wounded sergeant. Then the two medics went back inside for a few more minutes. To Wilkinson it looked like a sudden snowstorm. but mostly straight up and down the alley. Everyone had been hit. Only now did he notice the barricade.Wilkinson crawled back up into the cockpit from underneath.processtext. Wilkinson looked at Dowdy.'' he said. . Wilkinson and Fales watched as the intense gunfire ripped first one hole through the tail boom. They slid Dowdy out that way. searching for more equipment to destroy. He was staring at his bloody hand. Fales looked startled. then another. Crouched down behind the panels. first. Fire was coming from all directions.

1997 http://www3. Then they ran while he covered them. in doorways and around corners.com/package s/somalia/soldiers/photo5. Gunmen popped up in windows. there wasn't much left for Yurek and his men to do. the Somalis opened up. with Somalis firing madly down the alleyways in every direction. As soon as the little group stepped out to move. First Lt. he wanted Yurek and the rest of Chalk Two to run the same gauntlet: three terrifying blocks.processtext. Yurek shot one man in a doorway just 10 feet away. Yurek ran while his men laid suppressive fire north and south. spraying bursts of automatic fire. He was a . Yurek was left with just half a dozen Rangers. THINGS WERE SO QUIET at the northeast corner of the target building that Staff Sgt. Ed Yurek got spooked. 3. DiTomasso's voice came over the radio: You need to find your way to me. for guidance. Rounds would ride walls for hundreds of feet.phillynews. Reluctantly. Half of his Chalk Two had run off to help rescue the downed crew of Cliff Wolcott's helicopter. In this way they leapfrogged across each street. Now. an hour into the mission. Yurek stayed away from the walls. Once the ground convoy had rolled away from the target house with the 24 Somalian prisoners.com/packages/somalia/soldiers/photo5. He decided to radio the Chalk leader. He was feeling abandoned and alone. The lieutenant and his men had fought their way to Wolcott's Blackhawk. http://www. One of the boys had warned him that walls act as funnels for bullets. At each intersection the Rangers stopped and covered one another. The man had stepped out and taken aim.asphttp://www3. they abandoned the relative safety of their position and began moving east down an alley about 10 yards wide.phillynews. while instinctual.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. was as dangerous as standing in the middle of the street. Huddling tight against a wall. 1993. Tom DiTomasso.asp A Somali street near the target on the morning of Oct.html Black Hawk Down Chapter 19 A desperate battle to hold the crash site December 4.com/abclit. He was afraid the entire assault force had taken off and left them. Ahead they heard the sounds of pitched battle.

Lt. This time his aim was better. For the rest of the day.com/abclit. http://www. the Volkswagen began rocking from the impact of heavy rounds. Yurek was accepting congratulations from the other Rangers when the thunk thunk thunk resumed against the car. in actual battle. From that position.html bushy-haired. Yurek sprinted to DiTomasso. Maybe Nelson had a better vantage point. Yurek could see the gun just lying there between the two dead gunners. He saw them up the street now. ``Where is it?'' Yurek shouted. Yurek had a LAW. The rocket had evidently landed just short. Sliding out into the street behind the bodies. ``What is it?'' he shouted. and taken it out. Yurek shouted across the street. and there was the crash site. dusty man with baggy brown pants. He took aim through flip-up crosshairs. close enough to send the weapon flying and kick up a cloud of dirt. He could actually see the fat 203 round spiral into the target. targets would pop out unexpectedly. The rocket launched with a powerful back blast. strapped to his back. When the smoke cleared. He unstrapped the weapon and climbed up and leaned forward on the Volkswagen. The Somali pitched forward without getting off a shot.processtext. He'd been carrying it around on every mission for weeks. ``It's a big gun!'' Nelson called back. It struck Yurek how similar killing a man was to shooting targets in training. He didn't shoot instantly. he was able to get a better view. He couldn't get it to open up. and that's what killed him. The fire grew so intense down the alley that Yurek was surprised that none of his men was hurt. Now. DiTomasso was crouched behind a green Volkswagen. It was bent and crushed. Yurek and DiTomasso looked at each other and rolled their eyes. In practice. they could control the whole street. No one else came out to get it. Yurek picked up another LAW that someone had discarded. Yurek watched it zoom in on the target and explode with a flash and a loud whoom! The big Somalian gun flipped into the air. kneeling behind the gun. had taken cover behind another car and a tree across the street. where two Somalis were stretched out on the ground behind a big gun mounted on a tripod. It was a disposable plastic launcher weighing only three pounds. The other half of their Chalk had set up a small perimeter. but not close enough to destroy the gun or kill the gunners. a light antitank weapon. which they had righted again on the tripod. but to hold fire if a green square appeared. He was grateful for all the tedious hours of training. identified it. The rounds were slicing through the car.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Nelson pointed up the street. Chalk Two's M-60 gunner. he had seen a target. The rules were to shoot at blue triangles. Somebody with a very powerful weapon had a bead on them. They turned a corner three blocks down. As he crouched to speak to the lieutenant. He stacked them into a little mound. Yurek's eyes met his for an instant as he pulled the trigger. He saw three dead Somalis in the dirt. The two Somalis toppled over sideways in opposite directions. and Yurek edged out to look around the car. So he loaded a fist-sized M203 round into the grenade-launching tube mounted under the barrel of his M-16. . Shawn Nelson. Now he could see all the way up the street.

and to prevent any from approaching the crash site. AT THE CRASH SITE. He was all alone. Phipps saw a man in a loose white shirt and sandals creeping up the alleyway. crouching next to the hole in the stone wall where Wolcott's Blackhawk had hit on its way down. to Phipps' relief. . he lifted his head to look over his shoulder just as a Somali ran into the roadway and picked up the AK-47 from the pile of dead and wounded where Phipps had been shooting earlier. A Commando medic shouted at Phipps from the hole in the wall across the alley. At 22.processtext. If Phipps could move. His nose and mouth stung with a bitter taste. Spec. Minutes later. The explosion was like a gut punch. move up and take cover across the alley. and his eyes had begun to swell shut. Rob Phipps was feeling edgy. There were explosions. They were coming from a clump of trees about 20 yards away. Steven Lycopolus. A Ranger lit up the trees with his SAW while Phipps and some of the other Rangers flung grenades. Lamb and several Rangers from Chalk Two also moved into position around the downed helicopter. His face was blackened and bruised. Phipps shot him and he fell to the road. Phipps was the youngest of the men who had roped down on the combat search-and-rescue team. 32. When the initial ball of fire was gone. Within minutes. First Class Al Lamb to ask for help. was an experienced member of the rescue team. He would feel a lot better. Then another man ran out to get the weapon. The man's head just came apart. the medic grabbed his face and pulled him the rest of the way in. but his left leg gave out. it wouldn't be necessary to brave fire retrieving him. another Somali ran out to retrieve the gun. he still felt terrible burning on both legs and on his back. Then one of the grenades they had thrown came flying back. if he had some of the veterans around him. http://www. and his left leg wasn't working right. When Phipps regained his senses.com/abclit. Phipps dived away from it. "Grenade!'' several voices screamed. He tried again and fell again. Lamb told the men to heave some grenades over the wall. It sucked all the air out of him. Phipps shot him. The man was taking aim at him when one of the D-boys back by the wall dropped him with a quick burst. he thought. The Ranger who threw it had forgotten to take the safety strap off. He had taken cover on the other side of the Blackhawk. in one of the holes where the Somalis dumped their household garbage. He got on his hand-held radio and called Sgt. then silence. Yurek kept a good eye on that gun. Their job was to pick off gunmen who were sending an almost steady flow of rounds up the alleyway. crouching with his AK-47 held forward.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Before Lamb could respond. too. Phipps shot him. and he could hear them puncturing the helicopter's thin metal hull. When he crawled close enough. He still felt a fierce burning along his back and legs. "Come on! Come on!'' the medic urged. and his ears rang from the blast. Rounds were chipping the walls around him. He felt as if he was on fire. Phipps noticed a Ranger sergeant. Lamb. Phipps tried to stand. He started to crawl.html until just past dusk.

Sgt. He had given orders for the Ranger Chalks to occupy the front and rear positions of an orderly movement of men to the crash site. man. Black Hawk Down Chapter 20 Uneasy partners under heavy fire December 5. Capt.'' He tore open Phipps' pants and applied a field dressing. The boys all advanced with such authority that some of the Rangers left their Chalk groupings and just stayed with them. Earl. It was the short stocky one. Sgt. The young Ranger joined the growing ranks of the wounded at Crash Site One. . Fillmore winked at him and said: ``It's all right. but others fell behind. Staying alive meant moving as if his hair were on fire. Mike Goodale was waiting for his turn to sprint across a street when one of the boys tapped him on the shoulder. The Commando teams were to stay in the middle.'' the medic reassured him. He believed Fillmore.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. kid. the formations broke down. the Ranger commander. a powerfully built veteran. and already unit integrity had collapsed. 1997 MINUTES AFTER orders came for the Rangers and Commando teams to make their way on foot to Cliff Wolcott's crash site. But a team of boys led by Sgt. knew the streets were a killing zone. Steele felt outflanked. ``You'll be all right.com/abclit. It was reassuring just to be around the more seasoned men. "You're all right. Mike Steele.'' It calmed Goodale. Some of the Rangers ran to catch up with them.html "Holy s-! I'm hit! I got shot! I got shot!'' Phipps screamed. The boys moved out on their own. Now it was boiling over in the middle of the worst firefight of their lives. First Class Paul Howe took off. They had gone just two blocks from their original positions at the target house. There had been bad blood for weeks between Steele and many of the Commando men. Petrified by the escalating volume of gunfire.processtext. Howe. We're coming out of this thing. http://www. Goodale recognized him. was outraged. a good guy. uncertain and confused. First Class Earl Fillmore.

but from a Ranger blocking position on the ground. One of his men had been hit with a small piece of shrapnel to his left side. For his part. Goodale had just turned to squeeze off a round when he felt a stabbing pain. And Howe.not just from the Somali. impressionable teenagers. a wide dirt street that stretched north to the crash site. If they needed shelter. His right leg abruptly seized up and he fell . Now. Larry Perino. They were disdainful of authority and discipline. There was almost no blood. with several Rangers in tow. He despised some of the Commando operators for their arrogance and their cocksure bravado. when they fired at a Somali on a nearby rooftop. The Commando men were in constant touch with one another. overmuscled ex-jock still wrapped up in the naive rah-rah of his years playing football for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. was the first to round the corner on Freedom Road. They were instantly peppered with return fire . It knocked some of Howe's team off their feet. The road sloped slightly downhill to where the other Rangers and rescue team had established a perimeter two blocks away. considered many of Steele's Rangers little more than frightened.Steele called them ``skateboard helmets'' .com/abclit. Howe abruptly kicked in the door to a one-room house and barged in with his weapon ready.processtext. Howe and his Commando team had been on the roof of the target house. He respected their expertise and courage. The swelling had closed the hole. Howe felt the wallop of pressure in his ears and chest and dropped to one knee. Running under the weight of their gear was exhausting. Anyone who threatened them would be shot dead. Howe drew his knife and cut away the back of the wounded man's uniform to check the shrapnel wound.and a microphone that wrapped around to his mouth.html Steele watched with mounting distress as his formation broke down. Steele was too spit-and-polish for his taste. They had to find cover to treat the wounded man. They were sweating profusely and breathing heavily. who was 34. Behind them. but not their professionalism. secret fraternity.a huge. A Ranger had evidently seen shooting from the roof and had fired away without checking it out.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Howe thought Steele was a buffoon . The team had just rounded the corner when an RPG hit the wall close by. Sgt.'' Howe told him. an hour into the mission. Howe and his men caught their breath and reloaded. The Rangers relied mostly on shouted orders. http://www. and the body armor was like wearing a wet suit. but Howe was furious. but not with the Rangers. Each commando had a radio earpiece under his little plastic hockey-style helmet . ``You're good to go. rounding up Somalian prisoners. He got on the radio and told the mission commander to order that idiot Steele to have his men stop shooting at their own people! Howe's team. There was a small hole in the man's back. The house was empty. with a swollen. and cavalier toward orders issued by anyone outside their tight. They even had different radio connections. they kicked in a door. Every house was their house. They hadn't perfected the elaborate hand signals the boys used when the noise of battle drowned out their radio talk. Less-experienced soldiers still felt normal civilian inhibitions about doing things like kicking in doors. Poor communications had come into play just minutes into the assault. The Commando men weren't hit. but Howe and his men moved as if they owned the world. when one side ended up literally shooting at the other. Goodale moved with a group of Rangers led by First Lt. the Rangers and Commando men were operating as separate units under competing commands. bruised ring around it.

Goodale had the same feeling he used to get in a football game when he got injured.'' the medic said. Steele and a large contingent of Rangers were the last to make the turn onto Freedom Road.'' the medic said.he was carrying exploded when a round hit it. Chris Atwater. I've got another man hit. Steele was concerned. The captain and Sgt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He had about 60 young Rangers to account for . . He yanked off his helmet. though. which the medic had taken off to work on him. In front of them.'' Steele said. He dragged Goodale into a small courtyard. The boy fished it out of Goodale's butt pack and discovered a bullet hole clean through it from the same round that had passed through his body. No problem. The captain was struggling to maintain a semblance of order.html over backward. Goodale decided he would keep the canteen as a souvenir.and only a vague idea where they all were. Goodale lay back on the dirt as the medic looked him over. He did not yet know the convoy was lost and being riddled with gunfire.'' Goodale dropped the LAW. Assuming that the convoy would arrive at any minute. were massive men. leaving a gaping exit wound on his right buttock.processtext. then saw an RPG fly past no more than six feet in front of him and explode with a stupendous wallop about 20 feet away. ``Where are you hit?'' he asked. He was pondering all this while on his belly in the dirt. his broad face nearly in the sand. Perino couldn't tell what Goodale was doing. Time was essential.a light antitank weapon . Perino heard Goodale say. trying to get the weapon off his shoulder. Steele had been told the ground convoy would probably reach the crash site before he and his men did. ``You got tagged. ``We need to get off this street. He needed to consolidate his Rangers into a single force. and several boys hopped in with them.'' ``Pick him up and keep moving. Goodale was carrying a LAW! He flailed wildly. the last team of boys was moving into the intersection. right into Perino. The game was most definitely not over. He put his helmet back on. They carried you off the field and you were done. Goodale thought at that instant about a soldier who supposedly had lost an arm and a leg after a LAW . and they were both trying to take cover behind a tree trunk about a foot wide. You're all right. Goodale asked one of them to help him reach his canteen. ``Ow!'' A bullet had entered his right thigh and passed through him.com/abclit. ``Right in the ass. ``Captain. Steele's radio operator. http://www. Steele got a radio call from Perino. Perino left Goodale with a Commando medic and moved on across the intersection. Capt.

and Ahmad Sheik was a 40-year-old accountant and one of Kassim's right-hand men. two of his employees were killed. He. so Kassim knew they might be bombed. too. They wanted to punish the invaders. It sounded as if the whole city were exploding with gunfire. For the first time that day. and angry crowds had formed in a broad ring around Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk. He hit the ground.com/abclit. and all of the major streets were blocked. Steele felt the gravity of their predicament hit fully home. . Somalian militiamen were hiding inside the garage compound.in the neck. seeking vengeance. http://www. so many of the wounded could not be taken to hospitals. Ismail Ahmed was a 30-year-old mechanic. the beefy businessman had quickly run to the Digfer Hospital to hide. A third team member helped the wounded soldier pull Fillmore into the alley. His little hockey helmet jerked up and blood came spouting out of his head. dead. He set off for Trabuna Cemetery with three of his men and the bodies of Ismail Ahmad and Ahmad Sheik. WHEN THE AMERICAN helicopters opened fire on Kassim Sheik Mohamoud's garage in southern Mogadishu. The boy behind Fillmore grabbed him to pull him back into a narrow alley a few steps away. He stayed there two hours. Black Hawk Down Chapter 21 A shared quest: Punish the invaders December 6. Buses had stopped running. Sgt. Wails of grief and anger rose from many homes. Kassim left the hospital and returned to his garage to lead a burial detail. Fillmore. American helicopters were shooting at anything that moved in the southern portion of the city.processtext. went limp. When the shooting started. and because their Islamic faith called for them to bury the dead before sundown. As dusk approached his men brought him news of the two deaths. He figured the Americans would not shoot at a hospital.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.html Just then one of the boys. was hit . People swarmed through the streets. Mogadishu was in turmoil. the first of two helicopters that crashed. 1997 Someone walks through the remains of Kassim Sheik Mohamoud garage.

Embassy compound in southwestern Mogadishu. He saw a woman running naked. helicopters had killed dozens of moderate clan leaders. . The Somalian men. were bloody and dazed and in need of a doctor. Abdikarim kept his job but with an added purpose . People were scrambling everywhere. There were also Somalis shooting at them. waving her arms and screaming. Ali would jump out and spray bullets toward the Rangers. http://www. which was the target building where the Rangers were attacking. ``Kasoobaxa guryaha oo iska celsa cadowga!'' (``Come out and defend your homes!'') Ali belonged to a neighborhood militia organized to protect their shops from bandits. He was joined by some of his neighborhood friends. He was 15. Hiding behind the building.S. Ali's youngest brother. His friend Adan Warsawe was hit in the stomach and knocked flat on his back. fell dead by the gate to the family's house. Abdikarim had been hopeful about the United Nations when the humanitarian mission started. and retraced his route back to his shop. Ali ran. Embassy compound. Out in the streets were militiamen with megaphones. they moved north. who were all carrying their weapons. Ali helped carry him to cover. The Americans photographed them. Like most of his countrymen.S. The streets were crowded with terrified women and children.processtext. He saw it as an unwarranted assault on his country. he fired his first shots at the Rangers on the corner. where his AK-47 was hidden.S.html Hours earlier. the day of the Abdi Qeybdid House attack. Peering out his doorway.he became the eyes and ears for his clan. through all the chaos. Ali Hassan Mohamed had run to the front door of his family's hamburger and candy shop when the helicopters came down and the shooting started. Mohamed Farrah Aidid. and manned the store in the afternoons just up from the Olympic Hotel. when missiles fired from U. Ali saw Rangers coming down on ropes. and every week there was a mounting toll of Somalian dead and injured. He ran up behind the Olympic Hotel and then doubled back up across Hawlwadig Road to the house of his friend Ahmed. ducking behind cars and buildings. They were shooting as soon as they hit the ground. He was a student. he had seen victims of the bombing who were brought to the U. This U. On July 12. a tall and slender teenager with prominent cheekbones and a sparse goatee. They were shouting. he ran back down behind the hotel. Then a helicopter had come low and blasted streams of fire from a gun on its side. then run for cover.N. The front door was diagonal across Hawlwadig Road from the house of Mohamed Hassan Awale. None of them were experienced fighters. They were big men who wore body armor and strapped their weapons to their chests and painted their faces black and green to look more fierce. Above was the din of the helicopters. Abdikarim Mohamud worked as a secretary for one of the American companies providing support services to the international military force under the United Nations command. Gen. Abdulahi Hassan Mohamed. Carrying the gun now. When the first helicopter crashed. He studied English and business in the mornings. Who were these men who came to his home spreading death? WORD THAT THERE WAS big trouble in the city had spread quickly through the Somalian staff at the U. elders of Abdikarim's clan.com/abclit.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. bleeding from the head. and all around was the crisp popping of gunfire. job was the first chance he had had to use his fluent English. interrogated them and put them in jail. and there were dead people and dead animals. the attacks began on his Habr Gidr clan and its leader. He felt afraid but very angry. But when the Rangers came.

bleeding from the leg and trying to hide himself. which was the place they always went when bullets started to fly. There were bullets cracking in the air over his head when he got home. a group of Somalian men with rifles came running down the alley. When a woman ran out in front of Abdikarim. It seemed to Abdikarim that there were a hundred helicopters in the sky. He had relatives who lived just a few blocks from the market. They let him in. Before the Rangers had even roped down to Hawlwadig Road. so he ran up toward the market. militiamen were preparing to erect ambushes and roadblocks on the streets around the market.'' Abdikarim was told. but there were still buses running on Via Lenin. and they did not sleep at all. firing. toward the corner where they could shoot at the American. Abdikarim saw up the street an American soldier lying by the road. . After the helicopter had passed.'' He lived with his family between the K-4 traffic circle. He told himself that coming out to see had been a bad idea. With all the bullets and blasts. http://www. and that after they fast-roped in they would not be able to come back out on helicopters. ``Something has happened. When he got close to the shooting. the American fired some shots in their direction. Abdikarim ran around a corner just as one of the Little Bird helicopters flew down the alley. He found that he grew accustomed to the shooting after a while. kicking up dust straight past him. The woman was hit but got off the street. Then he ventured outside. and he was eager for news of them. children. He pressed himself against a stone wall and saw bullets run down the alley. but after an hour or so he was restless and moving around the house. He could hear the sound of gunfire. That meant the Americans would be sending a column of vehicles to take them out. All Somalian employees at the embassy compound were sent home early by their American employers. He needed to find out what was happening. looking out windows. ``You should go home. a heavily traveled intersection that was just north of the Ranger base and south of the Bakara Market. The fight was roiling when he left the embassy compound. it was hard to believe anyone in the market area had not been hit. At first he had crouched down and pressed himself against the wall.com/abclit. there was terrible confusion on the streets. They were all in the courtyard of their home with their backs against a concrete wall.men.html He knew by the time the assault force took off that afternoon that the Americans were headed for the Bakara Market. and he got on the floor with everyone else. There was shooting all that night. So there were bullets everywhere. women. He found his father at home with his two brothers and sister.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and the sky was thick with helicopters speeding low over the rooftops. Some of his neighbors told him the Rangers had captured Aidid. The shooting was continuous. Aidid's militia fought from hundreds of places in the densely populated neighborhood.processtext. Abdikarim ran to the house of a friend. There were dead people on the road .

No way anybody's getting in here. they returned and picked up the bodies.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. In fright they ran. The sight of the tough. As Fillmore was dragged from the line of fire. Mogadishu had become a city of the dead. No one was in charge. Rangers answered to Ranger officers. Thomas had been firing down an alley. As they carried the bodies of Ismail Ahmed and Ahmad Sheik. "There's no way to get him out by helo [helicopter]. They hid behind a wall. He saw Fillmore pitch forward on his face.processtext. and Commando commandos answered to their own tight chain of command. a helicopter swooped down at them and passed so close that they dropped the bodies and ran away. Sounds of gunfire crackled over the city.'' Thomas said. Kassim went back out at 3 a. There were many people at the cemetery digging holes for the newly dead. Thomas went over to Sgt. 1997 SGT. He was one of about 70 Rangers and D-boys fighting their way on foot to Cliff Wolcott's downed Blackhawk an hour into the mission. There were many others digging. confident Commando sergeant stretched out motionless with his nose in the dirt horrified Thomas.'' Watson said. They had split haphazardly into several groups. KENNY THOMAS was just a few feet away when Earl Fillmore went down. They dug until another helicopter buzzed down at them. The Little Bird gunships buzzing overhead couldn't open fire on Somalian gunmen for fear of hitting American soldiers scattered all . it was about to give up and turn back. First Class Sean Watson. They carried them to a place on a hill and lay the bodies on the ground and began to dig. each pinned down somewhere near the crash site. Black Hawk Down Chapter 22 A Ranger's plea for help as the body count climbs December 7. The rescue convoy that was supposed to meet them at the crash site had become hopelessly lost. "He needs a Medivac [medical evacuation] or he's going to die. Thomas happened to be looking right at Fillmore when suddenly the back of Fillmore's little hockey helmet blew out.m. It was dawning on the men who had moved from the target building toward the crash site that they were now cut off from help. They weren't even sure how far they were from Wolcott's bird. and when the helicopter continued on. with the men and finished the job. Shredded by enemy fire.html KASSIM SHEIK Mohamoud's little burial convoy got to the cemetery just before dusk.com/abclit. http://www.

It was too late for Fillmore. We need relief NOW and start extracting! In the command helicopter. He'd forgotten his medical kit.processtext. over. Steele grabbed the radio microphone. waving frantically. gesturing for Hooten to wait until he had finished with the radio. http://www. sprawling into a small courtyard head-first. a medic. We're taking heavy small-arms fire. He was howling with pain. no helicopter could safely land to evacuate the mounting number of wounded. He stood to run back out. He was dead. Steele was still rolling when he saw Hooten waving him toward the courtyard. The captain got up and ran for the doorway. ``We've got to get Lechner!'' Steele shouted. but then he gestured wildly. a Commando team leader.html around. Mike Steele was on the ground. The men against the opposite wall all looked at one another. it was decided that Sgt. tried to warn them away. Peter Neathery was hit at the same wall where Fillmore had been shot. Col. Steele didn't even pretend to be calm: Romeo 64. He darted about halfway out into the road and flung the bag. had been hit in the right arm. After some discussion. Shouting. Sgt. clutching his right arm. On the same street. the mission commander. With two Blackhawks shot down already. too. then went to work on the two wounded Rangers. Steele saw rounds tear holes through the tin wall behind them. Lt. He joined Neathery on the ground. Strous ran back out and retrieved it.com/abclit. but Commando medic Bart Bullock had already dashed out. this is Juliet 64. . He. taking cover behind a tin shack. but he put up his hand. Pfc. Then Pfc. dashed across the street to tend Errico and Neathery. Spec. He was talking on the radio. responded evenly but with some impatience: I UNDERSTAND you need to be extracted. Beside him on the ground was his lieutenant. The big Ranger commander had edged up into the same concentrated field of fire that had felled Fillmore and Neathery. The lieutenant's shin had been shattered. Gary Harrell. Capt. and he heard Lechner scream. was frustrated by the convoy's failure to find the crash site. Norm Hooten. and he broke down sobbing. He and another soldier dragged Lechner through the doorway. his words delivered in gasped phrases that sharply contrasted with the even voices of the pilots and airborne commanders watching in aircraft high above. Thomas realized it. Steele saw him. He. There was a lip at the base of the entrance and he tripped over it. Hooten was standing in the doorway of a courtyard. Neathery had been on the ground. James Lechner. Jeffrey Hulst would run the kit across. too. Both were moaning and writhing. A spray of bullets kicked sand into Steele's eyes. Richard Strous. Vince Errico took over the M-60. working his big M-60 gun when he screamed and rolled away. and seconds later he let out a yelp.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. I've done EVERYTHING I CAN to get those vehicles to you. Lechner tried to roll out of the way.

They were pinned down under an intense barrage of small-arms and RPG fire. weapons ready. a sergeant major ordered Howe to go outside and help the Rangers still on the street. He began gathering up ammunition. He was turning white.a man. As the men piled in. He didn't mask his disgust. several groups of Rangers and Commando soldiers had linked up at the crash site. It took awhile. and handed them back to his team to be handcuffed and herded into a side room. Steele was motioning to his men across the street for them to join him in the courtyard. In the doorway. Goodale felt sickened as he saw a widening pool form under the leg. Scott Miller and the rest of the men on the street. And he had a courtyard full of wounded men to worry about. Howe stood in the doorway. Blood flowed from Lechner's wound as if from a jug.processtext. Sgt. Paul Howe. but the bottom half flopped grotesquely to one side. over. Howe searched them. Howe waved in Commando ground commander. A block away. the captain had no idea where the rest of the Rangers and D-boys had gone. They might be stuck there all night. Mike Goodale. ONE OF THE Commando team leaders. had heard Lechner howl. Sgt.com/abclit. He was still trying to assemble everybody in one place. the worst sound he'd ever heard a human being make. The upper part of his right leg was normal. Most of them had taken cover along a wide street that formed an ``L'' at the intersection of the crash site. Howe felt much more aggressive steps should be taken. realized he had to get the men off the street and out of the line of fire. knew from radio traffic that the ground convoy was hopelessly lost and badly mauled. He and another soldier slammed their shoulders into the gate of a narrow courtyard between two houses and burst inside. He believed they should be looking for ways to strongpoint their position. pointing his weapon with his right hand and trying to coax the people out of the room with his left. It was a horrible sound. They found a terrified family . the search-and-rescue team was collecting wounded and trying to extricate the body of pilot Cliff Wolcott from the wreckage. identify other buildings to take over to give them better lines of fire. He welcomed the cleared courtyard as a command post and casualty collection point. Have more casualties. Miller. who had finally caught up with Howe in his run to the crash site.html Steele responded wearily: Roger. his wife and several children cowering in a room. But even after those few men were safely inside. expand their perimeter. Capt. grenades and antitank weapons from the . It was the order of a soldier who didn't know what to do next. http://www. When the rooms adjacent to the courtyard had been cleared. The directive angered Howe. At the helicopter itself. clinging to one another. who had been pulled into the same courtyard earlier after being shot through the thigh and buttock. Instead he was being asked to just help hold the fort. Be advised command element [Lechner] was just hit.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Lechner's wound looked terrible. but they came out slowly. understand.

bruising his forearm. he was mortified. ``Shoot the motherf-er!'' Howe screamed. though not obvious. http://www. He turned angrily.com/abclit. Howe looked for a protected spot where he could fire. Concrete chips fell from the wall over Perino's head and rattled down. firing a handgun at the window of the house Howe had just cleared. They weren't shooting as much as Howe felt they should be. It had a tungsten carbide penetrator at the tip that could punch holes in metal. He fired methodically. but. Rounds seemed to be coming at them from all directions. No one had told him that Commando had moved into that space. Spec.'' ``No s-.56mm green tip round. who he felt were hunkered down in defensive positions waiting for guidance.processtext. There was nothing to protect him from fire. The rounds made small. who was on his belly.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Howe watched several Rangers try to hit a Somali who kept darting out. saving his ammunition. Larry Perino and Cpl. There are friendlies in there!'' When Nelson found out later that he had fired on his own men. and unless they hit the head or spine the men didn't go down. Across the street. ``I saw someone in there. Howe was firing the Army's new 5. shooting. He spotted a Somalian muzzle flash and was just about to run out and tap Smith on the shoulder and gesture for him to try to hit the Somali with his grenade launcher when a spray of bullets ripped through the shed. ``What are you doing?'' Howe shouted across the alley. it was confusing.a light antitank weapon . First Lt. but in the din he wasn't heard. They were taking so much fire. Cut off and surrounded. Shawn Nelson. cursing viciously as he shot. He shouted across at them impatiently. From there he was able to stand a yard or two away from the wall on the west side and cover the road north. concealment. The big Commando sergeant picked up a LAW . clean holes in the Somalian gunmen. He shouted back. Nelson had seen someone moving in the window. Howe watched as Smith and another Ranger moved out away from the wall to shoot up the street. Jamie Smith crept along a wall next to a tin shed. . But that penetrating power meant his rounds were passing right through his targets. still incensed by what he regarded as the Rangers' hesitancy. Lance Twombly. Nelson couldn't hear Howe. Even his ammunition angered him. it was a cardinal sin to shoot before identifying a target. Already furious. They did not seem to appreciate just how desperate their situation had become. their survival was at stake. He stomped angrily out on the street and began looking for Somalis to shoot. Howe felt that he had to hit each man five or six times just to get his attention. but there was no tree on their side to offer concealment. It looked to him as though they were trying to emulate the position he had found.html wounded Rangers in the courtyard. He found a sort of pocket of invisibility. then again. It landed on Spec. Howe now began venting at the Rangers. and then retreating behind a shed about a block away.and hurled it across the road. but the tree across the street at Nelson's position and the slope of the hill behind him provided excellent. He found one of the Rangers.

Perino radioed Capt. watching from across the street. Carlos Rodriguez rolled away from his machine gun. a pressure dressing. and Perino could see the smoke drifting up in the darkening sky. but there was a gaping hole in his upper leg and blood was everywhere. He wanted everyone together at the crash site. this really hurts. as if he were commenting about someone else.com/abclit. I've got three guys left. He actually heard the smack of the round that hit him.html Then Smith was hit. The lieutenant and a medic pulled Smith into the courtyard. remarked. about 90 minutes into the mission. How can I help him? Finally. the medic had his hand up inside Smith's leg. strongpoint the building and defend it. Request permission to occupy a building. where are you? DiTomasso tried to explain his position. ``I'm hit! I'm hit!'' Up the street. http://www. ``It looks like it's got his femoral artery. Smith dropped to one knee and then. counting myself. Pfc.processtext. sir. Steele's voice on the radio kept pushing Perino to link up with DiTomasso: They need your help.'' Smith had been shot in the upper thigh. I'm in a courtyard. Tom DiTomasso's men from Chalk Two. They had taken cover in a stone house across an alley from the downed Blackhawk. In the courtyard. almost as an afterthought.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.. directly up into the wound.m. ``Man. DiTomasso popped a red smoke bomb. Perino's Chalk One had now been wounded. The medic stuck an IV in him and started shoving Curlex. Smith looked pale and distant. Ken Boorn was hit in the foot. sir. I can't see. The medic had started a morphine drip. Nelson. where the medic tore open Smith's pants leg. other men were shouting in pain. Smith told Perino. Perino didn't know it. Tom. Perino tried to reach DiTomasso on his radio.'' Steele told him. Eight of 13 men in Lt. Perino didn't know if the medic had made a bigger incision to get up inside Smith or if the round had caused it. saw him go down.'' he said. Steele relented: Roger. bleeding and clutching his crotch. Now Smith was screaming. but the courtyard where he stood was just 50 feet from First Lt. Perino said: Look.'' ``You've got to push on. ``We CANNOT go further. Staff Sgt. Steele: ``We can't go any further. It was nearly 5 p.'' Steele told Perino again to keep trying. ``I'm hit!'' Perino helped move him against the wall. . like a hard slap. Perino said. who had joined the search-and-rescue team at the crash site. We have more wounded than I can carry.

With Mike Durant's helicopter now shot down and the ground convoy laden with dead and wounded soldiers. and the men gave up on the ground convoy that was supposed to meet them at the crash site. and I can't put a hemostat on it. ran into the street to get Pfc. Stebbins tried to drag him by his body armor. The answer came back from Command: There would be no relief for some time.html He was distressed but focused. All I can do is put direct pressure on it. and putting another helicopter down in their hot neighborhood was out of the question. which stood roughly a block from the wreck of pilot Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk. Black Hawk Down Chapter 23 As darkness nears. Spec. A makeshift command post had been set up inside the house. every call on the radio was shouted and urgent. but Rodriguez was a tall. half-dragged him off the street.processtext. John Stebbins. nearly three hours into the mission. and blood was pumping out from between his fingers and flowing from his mouth. It was tough to break through. Mission commanders had already radioed that it was too dangerous to try to land a helicopter and evacuate the wounded. we need a Medivac. cut off from other soldiers also pinned down at various locations near the wreck. Sir. Carlos Rodriguez. Finally Steele got through. Rodriguez's head dragged in the dirt. For Corporal Smith.com/abclit. One of the commando commandos ran over and helped haul Rodriguez into the courtyard of a house. http://www. they would just have to hang on. and short. Rodriguez had both hands over his crotch.'' Perino radioed Steele again. and I can't put a clamp on it. a dreaded feeling December 8. . who had been shot in the groin and was howling in pain. the men feared they would be stuck at the house all night. for the time being. We need to extract him now. 1997 THE COMPANY CLERK. It was dusk now. solid kid. They knew the convoy was lost and badly mauled. ``It's too high for a tourniquet. A Little Bird or something. where he was added to a rapidly expanding group of wounded men.'' Steele relayed the request on the command net.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. stubby Stebbins couldn't pull him. They had seen the vehicles drive past just a few blocks west about an hour earlier. Now. Stebbins reached around Rodriguez's waist and half-carried. The captain radioed Perino back and told him that.

legs pumping. With the bags cradled in his arms. who had roped down to the crash as part of a 15-man combat search-and-rescue team. Wilkinson cut open Rodriguez's uniform and saw that a round had ripped through his buttock and bored straight into his pelvis. but that meant another foray through the gunfire. running low on ammunition. Most of them had left without their canteens. Wilkinson was the team comic. Stebbins was finally able to get a good look at the Somalis who had been firing at him from windows and doorways. He arrived in the courtyard unscathed. tending to the wounded. He burst into the courtyard and saw two of the big commando sergeants wrestling with Rodriguez. He slipped pneumatic pants over Rodriguez's legs and pumped them with air to apply more pressure to the wound. They were without their main technological advantage their NODs (night optical devices). and literally in the dark. ``Look. Scott Fales. and deadpanned an absurdly cinematic request.processtext. the rounds screaming over his head. Then he turned to Capt. The bleeding stopped. the commando ground commander. Wilkinson. gathered up his medical kit. Wilkinson moved Rodriguez and the other wounded into a rear room. We're in a bad spot here.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. assuming the midday mission would only take an hour. http://www. thinking they could do without water for an hour. blowing off one testicle as it exited his upper thigh. bleeding.'' Miller didn't respond. The men had left them behind. Into the gaping wound Wilkinson stuffed wads of Curlex. loosely rolled gauze that expands as it soaks up blood. which allowed them to see in the darkness. he made yet another panicked dash across the road. Master Sgt. what can I say? WHEN THE SUN had slipped behind the buildings to the west. He just gave the medic a look that said. bullets snapping all around him. ``He needs to get out right now.com/abclit. and loaded up bags of fluids. The others can wait. tired. ``Cover me. too. trying to get the terrified private under control. TIM WILKINSON was inside the wrecked Blackhawk. He squeezed off rounds . Scott Miller. when he got a radio call. He made it safely. Sgt. He started an IV.html Everyone dreaded the approaching darkness. Fales had extra fluids at the crash site. but he needs to come out. then realized he was almost out of fluids. I've got a critical here. plowing across the wide road.'' he said. Crouching and running at the same time. Now the force faced the night thirsty.'' he said. Wilkinson took off across the road again. Head down. he ran and ran. The men holed up in the building across the street desperately needed another medic. Rodriguez was in terrible shape. Then he turned to his wounded fellow medic.

His voice sounded cool. he heard a voice from behind him. He was dazed and covered with white powder from the pulverized mortar of the wall.com/abclit. There came a whoosh and a crackling explosion. One of the the boys was looking down at him from a window. dropping it right into the targeted window. Black smoke poured from the window.'' Stebbins stood up. He ducked and turned his helmet toward the missile. Brian Heard.'' Stebbins was trying to figure out whether Heard was serious or just goofing when the ground around them shook. ``Stebby. Keep your heads down. and he turned to see what looked like a rock hurtling straight at him.html carefully. Stebbins heard a whistling sound. and Stebbins was knocked backward. I just want you to know in case we don't get out of this. trying to conserve ammunition. Brian. where they had roped in. Stebby?'' ``Yup. Good to go. Stebbins saw lights flick on in the distance and was reminded that they were in the middle of a big city. and he was engulfed in . It seemed like ages ago.'' As Stebbins gathered his thoughts. just a shortness of breath. His buddy. taking down their cover. Heavy rounds were shattering the wall behind them. I think you're doing a great job. Stebbins woke up flat on his back this time. I'm OK. It was going to hit his head.'' From his window perch. and Stebbins and Heard screamed and disappeared in a ball of flame. ``You OK. infuriated.processtext. It was as if someone had yanked him from behind with a rope. Three more ear-shattering rounds hit the wall. Stebby? You OK?'' Heard asked. we've got it covered. the commando marksman let go a round from his M203 grenade launcher. There were fires burning somewhere back toward the Olympic Hotel. Brian. Stebbins figured the round had detonated some kind of ammo. A voice shouted across the intersection that everyone was to retreat back to the building across from the crash site. because there was a flash throughout the first floor. you OK? You OK. tapped him on the shoulder and shouted. ``Where's this guy shooting from. like a California beach bum's. and that in some parts of it life was proceeding normally. Pfc.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Just let me lie here for a couple seconds. The evening grew quiet. man?'' Stebbins pointed out the window. ``All right. There was an enormous blast. He gasped for air and tasted dust and smoke. ``I'm fine. shooting at the same window. cursing at full throttle as he stepped back out into the alley and resumed firing at a window down the street. Up through the swirl he saw darkening blue sky and two clouds. One by one. the men on Stebbins' corner started sprinting across the intersection. The volume of fire had died down. Then Heard's face came swimming into view. Four other Rangers joined in. http://www. He felt no pain. ``Steb.

but he saw bright red when the grenade exploded. He figured he'd just cut his lip. figuring he'd grab a rifle from one of the wounded men. But then he thought about it . ``You're out of action. Some of the other men ran out and dragged him into the courtyard. He needed another weapon. http://www. you've got to turn that white light out.'' he said. Wilkinson turned off the white light and flicked on a red flashlight. . looking for his weapon. ``Yeah. ``Hey. moaning and taking short. ``You can guard this window. He found it in pieces. and Stebbins smelled blood and sweat and urine. Wilkinson helped him into the back room where the other wounded were gathered. Wilkinson then handed him a rifle. the the boys had handcuffed the man of the house and sat him down with his wife and child. He smelled burned hair and dust and hot cordite. He realized for the first time that he'd been hit.and it made perfect sense. One of the boys poked his head in the door and gestured toward the white light. tactics . and Wilkinson eased Stebbins down on the couch and started cutting off his left boot with a big pair of shears. The Somalis moved to the floor. There were three Somalis huddled on a couch. The fire from the explosion had cauterized his wounds. and we've got to be tactful.'' he said. and he could taste it. He felt no pain. He could feel dust up his nose and in his eyes. All I can give you is some Percocet. he saw that the blackened flaking patches along his leg were skin.'' Stebbins was amused by that word: Tactful. His left leg and foot felt as if they were asleep. not my boots!'' he complained. He stood up and started running for the courtyard. He had noticed that his trousers looked blackened. His eyes were closed. but I don't have my weapon. illuminated by the medic's white light. until they both came to rest sitting upright and staring at each other. ``Hey. and he was tumbling.html fire and light. Rodriguez was in the corner. but it's going to go away. He kept falling down. and now. man. He tasted blood. Stebbins was covered with dirt and dust. tact. There was a barrel but no hand grip. ``Listen. too. his pants burned off. sucking breaths.tactful.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. Stebbins was shocked to see a golf ball-sized chunk of metal lodged in his foot. mixed up with Heard. He felt searing flames. his leg bleeding. It was already dark there. ``It's dark out there now. ``What are you doing that for?'' Wilkinson slid the boot off smoothly and slowly and removed the sock.'' Stebbins started to crawl back to his position. ``Are you OK?'' Heard asked after a long moment.'' Wilkinson handed Stebbins a tablet and some iodized water in a cup. you're numb now.'' he told him.com/abclit. loud. just numbness.

Steele was reluctant. they argued over where to best position the 99 men now scattered through the narrow streets around pilot Cliff Wolcott's downed Blackhawk. Gary Harrell. and trapped December 9. radioed from his Blackhawk helicopter circling high over the city. to take the nearly two dozen men holed up with him and move a block north to where Miller had taken cover with his men. tensions continued to build between the Commando and Ranger commanders. but try to get everyone at one site and have one guy talking down there if you can. listening to Rodriguez moaning and sucking air and to the Somalian woman complaining with words he didn't understand that her husband's handcuffs were too tight. ``Sorry about the couch. Stebbins realized he had to urinate badly. Sean Watson. I know it's tough. He agreed with Miller that everyone should be gathered in one place near the crash site to form more effective crossfire zones and give helicopter gunships a better shot at the Somalian gunmen surrounding them. Lt. said Harrell. Capt. 1997 AS DARKNESS FELL.html ``OK. Black Hawk Down Chapter 24 Disarray in command. . Over the radio. clutching his rifle. Col. He spoke bluntly. but Watson was a highly respected sergeant first class. especially in battle.processtext. and you're doing the best you can.'' he said. Scott Miller. raining brass links from the miniguns on their heads. Steele responded: OK. http://www.'' Stebbins just shook his head and smiled. There was no place to go.com/abclit. The Little Birds were making dazzling gun runs.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. So he just released the flow where he sat.'' Wilkinson added. the mission commander. ``I feel I should warn you that narcotics and firearms don't mix. Watson immediately confronted his captain. the Commando ground commander. to get ready to move out. He told a sergeant. He caught the woman's eye.'' ``But as your health-care professional. Finally he was left to sit there alone on the couch. Mike Steele. wanted Capt. the Ranger commander. Hoo-ah. Many enlisted men would lack the confidence to challenge their commanding officer.

but he didn't try to stop them. his D-boys were in charge on the ground. who had been shot in the head. Steele did not consider Miller his superior officer. not with all these wounded. and you have to make the call. I cannot support you as well.'' he said. He relayed word to Miller. ``No way. He wanted Steele and his men to move. then relayed word to Miller: Right now we're not going to be able to move. Harrell refused to decide the issue. Four men would have to carry each litter. He was not going to waste time arguing about it. The body of Commando Sgt. Watson pointed out that it would take a lot to overrun their well-defended courtyard. I'm going to kill her. and suggested the question be settled by Col. Technically. He told both captains: If you stay separated. They wound up in a heap on the ground. Steele had made his call. The Rangers listened nervously. If Harrell said move. He watched as the D-boys lined up in the courtyard. Steele watched with mild amusement and satisfaction. Within seconds. Then the first group of four went charging out into the night. To a man. and left. tripping over the same metal doorway rim that had tripped up Steele earlier. making convenient cluster targets. the men blew a hole in one of the walls and began moving the wounded and dead into the adjacent space. preparing to make their dash out the door. ``If that bitch comes back.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. no. Again came the rain of gunfire. The whole neighborhood erupted. Through the new hole a Somalian woman in a flowing orange robe stepped in screaming words the men couldn't understand. He ordered the Commando soldiers pinned down with Steele's men to move up and join him. When she stepped out.'' one of the D-boys grumbled. John Boswell when the Commando soldier offered him his headset and urged him to discuss the matter further with Miller.com/abclit. You're the guy on the ground. http://www. Inside the stone house adjacent to the crash site. Steele conferred briefly with the D-boys in the courtyard. They had five wounded men. Miller then made his own call. Harrell. . Steele took a deep breath and reconsidered. uh-uh. First Class Earl Fillmore. as he understood it. two of whom would have to be carried. Steele was bitter. would also have to be hauled. Then the woman came back. Miller was perturbed. He ignored Sgt. all four o fthe boys came flying back into the courtyard. Nobody was going anywhere.processtext. leaving the Rangers behind.'' he told Watson. ``I think you're right. gunfire ripped through windows and openings. They thought moving only invited more trouble when they had plenty already.'' Watson said he thought the idea was foolhardy. They could expect a hail of bullets and grenades the second they stepped out the door. they sided with Watson. their gun barrels clinking together as they untangled.html ``Hey. sir. they'd move. Gunfire exploded the instant they passed through the door. screamed more. even though he and Steele were both captains.

Steele sadly passed the word to Perino: It's just too hot. He's not going to make it. He thought. He looked pale and distant. First Class Al Lamb helped moved CWO Donovan ``Bull'' Briley's body into the newly opened space. Perino radioed down the block to Steele: Hey. the copilot's head hit the wall with a mushy thud that sickened Lamb. had dug trenches and erected burning barricades on all roads leading to Wolcott's crash site. The forces of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. there will be more KIAs [killed in action] from previously received WIAs [wounded in action]. He said the resupply helicopter had been badly shot up and had barely made it out . Rescue convoys had failed. not landed. Mike Durant's Blackhawk. Harrell was insistent: If the QRF [quick reaction force] does not get there soon. Briley had died in the crash of Wolcott's helicopter. When Lamb set Briley down. who had been shot in the groin. fully mobilized. running. had been overrun. but barely. Jamie Smith's wound. which was still being assembled at the base to drive into the city and smash through to the surrounded soldiers.and it had only hovered. .'' Earlier in the evening. He flattened him out so that when rigor mortis set in the body would not be folded at the waist. They needed at least another hour. But Smith needed a doctor and a hospital.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but a morphine drip had quieted him.processtext. trying to keep the severed femoral artery pinched shut. First Lt. But to no avail. Carlos Rodriguez. Schmid kept telling Perino: ``We need help. a Blackhawk had dropped fresh supplies of fluids and medicine. but radioed Harrell and urged him to put a helicopter down in the wide intersection outside his doorway. along with more ammunition.com/abclit. Harrell was not encouraging. http://www. Steele could hear Harrell pleading with his superiors at the Joint Operations Center at the airport base. this is a sad day.html She did. Even so. He asked about the quick reaction force. He was still conscious. He's getting worse. Captain. Harrell reluctantly delivered the verdict to Steele: We are going to have to hold on the best we can with those casualties and hope the ground reaction force gets there on time. we've got to get Smith out. Smith had been in awful pain from a gunshot wound to his upper thigh. IN A COURTYARD less than 50 yards away. Larry Perino. Word came back from Command that they were not going to try to land a helicopter but instead would wait on the armored convoy. a powerful man. and he did. wearing spandex shorts. Sgt. Steele knew this was doubtful. Harrell stressed that both Smith and Pfc. Lamb remembered seeing Briley the day before. The other helicopter crash site. medic Kurt Schmid and others were taking turns sticking their fingers up inside Cpl. Jesus. were in critical condition.

It was late in the evening now. had already tried to fight their way out to the city once. They had pushed as much fluid from the resupply into Smith as they could. more than five hours into the battle. before Jamie enlisted.html Perino took the news badly. when he was still in basic training.com/abclit. feeling his life ebbing away. BILL DAVID knew very well the consequences of delay. but he needed blood. David and the rest of Charlie Company.'' Now the life was flowing from him. to have your fingers up inside his wound. His father. Before sunset they had made a bid to reach the southern crash site. was coping with overwhelming complications trying to put the multinational convoy together. he had sometimes worn his father's old Army jacket to school in Long Valley. Three years earlier. he was still alert enough to be very scared. There were wounded Rangers out in the city who were going to die unless the rescue convoy got there soon. more than a mile from the crash site. 1997 LT. The news was broadcast over the command net: One of the critical WIAs has just been KIA. As a boy. Jamie had grown up wanting to be nothing but a Ranger. It was one thing to weigh these matters rationally. COL. Perino could tell that even though Smith had become weak and silent. describing in graphic detail the horrors he had seen in Vietnam. He had tried. Black Hawk Down Chapter 25 Confusion as rescue convoy rolls out December 10. The convoy had made it only to K-4 Circle. Matt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. had been a Ranger in Vietnam and had lost a leg in battle. before being .J. sir. It's the dream of being one of those guys in faded fatigues and a black beret that keeps me going. There was nothing more Perino and Schmid could do. Not long after the refusal of the helicopter. James Sr. N. was planning to enlist and enter Ranger school. Perino radioed Steele: Don't worry about the Medivac. to instill a respectful fear of combat into his son. about 150 men on a convoy of nine flatbed trucks and a dozen humvees. http://www.. But David. It's too late. ground commander of the 10th Mountain Division's Quick Reaction Force. where pilot Mike Durant and his crew were about to be overrun by Somalis. His younger brother. but quite another to have a young man's blood splashed all over your hands and arms.processtext. Jamie had written to his father: ``Today while walking back from lunch I saw two Rangers walking through the company area.

The tanks would escort for the first few miles. get left behind. then pull back and let Alpha Company pull out front in the APCs. Phil Lepre. The West Point graduate had the delicate task of explaining to the Malaysians that their vehicles were needed but their men were not.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. They listened to the . if you're telling me to drive it. Everybody was scared. a platoon of eager Ranger volunteers along with the boys. the Somalis unleashed vicious ambushes. was inside one APC with about nine other men from the 10th. so one of the lieutenants asked him to drive a truck.html turned back by a blistering ambush. his own men along with 150 men in the 10th's Alpha Company. and walked off to find someone else. He said they had been ordered not to lead the convoy. He was terrified by the thought of grinding gears in the middle of a convoy. where the spare tire and muffler came up. and they could not see out. a specialist from Philadelphia. Company armorer Spec. where one stalled vehicle could hold up an entire force or. and the still-ambulatory remnants of the lost convoy. There was a chaotic scene at the New Port facility in Mogadishu. move out midway between the two crash sites. Some guys were racing to the front of the column while others were looking for a way to avoid going out. without the slightest idea that. he was probably living the last minutes of his life. But they had to do it. I'll drive it. Most of the Malaysian and Pakistani commanders spoke English. The Pakistani leader sprinted to David's humvee. but their men did not.'' Squeglia said. at this very moment. Squeglia was somewhere in the middle. He made sure he got into the truck after most of the others. part of him felt that going out into that city was committing suicide. before they were ready to pull out of the gate. The Rangers and the boys were in a desperate hurry to get going. and they didn't hide their frustration. Squeglia felt deflated and guilty. a few miles up the coast from Task Force Ranger's base. place the tanks in front of the column. He thought about his parents at home on a Sunday morning. ``Sir. the stronghold of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. As it got close to the Black Sea neighborhood. David wanted to load his own better-trained soldiers onto the APCs. He had decided that the safest place was toward the rear. Soldiers gathered around and held up flashlights to illuminate David's map. 24. The lieutenant made a face.m. The formation moved out as planned.processtext. After what he had seen of the lost convoy. Now he had been ordered to hastily assemble a massive rescue force from four Pakistani tanks. 28 Malaysian armored personnel carriers (APCs). It meant looking for drivers who could manage the five-ton trucks while wearing Night Optical Devices (NODs). WITH ALL THE DELAYS. it was 11:20 p. Peter Squeglia had some experience riding a motorcycle wearing NODs. He wedged himself behind that. So David worked out a compromise. But assembling this patchwork convoy presented a host of problems. and then send one company to each site. There was only a little night-light in the darkness. http://www. reading the newspaper. worse. so decisions took longer to implement.com/abclit. through any ambushes or roadblocks. But I've never driven a truck before.

They looked at each other worriedly. then took off himself. The Rangers and the boys cajoled and finally threatened. One headed west to the crash site of Durant's Super 64. Houston was shot again. Hollis ordered Cpl. Ahlfinger had never been in a vehicle like this. Rangers and the boys holed up at the first crash site could hear the two-mile-long convoy approaching from miles away. while admired. There was nothing he could do but hope they doubled back.'' said the platoon sergeant.com/abclit. but was unable to make radio contact. It was burning. so plowing through could be dangerous. They got out and blew a hole in a wall and moved inside for shelter. An RPG had hit the carrier in front of them. they found themselves in a horrific gunfight. Cornell Houston was shot in the leg. Along the way Sgt. He hesitated a moment. http://www. Brittany. He reached inside his helmet and pulled out a snapshot of his daughter. he was not a career soldier. where 99 Rangers and the boys were pinned down and waiting. overrun by Somalis hours earlier. 19. In the past. Aaron Ahlfinger. with two countrymen up front and a Malaysian gunner in the turret. and certainly not battle-hungry like the Rangers . but the APC driver wouldn't budge. At one point. Lepre had joined the Army to serve his tour and collect his college money. what am I going into? ``Saddle up. . both married with children. running for the APC through the gunfire. The other pushed on north to the first crash site. Like many men in the 10th. Ahlfinger sat in the darkness with the other men until the door of the APC swung open and a Malaysian soldier shouted for them to get out. some in Ahlfinger's group realized that one of the wounded Malaysians was still stuck inside the smoldering APC. Spec. Cliff Wolcott's Super 61. Stranded now.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Lepre said a silent prayer. were considered a little bit crazy. who was about to turn 2. in the chest by a sniper. with a line of vehicles behind them.who. He kissed the picture and said: ``Babe. Parent had to choose. Drew Meyerowich. Lepre heard his APC enveloped by the storm and thought. The convoy split into two companies. they didn't realize it when the driver took a wrong turn and they.html mounting storm of gunfire and explosions pinging off the sides of the vehicle. No one inside could see anything. went rolling off in the wrong direction. I hope you have a wonderful life. unable to communicate with the main column. Sgt. He dragged the man out of the vehicle and pulled him back to cover. They found they were stranded in a radio dead zone. screaming at the top of his lungs. Parent commanded two men. The convoy was so big that Capt. men. was in the second APC with eight other American soldiers. The dim light in the back went out. Say a prayer. A Malaysian was driving. saw from a humvee further back in the column that the vehicles had made a wrong turn. Somalis had mined such barricades. firing thousands of rounds in all directions. Holy s-. They saw the bright glow of its guns in the black sky over the city. a wound that he would die from a few days later in Germany.'' They blazed through the ambushes.processtext. The Malaysian driver leading the northbound platoon drew to a stop in front of a flimsy barricade. Then something big hit. Richard Parent to send someone out to get the Malaysian.

1997 CAPT. He couldn't bear seeing Martin lying out with his trousers pulled down like that. man.'' he said to Martin. Lepre shot his M-16 over the heads of an approaching crowd. Lepre and his team were hunkered down. taking heavy fire from a nearby building. ``Sorry.processtext.'' he called back to 23-year-old rifleman James Martin. Black Hawk Down Chapter 26 At rescue. http://www. He wondered what it felt like to get shot in the head and killed. and Lepre scrambled back for cover. The Somalis kept coming. Few of the guys wore underwear in tropical Mogadishu. Lepre and several other men got out and ran for cover. then started firing. ``Private. ``Medic! Get up here. and he wanted to move a few yards away for a better vantage to fire back. but otherwise the air had cleared of smoke and gunpowder. then turned. There were a few pops. He and his men had been pinned down for more than nine hours. He was pinned there for a long time. under heavy fire. hard. dragging the people he had hit. The moon was high and the shooting had all but stopped. gazing out on Martin's half-naked body.com/abclit. He worked on Martin for a few minutes. Lepre saw a small hole in his forehead. and the bitter aftertaste of the iodine . Lepre was behind a short wall. to help prevent shock. so he shot into them. and told Lepre: ``He's dead. and somehow responsible. Martin hustled up and crouched behind the wall.'' The medic dragged Martin's body over to the wall. inadvertently tugging the dead man's pants down around his knees. get over here and take my position.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and the crowd melted away. He pinched himself a couple of times. the trace of desert dust in the air.html So the soldiers piled out of the vehicles and began pulling the barricade apart by hand. MIKE STEELE KNEW this was the most dangerous time of the night. Lepre had moved only two steps away when Martin was hit in the head by a round that sent him sprawling backward. Despite the gunfire. He saw several people fall. he ran out and tried to pull Martin's pants back up and give the man some dignity. Now there was just that musky stench of Somalia. medic!'' he shouted. Would it feel like that? He felt terrible. For the next half hour. Two bullets struck the pavement next to where he stopped. A medic swooped over the downed man and began loosening his clothes. relief tinged with sorrow December 11. Lepre felt terrible. Spec.

html pills the soldiers had dissolved in the local water to purify it. and shooting at everything.processtext. ``Ranger! Ranger!'' ``Tenth Mountain Division. but keep your heads down. and listened. with two jumpy elements of soldiers about to link up in darkness in a confusing city. I'm the Ranger commander. sir. With that much shooting. we're from the 10th Mountain Division. The rescue column had brought along a quickie saw to cut the metal frame of the cockpit away from Wolcott's body. ``Where's your commander?'' Steele asked.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. for the umpteenth time that night. ``This is Capt. who was in a house a block north: ``I want everybody to back up out of the courtyards. 10 minutes. From time to time. Roger. You better believe it. The Commando soldiers would let them stroll and then drop them with a few quick shots. Steele radioed First Lt. It was ugly work. Steele stuck his head out the door. they are going to be coming in with heavy contact so be real careful.'' ``Roger. Perino called Capt. Five minutes passed. IT TOOK HOURS to pry pilot Cliff Wolcott's body from the wreck. http://www. Somalis would still inexplicably wander into the perimeter around Cliff Wolcott's wrecked helicopter. copy. Positions are marked at this time. When Steele heard vehicles making the turn onto Freedom Road. . the convoy troops were coming fast now. By the sound of it. over.'' came the response.'' The Rangers drew back like hermit crabs into their shells. They were all terrified of the 10th Mountain Division. Steele answered: Roger. the Little Birds would rumble in and unleash rockets and minigun fire. the biggest threat to his pinned-down men was their rescuers. Both men laughed.m.com/abclit. Word came from the command helicopter shortly before 2 a. 20 minutes. Now is a bad time. and to stay away from the doors and windows.'' a soldier answered. We are ready to move. Larry Perino. Everyone called out.'' Steele said. But the only noise that concerned Steele was the intensifying thunder of guns as the rescue column moved closer. Steele. regarded by many Rangers as poorly trained regular-Army schmoes. his men saw the dim outline of soldiers. start getting ready to get out of there. Steele: ``Where are they?'' ``Any minute now. just a small step removed from utterly incompetent civilianhood. OK.

Goodale leaned up toward the Malaysian driver.'' Down the street at Commando Capt. No. the vanguard of a convoy that stretched a half mile. hobbled painfully and was helped through the doors of an APC. who had been shot in the thigh and had a big exit wound on his buttock. Carlos Rodriguez out first. We're getting shot at. They all sat in the small dark space just staring silently at one another. http://www. waiting. we'll all have someplace to explode out of. We're going to get f-d up in this thing!'' There were about 200 Americans now in and around these two blocks of Mogadishu.Scott Miller's courtyard. Sgt. you don't understand this. Painted white. watching from a distance. It hurts to sit. one of the Commando team leaders. attaching chains to the front and back. ``You know what we should do.html but the cockpit was lined with a layer of Kevlar that just ate up the saw blade. parked in the center of the road. They couldn't see what was going on. ``Look.com/abclit. We stay. They turned away. the wounded men grew restless in the windowless chambers of the APCs. The dead were laid out on top of the armored personnel carriers. we're not staying! Let's get the f.'' ``Then lean or something. ``No. Mike Goodale. ``Hey.'' suggested one of the wounded D-boys. No. thought the D-boys were using the vehicles to tear Wolcott's body out. Goodale had only a small peek hole to see outside.'' he was told. they carried wounded Pfc. his D-boy buddy who had been shot in the head hours earlier. glanced up at the top of a vehicle and saw the soles of two small assault boots.processtext. Then they loaded the rest of the men. It had to be Earl Fillmore. and the wounded were loaded inside.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.out of here!'' ``No. First Class Paul Howe.'' There was bitter laughter. but also pain. I got shot in the ass. Sgt.'' ``No. ``We should kind of crack one of these doors a little bit so that if an RPG comes in here. As the hours stretched on. There was joy and relief for the 99 men who had been pinned down overnight.'' he said. the APCs might as well have been giant bull's-eyes. let's go. He took off his helmet and loosened his body armor. ``We need you to sit. . There was only one guy in the unit with boots that small. It was so warm he started feeling woozy. Some of the Rangers. ``Goddamnit. and they didn't understand the protracted delay. Next the soldiers tried to pull the copter apart. We stay.'' said the driver.

When the APC pulled in with Donovan Briley's body on top. A 10th Mountain medic leaned over and dropped ash from his cigarette as he tried to stick an IV needle into Goodale's arm. Goodale was laid out in the middle of the big stadium looking up at a clear blue sky with his pants cut off. bruised holes in their bodies. Pvt. One of the doctors gave him some hot tea.'' The medics and doctors cut off the bloody. The half-naked sergeant was stone white and shaking. He started shaking. That's how Sgt. Sgt. Spec. Blood poured out of Briley's head and down the white side of the carrier. . Cash had come in on the rescue convoy and was wandering wild-eyed through the makeshift field hospital looking for his friends. James Cavaco. . that there wasn't room enough on the vehicles for them to ride out of the city.com/abclit. now watched with horror as medics efficiently sorted the litters as they came off vehicles. Raleigh Cash found him. not long before he died. Helicopters with red crosses painted on the sides came and went. and he went down the list of wounded.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Ed Kallman.'' he had told him. Goodale with his bare wounded butt up in the air. He told him about the deaths of Sgt. Many unhurt men walked among the litters with tears in their eyes or with thousand-mile stares. His body was discolored. Randy Ramaglia. the exhausted remnants of Task Force Ranger who could still walk learned. http://www. Anderson ducked away. Richard ``Alphabet'' Kowalewski. to their dismay. Casey Joyce and Pfc. Spec. Cash flagged a nurse. . Anderson couldn't help watching as they slid the body off. Sgt. Spec. Terry Butler volunteered. returning fire down alleyways. He couldn't deal with it. Cash told Goodale what he had seen back at the hangar when the lost convoy came in. only one Ranger. he thought Goodale was a goner.processtext. They would have to run a half-mile back out to National Boulevard. Steve Anderson recoiled. Cash had seen Ruiz. Even though it was sunny and at least 90 degrees. John Stebbins riddled with shrapnel. Ramaglia . He was loaded onto a vehicle and driven the rest of the way to the soccer stadium that served as the Pakistani headquarters. he had to turn away. Briley had died in the crash of Super 61. guys with gaping. the wounded Ranger was suddenly chilled to the bone. who earlier had so thrilled at the chance to be in combat. James Lechner with his leg ripped open. Shot at all along the way. they covered the ground the same way they had come in.html When Cliff Wolcott's body was at last freed from the wreckage. the soccer pitch was covered with wounded men. limbs mangled. and through the deep gash in his head he could see brain matter spilled down the side of the carrier. Fillmore. who covered Goodale with a blanket and tucked it around him. running. poor Carlos Rodriguez with a bullet through his scrotum. exposing awful wounds. where a field hospital had been set up. At first sight. Lt. shuttling the wounded back to the main hospital by the hangar. It looked yellow-orange. Lorenzo Ruiz. Jamie Smith and Sgt. When the medics asked for help getting the body down. dirty clothes. leapfrogging intersections. ``You're going to be fine. At the stadium. Remarkably. Live in this group here. badly wounded. was badly injured. Pvt. ``Dead in that group there. Goodale told Cash about the deaths of Spec. the list went on and on.

No I'm not. Some of his men were in tears. my son. Chuck Elliott. others were chattering away as if they couldn't talk fast enough to get all their stories out. . Steele found a bottle of water and sat drinking it. All of the men on the bird sat silently. and then gave Stebbins the pack. A grenade explosion had shredded his fatigue pants. Had he made the right decisions? Had he done everything he could? One by one the wounded were loaded up and flown back to the hospital and hangar. He reached down and took a two-inch flap of cloth from Stebbins' shredded trousers and tried to place it over his genitals. Aaron Weaver brought him a hot cup of coffee. ``Bless you. Sgt.'' Sizemore saw two feet hanging out from under a sheet.'' Then they had taken him to the helicopter and flown him away. They had cut off the one pants leg and boot. They both burst into tears when they saw each other. Good work. Jamie Smith's pelvic wound. One was booted. Until reaching the stadium.com/abclit.'' said Elliott.processtext. ``There's Smitty. He had barely enough strength to form the words. First Class Sean Watson found him. Riding in the helicopter on the way back was very calming for Sizemore. Then Sizemore started telling Elliott about the dead and wounded Rangers from the lost convoy. The wind through the open doors and the view of city and sky and ocean felt safe and familiar. I hear you did your job. ``I know it's over for me. A Malaysian soldier gave him one. Sgt. ``Stebby.'' said Stebbins. naked from the waist down.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. overwhelmed with grief but unwilling to show much emotion before his men. ``Got any cigarettes?'' Weaver didn't. Smith was the only fatality Steele had known about for certain. ``What?'' ``That's Smith. but he wasn't sure yet how many.html ``No. His staff sergeant had told him there were others. the other bare.'' he said. alone with his thoughts. They both laughed. That's how he knew it was Smith. Don't worry about me. Elliott told him how he and others had taken turns for hours putting their fingers up inside Spec. watching as the dead were loaded onto helicopters. pinching the femoral artery. http://www. They sat and cried and talked. Stebbins began asking everyone who walked past. bent over to light it for him. Stebbins was set down among a group of his buddies. The first person Spec.'' Ruiz had said. The captain found a place to sit at the edge of a mortar pit and laid his rifle across his lap and just breathed deeply and swished the cool water in his mouth and tried to review all that had happened. Dale Sizemore found from his Chalk was Staff Sgt. Word came back not long afterward that he'd died. glad to find each other alive. Steele was badly shaken when he learned that more of his men were dead.

Steele laid his hand on him. on cots. The captain put a great store on maintaining at least a facade of emotional resilience. They were already at work. Navy ship in the distance. ``Where are they?'' Steele asked.'' ``You should feel sorry for them.html Spec. it was almost too much.'' Harris said. Phipps looked as if he'd been beaten with a baseball bat. One list of names ran the entire length of the page. Steele was aghast. here's what it looks like. The last soldier he saw was Cpl. He felt the experience had changed him in some fundamental way. ``Rangers lead the way. Some were still bandaged in the haphazard wraps given them during the fight. restocking ammo. He wondered if other guys were feeling this.'' Steele said.processtext.'' Ramaglia said. First Class Glenn Harris was waiting for him at the door. He choked out a few words of encouragement to each. `` 'cause we whipped ass. and Harris had started a second column at the top. the youngest of the Rangers on the search-and-rescue helicopter. .'' Steele stripped off his gear and walked across to the field hospital. http://www. Sgt. sir. It was as if he were seeing things through someone else's eyes. a medic leaned over him and said: ``Man. To suddenly lift up and see the whole city stretching under him. there was red where the whites normally were. but the scene in the hospital nearly reduced him to tears. returning the salute. When he opened his eyes. Colors seemed brighter to him. This one ran almost to the bottom. Saying more would have tapped the well of grief deep in his throat. One-third of his company had either been killed or injured.S. ``Phipps?'' The soldier stirred. he didn't know how to ask. ``You're going to be OK. and there were stains from his oozing wounds. They were ready to go right back out. Shawn Nelson looked out over the blue ocean at a U. ``Most are at the hospital. checking their gear. on the floor. handing over a green sheet of paper. Guys were lying everywhere. Capt. His back and leg were heavily bandaged. sir. He saluted. a reminder of how small Mogadishu was in the larger scheme of things.com/abclit. Steele finally got the accurate casualty list when he returned to the hangar.'' The D-boys had gotten an early chopper lift back to the hangar.'' . cleaning their weapons. His face was swollen twice its normal size and was black and blue. but it was so weird . Steele felt strange looking down at the city where they had just fought. His whole world had been so tightly focused for so long on two blocks of Mogadishu. to see the beach and the ocean in morning sunlight.'' ``All the way. I feel sorry for you all. ``Sir. smells more vivid. When Ramaglia was loaded onto a bird. Rob Phipps.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. .

He put it in a tin can. The Rangers all wandered back into the hangar.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Don't go back out without me.'' Steele nodded and fled the room. http://www. he had been attacked and carried off by angry Somalis who had overrun his downed helicopter crew and two Commando sergeants who had fought to protect them. pale.processtext.html Phipps reached up and grabbed the captain's arm. The others were all dead. which was closed. sunlight and sounds filtered in through crosses cut into the concrete of the walls. The room had no furniture and only one door. It must have passed right through his friend's body and been stopped by the plate in front. He had not slept. He smelled of blood and powder and sweat. sharing stories. He had no idea where he was in Mogadishu. Joyce's vest he found the bullet. 4. 1997 MICHAEL DURANT heard birds singing and the voices of children at play. who had helped his friend Casey Joyce into his flak vest the previous afternoon. It was Monday. It had a clean hole in the upper back. His right leg ached where the femur was broken. He unzipped the body bag and gazed for a long time at his friend's pinched. ``Sir. Oct. but Durant did not know this. but the sounds and the sunlight beaming through holes in the concrete walls seemed at stark odds with everything that had happened hours before. Black Hawk Down Chapter 27 Durant's ordeal of agony and terror December 12. Guys sometimes stuffed pictures or love letters inside. the morning of a day Durant thought he would never see. Air. amazed by the sudden emptiness of it. Then he leaned over and kissed his forehead. The previous evening. Shawn Nelson. I'll be OK in a couple of days. In the front of Sgt. now examined the bloody thing. and he could feel the ooze of blood inside his pants . Spec. captive Blackhawk pilot was flat on his back on a cool tile floor in a small octagonal room with no windows. There was a dusty odor.com/abclit. The injured. He rooted through the pockets. compiling an oral history of the previous 18 hours. Many of the men talked. lifeless face. Watson walked over to the morgue to see Smith one last time. Sgt.

The Somalis holding him grew more and more agitated. It did not hurt that badly. He heard them shouting. and he was shaken by how powerful and frightening it was. and it had calmed him briefly. The men in the vehicle were freelance street fighters. He figured he'd crushed a vertebra in the crash. One of the men spoke some English. He had been driven around for a while. He was sweating so that when he relaxed his hand it slid easily from the chain. If the Habr Gidr leader. They considered the injured pilot not a war prisoner to be traded for captured Habr Gidr leaders. watching the scene from outside himself. He listened to the . bandits not aligned with any clan. The birdsong made him think he was in a garden. the Habr Gidr. The kidnappers had placed Durant in this room. He heard shooting and thought he was about to be rescued. The truck would go and then stop. They had wrapped it around his hands.'' Durant couldn't understand the rest of their words. Durant had passed out when he was carried off. The pilot had no way of knowing. Whoever had the bigger guns prevailed. and several times they barged in to threaten him. The children's voices made him think of an orphanage. During the long night the pilot heard the roaring guns of the giant rescue column blazing its way into the city. During the long night he had worked one hand free. go and then stop. There was a furious gunfight outside. Mo'Alim's men were outnumbered and outgunned. where they intended to contact leaders of his clan. but he had been kidnapped from Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim. so clearly the severed bone had not punctured an artery. This was the way things were in Mogadishu. He knew there was one in northern Mogadishu. It had given him his first sense of triumph. But the feeling hadn't lasted long. He guessed it was about three hours after the crash when they'd brought him to this place. He didn't know if that was good or bad. He'd been thrown roughly into the back of a flatbed truck with a rag tied around his head. http://www. he would have to pay for him. Ranger. He could hear the low.html where the bone had poked through his flesh in the manhandling he'd endured. At one point he heard several armored personnel carriers roll right past outside. His back was what really bothered him. removed the rag. His captors were all young men. He was still alive. The Somalis had bound him with a metal dog chain. so they reluctantly turned Durant over. He could wipe the dirt from his nose and eyes and straighten his broken leg somewhat and get a little more comfortable. He'd felt himself leaving his body. He said. They knew somebody would pay to get him back. He had fought back in some small way. Their weapons were rusted and poorly maintained. Mohamed Farrah Aidid. the neighborhood militia leader who had spared him from the attacking crowd. He had never been on the receiving end of a barrage.com/abclit.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and that this strange room was some kind of garden house.processtext. You die Somalia. and chained him. pounding sound of a Mark 19 and the explosions of what sounded like TOW missiles. wanted the pilot back. ``You kill Somalis. so they were carrying him when they were intercepted by a Land Cruiser with a big gun mounted on the back. but he gathered they intended to shoot him before letting the approaching Americans take him back. which were pulled together on his stomach. but a hostage. and bound him with the chain. Mo'Alim and his men had been trying to take Durant back to their village. Durant couldn't walk. The explosions came closer. Then he wrapped his hand back into the chain so his captors wouldn't know. or killed.

The pictures showed jubilant Somalis bouncing on the rotor blades of Super 64. A bit of shrapnel had entered his leg. It was ugly and savage. They had been so close! Soon dawn came. Eyeing his shoulder he saw the back end of a round protruding from his skin. The bullet was still hot. He slid his hand free of the chain and tried to wrench the bullet from his shoulder. They were dragging a body through the street at the end of a rope. No more rules of engagement. He was snapping pictures of the helicopter wreckage when he heard the sounds of an excited crowd and ran to it. Tuesday. kicking and poking at the lifeless form. but when his fingers touched the round they sizzled and he winced with pain. Commando Sgt. Paul Howe was ready. watched the screen with disgust and anger. no more toeing some abstract moral line. He found himself.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. A great deal of damage had been done to buildings around the crash site nearest the Olympic Hotel. He felt safer than at any moment since the crowd had closed on him. The aching and tired Rangers and Commando soldiers.html pitched fighting with terror and hope.processtext. He'd had enough. http://www. and then showed a thing almost too wounding and terrible to watch. feeling abject at their departure. Durant's helicopter. 5. he was going to kill as many Somalis as he could. The Somalis had a dead American soldier draped across a wheelbarrow. despite the danger. Oct. they had to see. Bodies had been pulled off the streets. He thought. They had bodies. and the men went back out to the hangar and cleaned their weapons and waited for orders that would send them back out. It was an automatic move.com/abclit. He was going to cut a gruesome path through these people. Durant was still frightened and uncomfortable and very thirsty. crew members from the helicopter or Commando soldiers. it was hard to tell from the angles and distances of the camera shots. The bearded lawyer had come down to the Bakara Market after the shooting to witness and photograph the aftermath. BASHIR HAJI YUSUF was disgusted and ashamed by what he saw. He felt the impact on his left shoulder and his left leg. many bandaged and bruised. on CNN. Then a gun barrel poked around the door. but the sunlight and the birds and children calmed him. There was something on the TV. Then the sounds marched on and faded away. If he was going back out. Something horrible. bloated and stiff. WORD SPREAD QUICKLY through the hangar back at the base early the next morning. lesson learned: Wait until it cools off. . It evidently had hit the floor first and had ricocheted into him without fully penetrating. Durant caught the motion out of the corner of his eye and turned his head just as the barrel flamed and the room rang with the sound of a shot. but he saw dead donkeys on the road. Bodies of these men's brothers. a reflex. It had burned his fingertips.

. his right leg broken. too.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The lawyer wanted to stop it.'' one of the Saudis said. It was a festival of blood. administrator. retired Adm. still flat on his aching back on a tile floor in a small octagonal room. 1997 IN THE FIRST DAY of captivity. Jonathan Howe. who climbed back into their vehicles and left. with a bullet wound now in his shoulder. He followed the crowd for a few blocks. vehicles encountered the crowd pulling the dead American by the K-4 Circle.N. why are you doing this? Aren't you a human being?'' One of the Somalis pointed his rifle at the soldier. ``You can fight and the Americans can fight.'' one of the young Somalian ringleaders said.html Bashir stayed on the fringes of the angry crowd.'' Durant said. but this man is dead. and the men were shouting and laughing. Durant's battered face December 13. ``We have Animal Howe. These people were wild with anger and revenge.N. He wanted to step up to the men with the ropes and remind them that the Koran teaches respect for the dead. Blackhawk pilot Mike Durant was asked by his captors to make a video. But he was afraid for himself so he stayed back.processtext.'' ``But why do you do this?'' the soldier demanded. Some in the crowd began shouting at the Saudis: ``Leave here! Leave it alone! The people are angry. The crowd had grown quite large. Then the people took the body of the soldier from the wheelbarrow and began dragging it in the dirt. A contingent of Saudi Arabian soldiers in U. http://www. ``No. ``We will kill you.com/abclit. ``What are you doing?'' asked one of the Saudi soldiers. then slipped away and went home. Women were screaming curses. ``This is an American soldier. He snapped a few pictures. Why do you drag him?'' Angry men in the crowd again threatened the Saudis. They might kill you. referring to the hated American U. ``If he is dead. Black Hawk Down Chapter 28 On TV. clearly shocked.'' he said.

Hundreds of Somalis dead. One of the guys. Before the fight started. and recover the body. http://www. the Volunteer Hospital was almost empty. The wounded had started coming in early the evening before. On the TV screen came horrible images of a dead American soldier being dragged through the city's dusty streets by angry crowds. If they wanted to make a video. Eighteen dead soldiers. America had awakened to a tragedy in Mogadishu. It was just a trickle at first. wives had called with the first drop of bad news: ``One of the guys has been killed. No one said a word.com/abclit. just mow them all down. had received word at 10 the night before. There was a big crowd around the body. One of the other Fort Bragg. He was going back out into the city to look for his brothers. She had talked on the phone with Randy on Friday night. It would be a massacre.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The pilots wanted to mow them down. speaking to the world from captivity. scouring the area for his friends. AT VOLUNTEER HOSPITAL. He wanted to know who had made the decision to undertake this mission. 4. he said no. he had said nothing about what was going on. loving man. and he was getting a great tan. and most people were afraid to venture out. Why hadn't he been informed? ``How could this happen?'' he demanded. according to an account in Elizabeth Drew's book On the Edge. He was horrified and angry.html He was surprised they'd asked. despite the great volume of gunfire. Sgt. He was such a gentle. N. a Monday. When the rescue convoy couldn't reach Durant's crash site. and the American helicopters were buzzing low and shooting. Now he was dressed as a civilian.C. just that it was hot. It was Oct. surgeon Abdi Mohamed Elmi was covered with blood and exhausted. At the hangar in Mogadishu. It seemed so odd how he made a living. But. First Class John Macejunas was getting ready to go back out. Stephanie Shughart.'' One of the guys. As usual.processtext. the wife of Commando soldier Randy Shughart. He told her he loved her. Some of the men turned away. alive or dead. After the trouble had started with the Americans. There were burning roadblocks throughout the city. land.. The Rangers who saw him were in awe of the man's courage and cool. But the commanders said no. he was getting enough to eat. It was located down near the Americans' base by the airport. most Somalis were . They crowded into the back room and watched it replay on the screen. It was safer not to be in that position. President Clinton was in a hotel room in San Francisco when he saw the pictures. the men had watched the dead soldier being dragged through the streets. More than 70 wounded. since they asked. they were going to anyway. The blond Commando had gone out into the fight three or four times the day and night before. Macejunas had led a small squad to the site on foot. a journalist. that he was a warrior.

It had been a full day since he crashed and was carried off in an angry swarm of Somalis. trying to get him to tell them more about who he was and what his unit was trying to do in Somalia. The Somalis considered all the Americans with the task force to be Rangers. When the camera was turned on. ``Innocent people being killed is not good. dying in horrible pain.allowed infections to set in that could no longer be successfully treated with what antibiotics the hospital could spare.'' the interviewer insisted. Men had been questioning him on and off all day. Durant had been trained to undergo trials such as this. Oct. . not confrontational. http://www. ``You kill people innocent. A French relief worker who saw him sitting down approached him angrily.html afraid to come there. Elmi was part of a team of seven surgeons who worked straight through without a break. to be cagey. The three-bed operating theater at Volunteer had been full and busy all through the night. The delay in getting them to the hospital . Elmi sat on a bench smoking a cigarette quietly.m. The key was to offer as little information as possible. He was hungry. a lot of lights. He was a pilot. The hospital was filled with the chilling screams and moans of broken people. and at least 200 more wounded would be lined in the hallways. and sat down to rest.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He would not sleep for another 24 hours. There were about 10 young men in the crew. He sat until his cigarette was finished.com/abclit. bleeding. Doctors and nurses ran in the hallways.'' Durant told him. all 500 beds in the hospital would be full. ``Why don't you help these people?'' she shouted at him. They set up lights.. 4. and Durant was determined to abide by it. By the end of this day. There was a code of conduct spelling out what he could say and what he couldn't say. the interviewer began pressing him on the same points. Only one of the crew spoke to him. trying to keep up. He had assisted in 18 major surgeries by sunrise. dismembered. thirsty and still terrified. He finally walked out of the operating room at 8 a. DURANT'S CAPTORS showed up with a camera crew that evening.processtext. It was like some tidal wave of gore. Oct. Then he stood and went back to work. ``No. His face was bloody and swollen from where a militiaman had smacked him in the face with the butt of a rifle. The numbers were even greater at Digfer.'' he said. dozens. His interrogators were not very skillful. 4. She stormed away.'' Durant said. Most of those with gut wounds would die.many more would come today than came yesterday . I'm not a Ranger. and the hallways outside were rapidly filling with more. hundreds more. The man spoke fairly good English. ``I can't. And Volunteer wasn't the biggest hospital in the city.

and he cleaned off the end of the bone and the tissue around it.'' the propaganda minister for clan leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Black Hawk Down Chapter 29 The final chapter: Freeing a pilot. just some aspirin. and he spoke English well. They brought him to a little apartment and left him in the care of a tall. bloody face.'' Firimbi was a big man for a Somali. It was terribly painful.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. 1997 IT WAS ON THE SECOND NIGHT of his captivity in Mogadishu that Blackhawk pilot Michael Durant was brought to Abdullahi Hassan. a man they called ``Firimbi. the same shall be done to you. Durant's swollen. http://www. When the doctor left. would soon be in newspapers and on the covers of newsmagazines worldwide. It was Abdullahi Hassan. and squinted through thick. He told Durant he had been trained at the University of Southern California. He apologized for the limited supplies he had with him. After the camera crew left. He was loaded into the back of a car. a doctor showed up. Durant was moved from the room where he had awakened that morning to the sounds of birds and children. He was told. He had a pot belly. some antiseptic solution and some gauze. Those were the words people all over the world would be seeing on their TVs the next day. ending a mission December 14.'' Once Aidid's men had purchased Durant back from the bandits who had kidnapped him. a man he would come to know well over the next 10 days. "If any harm comes to the pilot. even with simple fractures. pot-bellied man with thick glasses. but the pilot was grateful. frightened look in his eye. He used forceps and gauze and the solution to gently probe Durant's leg wound.'' . tall with long arms and big hands. It was sharply painful. where the broken femur poked through the skin. Two men got into the car and sat on him. lifted off the videotape. Firimbi was put in charge of his safekeeping. His was compound. the man known as "Firimbi. and he had been lying on a dirty floor all night and day.html That was the best they got out of him. It had swelled badly. but the warlord had paid his ransom. and the slightest move was torture. with his dark hair sticking straight up. and a wild. He was warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's "propaganda minister.com/abclit. Durant didn't know it. black-framed glasses.processtext. His leg was moving all over the place. and a blanket was placed over him. He knew enough about wounds to know that a femur infection was relatively common. He was kind.

Durant heard American helicopters flying overhead. . Samuel R. Do not think we have left you.com/abclit. The men who brought him carried him up steps and along a walkway and set him down in a room. That night. Battle of Mogadishu. FORMER U. Christopher. no one from the White House or State Department had consulted him. http://www. plainspoken intellectual with a distinguished career in diplomacy. He wanted answers to a broad range of questions from policy to military tactics. national security adviser to President Clinton. He had no idea where he was. Until this raid. and several advisers. He had left in March along with 20. 3. Albright. The day after the Oct. He passed word along that Durant needed a doctor. Ambassador to the U. Berger.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but the pilot didn't answer. Oct.html Durant arrived at night. "Can you come to breakfast tomorrow at 7:30?'' Lake asked. Tony?'' Oakley said. had become swollen and infected. had been President George Bush's top civilian in Mogadishu during the humanitarian mission that had begun the previous December and eventually ended the famine. and he was angry. angry. Since his return. He complained bitterly to Lake. Oakley had watched with dismay the course of events in Mogadishu. How had this happened? Why were American soldiers dying in far-off Somalia? These were the same questions that Clinton was asking his aides. Aspin. At the breakfast table in the East Wing on Oct. Madeleine K. Clinton had been briefed on missions in advance.'' Lake said. we are with you always. Firimbi helped wash him and bandage his wounds. broadcasting haunting calls: Mike Durant. we will not leave you. Durant's wounds. This one had been mounted so quickly he had not been informed.S. "I've been home for six months. a gaunt.processtext. 1993. It was Anthony Lake. The White House was in trouble. Mike Durant. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and Secretary of State Warren Christopher had been grilled by angry members of Congress.'' Oakley. Then they walked with Oakley into the Oval Office.N.S. In the drive through the city he had been under a blanket in the backseat. Mike. and U. Despite his long experience there. "Why. 6 were Lake and his deputy. 4. where they joined the President. the vice president. 5 when he got a phone call from the White House. a compound-fractured right leg and a wounded shoulder. He felt he had been blindsided. Monday. Firimbi greeted him. "I need to talk to you first thing in the morning. the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. AMBASSADOR to Somalia Robert Oakley was at a party at the Syrian Embassy in Washington on Oct.000 Marines. frightened and in pain.

was in a meeting at a bank in Long Valley.'' she said. his wife. Jamie has been killed. How did he feel? How did they think he felt? He told them he was proud of his son and deeply saddened. Jamie Smith. Army? Somalia? God? . his son was superbly trained and led. William F. http://www.N. Whom did he blame? The U.'' When Jim got home. looking for a way to track him down. Gen. trying to make the words sink in. "No. When everyone in his immediate family had been given the news.. Intelligence reports were that Aidid supporters were fleeing the city. thought Aidid had been struck a mortal blow.processtext.'' But Smith knew. they know. 4. There would be no negotiating with Aidid.J. All efforts to capture Aidid would be called off. He had been a Ranger captain in Vietnam. head of the U. when. Staying in Mogadishu to pursue Aidid was out of the question. Smith walked out in the front yard to answer questions. She had phoned the boss' home number.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. commander of Task Force Ranger. and Maj. had felt this was urgent. "If they say he's dead. But it was clear that America had lost its stomach for anything further in Somalia.but would make a dignified withdrawal by March 1994. Durant was being held captive. effort there. Task Force Ranger. He knew that in a tight unit such as his son's in Mogadishu. even though retired Adm. their arsenals of rocket-propelled grenades expended. on Monday. "There are two officers here. Did he think his son had been properly trained and led? Yes. would stay on . oddly. offering to dump Aidid. N.'' Camera crews began to arrive within hours.'' he told his wife quietly. the father of Ranger Cpl. Now.S. Oakley was dispatched to Mogadishu to deliver this message and to try to secure the release of Durant.html The meeting lasted six hours. Carol told him: "Maybe they're wrong. "I just got a call from Carol. Carol. his boss' wife walked into the conference room. Jonathan Howe. and lost a leg in combat. Oakley was instructed to deliver a stern message: The President of the United States wanted the pilot released. The thrust of the discussion was: What do we do now? An American soldier's body had been dragged through the streets by jeering Somalis. Oct. and Congress was demanding withdrawal. He was repulsed by the attitude of the reporters and the kinds of questions they asked. Garrison. Maybe Jamie is just missing. they wouldn't notify the family of death unless they had his son's body in hand. Hundreds of Somalis were dead. The public was outraged.com/abclit. reinforced to make a show of military resolve. Others were sending peace feelers. You have to come home.'' Obviously. Eighteen soldiers were dead and 73 wounded. Smith will always remember her next words. The meeting ended with a decision: America was pulling out. "What's the matter?'' he asked when Carol answered his return call. JIM SMITH. and that it wouldn't take much to finish the job. "Call home.

The two women drank coffee and watched CNN. She pictured her husband in some clearing. when one of the other Commando wives had spread the word: "One of our guys has been killed. Stephanie's hopes soared. with every parent who ever lost a son in battle: "THIS CONFIRMS PERSONAL NOTIFICATION MADE TO YOU BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. that his son was a soldier. But when proof came that Durant was alive and being held captive. One was a close friend. SPC JAMES E. ON OCTOBER 3. Tim "Grizz" Martin. that Monday morning. She prayed and prayed. A Mailgram arrived two days later with a stark message signed by a colonel he didn't know. They just weren't showing him on camera. Oct. she thought. They're hiding somewhere. All were dead. N. signaling for a chopper. Randy would be fine. It was hell. Then word came that Gary Gordon's body had been recovered. This is it. "Randy is missing in action.He's dead. even though he knew its contents before reading the words. and that he died serving his country. Surely they had Randy. She was determined not to despair. too. He was the most competent man alive. If anybody could come through it alive. and she had heard the reports out of Mogadishu. she felt even better. When her friend told her that Randy had gone in with Gary Gordon. http://www.com/abclit.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Her mental image of Somalia was of a jungle. She went to the funerals of the other soldiers. Stephanie opened it to two men from her husband's secret Commando unit.html Smith told them that he didn't know enough about what happened yet to blame anybody.'' Stephanie and her boss were talking when two silhouettes appeared outside the door.processtext. at Fort Bragg. their bodies horribly mutilated. Stephanie had been in an agony of suspense since the day before. She had called her boss to say she wouldn't be in for work . Eventually all the missing men except Shughart had been accounted for."a family emergency. Then there were the horrible images of a dead soldier being dragged through the streets. 1993.'' STEPHANIE SHUGHART had finally received word about her husband.C. Later that day notification arrived at Fort Bragg of more deaths: Sgt. THAT YOUR SON. it was those two. Wives and parents and siblings were examining newspaper photos and squinting at TV images. trying to determine who the soldier was.'' Her boss knew that Randy was in the Army. ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO YOUR CASUALTY ASSISTANCE OFFICER. DIED AT MOGADISHU. sat and grieved with the other wives. SOMALIA. One day there were two funerals. Stephanie asked her father to stay with her. Her friends took turns keeping her company. . PLEASE ACCEPT MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY IN YOUR BEREAVEMENT. This went on for days. She drove straight over to the Shugharts' house. 4. When she saw a car pull into her driveway with a priest inside. she knew.'' her friend said. It resonated powerfully with Smith. Earl Fillmore and Master Sgt. Randy Shugart. It joined him in a sad ritual as old as war itself. SMITH.

Durant said he would. one for himself. being a nurse. he would improve the image of Somalis in America upon his release.'' Firimbi said. After being at the center of that enraged mob on the day he crashed. At the burial there was such a crush of photographers and reporters that she couldn't spend a few quiet moments alone at the grave to say good-bye. he mostly feared being discovered by the Somalian public. Firimbi loved his khat . It was a fear shared by Firimbi.'' she said. Mike Durant. The military discouraged her from viewing Randy's body . It was something Durant worked at. languages similar enough for them to minimally communicate. broadcasting. part of his survival training. The "propaganda minister'' had clearly grown fond of him.'' That's what the boys called it. At first he was fed stale MREs .and. Firimbi gestured toward Durant. "Randy's body has been returned and identified. Firimbi spoke Italian and Durant spoke some Spanish. The two men were together day and night for a week. After Durant told him what the words meant. When the guard left. The pilot humored his jailer. When Durant couldn't sleep because of his pain. He nodded at the guard. When the helicopters flew over at night. He made Durant promise that when he was released he would tell how well-treated he had been. indulging his whims. http://www.'' The guard looked at him quizzically. When the man returned he began dividing the khat into three equal portions.processtext. "Four. For instance. Firimbi considered Durant a prisoner of war. Randy told her he wanted to be buried at home in Newville.'' "Are you sure?'' he asked. He believed that by treating the pilot humanely. One day he handed cash to a guard and sent him to purchase more. too. Del. Firimbi and another guard. Pa. she asked: "Could you tell it was him?'' He shook his head no. Durant quickly figured out what his jailer was up to. Two of her friends from Commando had to escort her out of the ceremony to keep the press away. When he came back. winking at Durant and flashing an enormous grin. Stephanie knew why.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.com/abclit. either.. where the body had been flown. "No.html "They're here. She sent a friend to Dover. Randy and Stephanie had had the "death talk. asking him questions. MIKE DURANT'S FEAR of being executed or tortured eased after several days in captivity. "Your friends are looking for you.the plant Somalis chewed as a stimulant. Firimbi scooped up the two piles for himself. Dad. Firimbi couldn't sleep. Firimbi identified so strongly with the pilot that when Durant refused food.'' Firimbi asked for a translation. "His body was intact.'' he told her. he refused food. indicating he wanted a cut of khat. She was sure. Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon would be awarded the Medal of Honor. Firimbi complained: "But we treat you so nicely!'' A doctor had set Durant's broken leg in a cast.

Durant was still choked up from the session with Hofstadter.com/abclit. told his family he was doing OK. scratched out the initials. Durant's hopes soared. Durant said something he would later regret: "Too many innocent people are getting killed. It was powerfully reassuring to hear those English voices coming from his own world. which was uncomfortable and embarrassing. He wrote that he was doing OK. the wraparound skirt worn by Somalian men. His first visitor was Suzanne Hofstadter. "NSDQ. and tried to reassure him. Suddenly the room was cleaned and the bedsheets were changed. Durant weighed talking to them. In the letter Durant described his injuries. After five miserable days in captivity. Huband and Smith had brought a recorder. and he was given a small black plastic radio with a volume so low he had to hold it up to his ear. Durant took her hand and held on tight. He described the crash and his capture. http://www. "Sure. Huband felt great pity for Durant. redressed his wounds. I .'' Later. Durant got visitors. People are angry because they see civilians getting killed. He had held her hand until the last moment.processtext. That radio became his lifeline. He still didn't know the fate of his crew or Commando soldiers Shughart and Gordon. who had roped down to save him. and reports about his captivity. bare-chested. and why so many people had died. to lessen their worry for him. Red Cross officials. At the bottom of this note he wrote. Then he asked Firimbi if he could write another letter to his buddies at the hangar. unwilling to see her leave. cryptically. He wanted his family and his unit to know as much as possible about what had happened. "I want a plane ticket to the United States. "What do you want?'' he kept asking Durant. Perfume was sprayed around the room. After Hofstadter left. obviously injured and in pain.'' "Do you want a radio?'' Firimbi asked him. Then the woman who owned the house slaughtered a goat and offered him a meal of meat and spaghetti. Then Huband asked why the battle had happened. He was trying to convey in a lighthearted way that he was OK. Durant didn't have much time to think. two reporters were ushered in: Briton Mark Huband of the Guardian and Stephen Smith from the French newspaper Liberation. concerned about violating their strict neutrality by passing along what might be a coded message. All she had brought with her were forms with which he could write a letter. He finally agreed to discuss only the things that had happened to him since the crash.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He could hear the BBC World Service. They told him he didn't have to say anything. He wrote that he was craving a pizza. Firimbi helped keep the bedridden pilot clean.'' Durant said. and asked them to pray for the others. and gave him a clean shirt and a ma-awis. and told them not to touch the bottle of Jack Daniels in his rucksack. Huband found the pilot lying flat on his back. and his jailer said yes.html (Meals Ready to Eat). Durant developed a bad case of diarrhea. a Norwegian who worked for the International Red Cross. Firimbi cleaned him up.

Durant rallied a day later when he heard his wife Lorrie's voice on the BBC. . At the end Lorrie said loudly and firmly: "Like you always say.S. She had made a statement to the press. Then he told them that President Clinton wanted Durant released immediately. . "I'll do my best to see that these people are released. including the two most important men taken on Oct. 8. Mike. .com/abclit. Once the fighting starts. It referred to the cryptic initials Durant had penned at the bottom of his note . "So what we'll decide is we have to rescue him. which was carried on CNN as well.'' but then he laid out a chilling scenario. but that's what will happen. but we will decide that we have to rescue him. He told the Habr Gidr leaders that the U.'' It was that "Things have gone wrong'' line that haunted him after the reporters left.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Americans mean well. all restraint on the U. 3. cats. side goes. everything. "You'll see for yourself over time that it's true. "I'll even talk to the President about it. The top men. the works.still visible despite the Red Cross scratches. He met instead with the warlord's clan. but I can't promise anything.'' He grew depressed. Who was he to pronounce a verdict on the American mission? He should have just said. He .'' Oakley was careful to say. I guarantee you we are not going to pay or trade for him in any way.S. . and that Task Force Ranger's original mission had ended. Durant is not released? Not only will you lose any credit you may get now. Just look at the stuff coming in here now. and whether we have the right place or the wrong place. but what will happen if a few weeks go by and Mr. The Somalis were adamant. without conditions. . but he felt he had stepped over a line by saying it. but only after you've released Durant. Things have gone wrong. tanks. ``This is not a threat. all this pent-up anger is going to be released. who offered to hand the pilot right over. He offered it as friendly advice. http://www. That was the Somalian way. Omar Salad and Mohammed Hassan Awale. gunships . donkeys. Oakley asked them to delay for a few hours to give him time to leave the country. That would really be tragic for all of us. children. This whole part of the city will be destroyed. His message of defiance had gotten through. dogs. camels. women. were being held in a makeshift prison camp on an island off the coast. We did try to help. . He really did believe things had gone wrong. Aidid was still in hiding. shape or form. Night Stalkers Don't Quit.processtext.html don't think anyone who doesn't live here can understand what is going wrong here. goats. An aircraft carrier. . the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The minute the guns start again. in hiding. Task Force Ranger had rounded up 60 or 70 men from their leadership. "I have no plan for this. The Somalis were skeptical. military operation against Aidid was over. Any release of Durant would have to involve a trade.'' Oakley said.'' The Somalis delivered his message and "friendly advice'' to Aidid. . and I'll do everything I can to prevent it.'' This was actually not something Durant said often. there's going to be a fight with your people.'' Oakley said. It was the motto of his unit. WHEN ROBERT OAKLEY arrived in Mogadishu on Oct. men. ``I'm a soldier and I do what I'm told.

One of them. code-named ``Yogi the Bear'' by the Americans. a coincidence the general is said to note with a wink. He was carried on a litter through hundreds of men in desert fatigues. It had been the biggest firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. Nobody did anything wrong militarily inMogadishu . so he scratched out the words with his left hand. If a victory for either side. and he flew back to Washington.com/abclit. All of the men from Task Force Ranger and everyone else now based at the hangar turned out to salute him. who had approved sending Task Force Ranger toMogadishu . Sometimes the bear gets you!'' CHAPTER 1: HAIL MARY.'' To this day. No one expected a large number of soldiers to get killed. 14. but also a day of sadness. Most of the wounded men who fought with Durant had already been flown home by Oct.html told them to turn Durant over to Howe. They had a bad afternoon. two men who were as little known after the fight as they had been before it. Every man who fought was back home within a month. THERE WAS A PARADE of sorts on the day Durant was released. Durant was the only member of his four-man crew and two Commando defenders to return. American soldiers had fought valiantly and well. clutching his unit's red beret. Mohamed Farrah Aidid. It was a day of joy and enormous relief. but the price paid that day effectively endedAmerica 's mission toSomalia . He died on the same day Garrison retired from the Army. He couldn't write with his right hand. Powell. THEN DOOM . added a final entry to the diary he kept during the mission. said in an interview this year: "Bad things happen in war.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. was killed in factional fighting in 1996. Is 18 a large number? People didn't start noticing inVietnam until it was 500 a week. or "The Day of the Rangers. He wrote: "Sometimes you get the bear. many inMogadishu honor Oct. an IV in his arm. the day he was released. All for the capture of Omar Salad and Mohammed Hassan Awale. a turret gunner who had been shot in the right arm. Pfc. it was certainly a Pyrrhic one. Eighteen Americans dead and 73 wounded. More than 500 Somalis dead and at least a thousand injured. 3 as Ma-alinti Rangers. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin L.processtext.'' They regard it as a national victory. President Clinton would accept Oakley's plea on behalf of the Somalian leaders and order the release several weeks later of every Somali captured by Task Force Ranger. Clay Othic. http://www.

three miles away at the Ranger's base on theMogadishu beach. it was the beginning of the longest day of his life. http://www. Commandos.Somalia .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He was unconscious and bleeding from the nose and ears. had already roped in. had challenged theUnited States of America . the nation's elite commando unit. Amen.Oct.Eversmann's Chalk Four was part of a company of U. The raid was barely under way. Nearing the street.S. . The rest of his Chalk. . MattEversmann's lanky frame was fully extended on the rope for what seemed too long on the way down. ForEversmann . through the swirling dust below his feet. He had prayed silently during Mass at the mess hall that morning. Just 13 minutes before. a dozen men in tan. now.Va. so his eyes chafed in the thick cloud of dust stirred up by the bird's rotors. It was such a long descent that the thick nylon rope burned right through the palms of his leather gloves. Pray for us sinners.com/abclit. Rangers assisting a commando squadron that was about to descend on a gathering ofHabrGidr clan leaders in the heart ofMogadishu. desert camouflage fatigues. . 3. Todd Blackburn. and at the hour of our death.Eversmann had said a Hail Mary at liftoff. His goggles had broken. wasEversmann's Chalk. . Now he added one more. led by warlord MohamedFarrahAidid . his squad. Before him. leading men into combat for the first time. Somebody's been shot already! He gripped the rope hard to keep from landing on top of the guy.Twelve men.Eversmann was a full 70 feet above the streets ofMogadishu . He felt a stab of despair.html STAFF SGT. a five-year veteran fromNatural Bridge. He was curled into a seat between two helicopter crew chiefs. would storm the target house and capture them. This ragtag clan. at 18 the youngest Ranger in his Chalk. It wasmidafternoon . a kid just months out of aFlorida high school. includingEversmann's . arrayed on both sides of the sleek UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. Then four helicopter loads of Rangers. and already something had gone wrong. It was Pvt. 1993 .Eversmann saw one of his men stretched out on his back at the bottom of the rope. He had worried about the responsibility. Hanging from a hovering Blackhawk helicopter. Today's targets were two topAidid lieutenants. the knees of his long legs up around his shoulders. It was just the first in a series of worsening mishaps that would endanger this daring mission.processtext.

It was3:32 p. Bristling with grenades and ammo. They ran through last-minute mental checklists. In his bird. The few paved avenues were crumbling and littered with mountains of trash and debris. was taking a calculated risk in sending them in daylight into theBakara Market area. Then the Americans and their prisoners would board the ground convoy and roll back for a sunny Sunday afternoon on the beach.com/abclit.'' they were a formidable armada. bayonets. Waiting for the code word to launch. They eased out across a littered strip of white sand and moved low and fast over the breakers. Mogadishuspread beneath them in ruins. Five years of civil war had reduced the once-picturesque African port to a post-apocalyptic nightmare. The Rangers were eager for action.m. saying prayers. They had left behind canteens. code-named Super 67. Gen. their commander. William F.anything they felt would be dead weight on a fast daylight raid. It was the unit's sixth mission since coming toMogadishu in late August. when the lead Blackhawk pilot. Those walls and buildings that still stood in the heaps of gray rubble were pockmarked with bullet scars and cannon shot. rehearsing their choreographed moves.html men. a hornet's nest ofAidid supporters.'' And the swarm of black copters lifted up into an embracing blue vista ofIndian Ocean and sky. No one would be allowed in or out. The helicopter assault force included about 75 Rangers and 40 Commando troops in 17 helicopters. announced: ''F-in' Irene.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. . they felt their hearts race under their flak vests.Eversmann silently rehearsed the plan. Now Maj. which today was "Irene. Garrison. night-vision devices (NODs) . The swell of the revving engines had made the earth tremble. triple-checking weapons. arresting the Somalis inside. Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant. When his Chalk Four touched the street. the boys would already be taking down the target house. gripping the well-oiled steel of their weapons. Idling at the airport was a convoy of 12 vehicles with soldiers who would ride three miles to the target building and escort the Somali prisoners and the assault team back to base. would rope down to all four corners of the target block and form a perimeter. http://www.

They were fit and fast.processtext. a paved. At the intersections. But the only threat spotted was burning tires on a nearby street. Inside Super 67. most Rangers looked like teenagers (their average age was 19). a five-story white building. as they approached the target site. http://www. in much better shape than most. Somalis often burned tires to summon militia. . With their buff bodies. The landmark was the Olympic Hotel. By the time theBlackhawks had moved down over the city. one of the few large structures still intact in the city. These. "Two minutes.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Two advance AH-6 Little Birds armed with rockets then made their "bump.'' or initial pass over the target. In the biggerBlackhawks . They all wore flak vests and helmets and 50 pounds of gear and ammo. had been set earlier in the day. They saw a busyMogadishu neighborhood.html The commandos rode in on MH-6 Little Birds. the Rangers were among the most gung-ho soldiers in the Army.m. It was3:43 p. and the guy who replaced him had suffered an epileptic seizure.sides and back of the head shaved clean . Now. Stripped down. Rangers dangled their legs from the doorways. the Little Birds with the Commando troops were almost over the target. choppers small enough to land in alleys or on rooftops. drifting sand turned rust-orange in the afternoon sun. Cameras on spy planes and orbiting helicopters relayed the scene back to commanders at theJointOperationsCenter on the beach. it was determined. In front of the hotel ranHawlwadigRoad . They had done this dozens of times. The mission could still have been aborted. Three blocks west was the teemingBakara Market.and gruntedHooah greeting. They were products of rigorous selection and training. His platoon sergeant had been summoned home by an illness in his family. He'd won the distinction by default. he felt more confident.north-southavenue crossed by narrow dirt alleys. Others squatted on ammo cans or sat on flak-proof panels laid out on the floor.com/abclit.'' came the voice of the Super 67 pilot inEversmann's earphones.Eversmann was anxious about being in charge. distinct crew cuts .

people and donkey carts. "No problem. http://www. The 3-inch-thick nylon ropes were coiled before the doors. Eversmann'scopter hovered just above the brown storm. he tossed them and sprung for the rope. time slowed. one dropped down on a car. In the excitement. When they were finally pushed out. that wasn't crucial.'' he said.'' the pilot warned. They were going in a block north of their assigned corner.'' he toldEversmann . It was shaped like an L. Waiting for the three otherBlackhawks . ripping the earphone cord from the ceiling. acrossHawlwadig . He would be the last man out. the four Commando Little Birds zoomed down toHawlwadigRoad . When it was his time to jump.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. "We're about 100 meters short. it seemed to the sergeant that they hung there for a dangerously long time. He jumped. Still. Nextcame theBlackhawks with the Rangers. Even over the sound of the rotor and engines the men could hear the pop of gunfire. the strap on his goggles broke.In front moved cars. Seeing none. It was flat-roofed with three rear stories and two front stories. All his movements became very deliberate. looking for trouble. Flustered. forgetting to take off his earphones. Eversmanngave him a thumbs-up. Conditioned to the noise of the copters by months ofoverflights . people below did not stir as two Little Birds made a first swift pass. "We're a little short of our desired position. This delayed things further. disappearing into swirling dust asthe commandos leaped from their helicopters and stormed the house. He hadn't realized how high . A still Blackhawk was a big target. The pilot nudged his aircraft forward until the rope dragged free.com/abclit. with a small courtyard enclosed by a high stone wall. was the target house.html One block up from the hotel. The sergeant thought it would be a lot safer on the ground.

Eversmann had never been shot at before. was already at work onBlackburn . and the crew chiefs in the copter released the rope. He'd somehow missed the rope and plummeted. but unconscious. nose and ears. started an IV. http://www. The slide down on the rope was far longer than any they'd done in training.Blackburn hadn't been shot. the Ranger commander. had roped in with two lieutenants and the rest of Chalk One to the block's southeast corner. Pvt. Jason Moore.processtext. He looked pretty busted up.Eversmann spotted Todd Blackburn splayed out on the street at the end of the rope. Eversmann'sfeet touched down next to the fallen Ranger.Moore shouted back to say he couldn't get Steele. like cracking a stick of dry hickory. The kid had one eye shut. They were taking fire. it hadn't even registered with the sergeant.'' Eversmannshouted to his radio operator. dragged him to the edge of the street. You would think bullets clipping past would command your attention. but he'd been too preoccupied. 2 Mark Good. Then. Mike Steele on the company radio net. Blood gurgled from his mouth. Pvt. They squatted behind two parked cars. and sand was caked in his eyes. He was still alive. As the Blackhawk moved up and away. a Commando medic.com/abclit. It fell twisting to the road. Good inserted a tube downBlackburn 's throat to help him breathe. Oddly.Eversmann stepped away. It was hot. trying to keep his neck straight.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The city's musky odor bore in. he figured he'd better find cover.html they were. but it wasn't very accurate. Minutes passed.Sarge . That leftEversmann in the middle of the road withBlackburn and the medics. "He's litter urgent. on his way down. Good looked up atEversmann . the noise eased and the dust settled. He and the two medics grabbedBlackburn under his arms. . As big a target as he made at 6-foot-4. and. He took a quick count of his Chalk. Now he noticed. Passing bullets made a snapping sound. Chalk Four's medic. First Class Bart Bullock. His men had peeled off as planned against the mud-stained stone walls on either side of the street. Sgt. Steele. and asked him to raise Capt. We need to extract him right now or he's going to die. he'd fallen.

even the aged and infirm. They were to shoot only at someone who pointed a weapon at them.com/abclit. To officers watching on screens in the command center. And over this summer. Neither man had noticed that a bullet had severed the wire leading to the antenna onMoore 's radio.children . many with weapons. taking shots at the Rangers. People were pouring into the streets. They were racing from all directions toward the spot where orbiting helicopters marked the fight. Eversmann'smen had fanned out and were shooting in every direction except south toward the target building. It was like some national imperative to bear witness. Again Steele didn't answer. closer. This is one hell of a time to start sharpshooting me. http://www. The sergeant made a particular effort to speak slowly and clearly.html "What do you mean you can't get him?''Eversmann asked. The Rangers had been issued strict rules of engagement. . Whenever there was a disturbance inMogadishu . "Calm down. It was an amazing and unnerving thing to view a battle in real time. came on the line. Things were not playing out according to the script inEversmann's head. women. He needed to come out.processtext. The Somalis were strange that way. wary of the Americans' guns.Eversmann tried to convey urgency without alarm. They were coming closer.'' it really burnedEversmann . He explained thatBlackburn had fallen and was badly injured. the Ranger missions had stirred up widespread hatred. Those with guns were intermingled with women and children. but after several tries Steele's lieutenant. He'd figured they could just hoof it downHawlwadig . So whenPerino said. people would throng to the spot: men. LarryPerino . Fire was getting heavier. and others. it was as if their men had poked a stick into a hornet's nest. Eversmann tried his walkie-talkie. Cameras on the surveillance aircraft circling high over the fight captured crowds of Somalis erecting barricades and lighting tires to summon help. There wasn't much the Joint Operating Command could do but watch. darting in and out of alleys. His Chalk was still in the wrong place. but already this was getting unrealistic.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He saw crowds of Somalis way upHawlwadig to the north. butBlackburn 's falling and the unexpected volume of gunfire had ruled that out.

could not move to his position. They were all yelling at him. every second seemed a minute long. the place where he thought and reacted and watched. we've got to get him out. still bleeding from the nose and mouth. On the litter he was dead weight. "Hang on! Hang on!'' but. Bullock was still holding the IV bag connected to the kid's arm. He radioed Lt. He kept checking back to see if the ground convoy had moved up. They would run a few steps.com/abclit. putBlackburn down. toward the target. It would mean that things were wrapping up. shoot. He knew it was probably too soon.html Time played tricks. Can't you send somebody down the street?'' No. It would be hard to explain to someone who wasn't there. He addressed McLaughlin. thehumvees. Events seemed tohappen twice normal speed. themedic. What a relief! Maybe the boys are done and we can roll out of here. and with Joyce and McLaughlin in front and medics Good and Bullock in back. They ran stooped. "Sergeant. spoke up: "Listen. Good.Perino .Sarge . It was hard to believe things could have gone so much to hell in such a short time.'' Eversmannsummoned two of Chalk Four's sergeants.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but from inside his personal space. "Listen. then pick him up and carry him a few more . by the look of him. they took off down the street. He must have looked a dozen times before he saw the first humvee . we really need to move this guy or he's going to die.the wide-bodied vehicle that replaced the jeep as the Army's all-purpose ground vehicle round the corner three blocks down. shouting over the escalating noise of the fight. http://www. He had no idea how much time had gone by. McLaughlin didn't thinkBlackburn was going to make it.processtext.'' They unfolded a compact litter. he had already let go. rock-solid Casey Joyce and 6-foot-5 Jeff McLaughlin. you need to move him down to thosehumvees .

They were to drive to a point behind the Olympic Hotel and wait for the D-boys to wrap things up in the target house. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- AFTER THE HELICOPTER force had moved out over the beach. When the Rangers searched the men. It was hard to imagine what interest theUnited States of America had in such a place. When they grinned their teeth were stained black and orange. then put him down again. "We keep picking him up and putting him down like this and we're going to kill him. DomPilla was a big. powerful kid fromVineland.J. cotton skirts and worn. Sgt. His platoon had driven out on water runs and other details daily. Staff Sgt. Tim Moynihan and a company favorite.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. That added to the mix. The stench was what hit him first.'' Good said finally. the Commando teams and the Rangers. http://www. There were gold-toothed women in colorful robes and old men in loose. JeffStruecker had waited several minutes in hishumvee with the rest of the ground convoy at the base. Today his job was to roll up in force onHawlwadigRoad .he had that Joy-zee accent who used his hands a lot when he talked. In this African city people spent their days lounging outside their shabby rag huts and tin shacks.N. They burned animal dung for fuel. they would often find wads of the addictivekhat plant they chewed to get high. His was the lead in a column of 12 vehicles.com/abclit. Spec.'' So Joyce volunteered to fetch ahumvee . They were always burning tires. . He had . DominickPilla . a soldier. a born-again Christian fromFort Dodge. plastic sandals. He took off running on his own. and it wasn't his place to question such things. "We've got to get thosehumvees to come to us. ButStruecker was just 24. People burned trash on the streets. Derek Velasco. load up Somali prisoners.processtext. In some parts of town the men would shake their fists at the Rangers as they drove past. He had three men in his vehicle: Spec. Garbage was strewn everywhere. knewMogadishu better than most guys at the compound. and bring them back out. Struecker.html steps.Iowa . He loved practical jokes. which was just a five-minute drive from the base.Pilla was just born funny.

and his companionhumvee had a Mark 19. They setBlackburn in the back of the SEALhumvee and got permission to take him back to the base immediately. Then they immediately got lost. http://www. Tim "Grizz'' Martin. that service's elite commando unit. This timeStruecker knew which way to go. Most people who tried that kind of thing were annoying. they were startled to see a Ranger running toward them downHawlwadigRoad . The three-vehicle column began racing back to base through streets now alive with gunfire and explosion. McLaughlin and the two medics. He had mapped a return route that was simple. took a wrong turn and watched with alarm as the rest of the vehicles drove in a different direction. The round had hit smack on theSEAL's knife.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Strueckerand the rest of the column timed their departure so they wouldn't arrive at the hotel before the assault on the target house had begun. grenade-like rounds. In the mounting gunfire. but only after the rest of the vehicles had already moved up to the target house to load prisoners. and bandaged it.Struecker . As thishumvee approached the house. and began returning fire. and they drove up a block to where the young private waited on the litter with Sgt.processtext. One of thehumvees in the column held a group of Commando soldiers and NavySEALs . Master Sgt. SEAL John Gay heard a shot and felt a hard impact on his right hip.Struecker's had a 50-caliber machine gun. Several blocks south ofHawlwadig was a main road that would take them all the way down to the beach. He cried out. which had found 24 Somalis in the house and were handcuffing them. . He'd found his way back. which could rapidly fire big. a commando in Gay'shumvee . Strueckerand his companionhumvee had just found their way back to the main convoy and were ordered to escort the SEALhumvee . took cover.com/abclit. They'd explode with a startling Pop!about halfway through a smoke. Gay limped out.html bought tiny charges that he stuck in guys' cigarettes. where they could turn right and drive straight into the base. Steele was a highlight of the little skits the Rangers sometimes put on in the hangar. He quickly explainedBlackburn 's condition. His cutting impression of Capt. It was Casey Joyce. He jumped into thehumvee . Martin pulled several bloody fragments of blade out of Gay's hip. who was leading the convoy. then gave Gay good news. It had shattered the blade. but people laughed along with Pilla . but the knife had deflected the bullet. It had no big gun on top. tore open Gay's pants and examined his hip. and pointed back to where the others were waiting. They raced on ahead of the convoy to join the assault force.

com/abclit. Good.html But things had worsened. came the voice of Sgt. A round tore intoPilla's forehead and the exit wound blew blood and brain out the back of his skull. They both fired at the same time. Armed street fighters were sprinkled into the crowds of civilians. over the radio. A Ranger inBlackburn 'shumvee shot down two Somali gunmen who ran right up to the rear of the vehicle as they moved past an alley. http://www. and shouted back over his shoulder at Moynihan. and both fell. to concentrate all his fire to the right. themedic. How things going? Strueckerignored the radio. Up inStruecker'shumvee . Tim Moynihan. They didn't want to drive too fast. and to leave everything to the left to the 50-caliber. People were shooting from rooftops and from windows and from all directions. withStruecker in the front vehicle andBlackburn in the middlehumvee . "He's dead!'' Moynihan shouted.processtext. DomPilla . "Calm down! What's wrong with him?''Struecker couldn't see all the way to the back hatch. he instructed his M-60 gunner. Pillawheeled his gun toward a Somali standing on the street just a few feet away. . At every intersection came a hail of rounds. First Class Bob Gallagher. who cried out in horror. Roadblocks and barricades had been erected. Just then. They started taking fire. Thehumvees drove around and through them. His body flopped over into the lap of Spec. was holding up the IV bag for him with one hand while firing his rifle with the other.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. because a violently bumpy ride couldn't doBlackburn any good. "Pilla'shit!'' he screamed. leader of the vehicle platoon.

Struecker saw rocket-propelled grenades flying across the street now. Gallagher didn't like that answer.One. http://www. "He's shot in the head! He's dead!'' Moynihan screamed.com/abclit. They drove wildly now. How's it going? "I don't want to talk about it. a main east/west highway."Struecker said into the radio.Strueckertold his driver to step on it. So far nobody on their side had been killed. and he hoped the others would follow. as far as he knew. They were close toNational Street . shooting at both sides of the street.'' To hell with driving carefully. It seemed as if the whole city was shooting at them. and he . Sgt.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. InsideStruecker'shumvee . Strueckerturned for a quick look over his shoulder and saw that the whole rear of his vehicle was splattered red.html "How do you know he's dead? Are you a medic?''Struecker asked.''Struecker pleaded. You got any casualties? "Yeah. ``We've got to keep fighting until we get back. "Just calm down.processtext." Strueckertried to leave it at that. Gallagher's voice came across the radio again.

Todd Blackburn on board. BLOOD-SPATTERED AND FRANTIC WITH BADLY INJURED Pfc. the little convoy sped out of the treacherous side streets ofMogadishu to a wide road. CHAPTER 2: DAZED. He threw out . Panic was a virus. inPanama and thePersian Gulf . it becomes more important than water. As they approached the sea.Struecker had been to war before. it was real hard to reassert control. Staff Sgt.processtext.com/abclit. Unlike most of these guys. there was silence. all radio traffic stopped. http://www. In the lead humvee. the road was mobbed with Somalis. It was happening to Moynihan and the other guys in hishumvee right now. How was he going to get his three humvees back to base through all these people? His driver slowed to a crawl and leaned on the horn. and then reluctantly answered: "He's dead!" At the sound of that word." What's his status? Strueckerheld the microphone for a moment. Once things turned. "It'sPilla . debating with himself. well south of the target building. and he knew soldiers fought a lot better when things were going their way. For many long seconds afterward.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Men in battle drink up information as if downing water. Jeff Struecker's heart sank. Who is he and what's his status? Gallagher demanded. Struecker told him to keep moving. and for a stretch the firing abated.html didn't want to be the one to put news like that on the air. People panic.

On the way they'd been badly shot up. just like silhouettes at target practice. Struecker's three-vehicle convoy had left to get emergency treatment forBlackburn . Now he was pointing his M-16 at people down the street. the commandos had 24 Somalian prisoners handcuffed and ready for loading on the main ground convoy. who had gotten bored working at a rubber plant. As the truck veered off the road. Among them were the primary targets of the raid. They had run the gauntlet. they piled out. And now they were pinned down onHawlwadig Road . making faces and grinning. so Struecker told his driver to ram it.Ohio . as rounds kicked up dirt between them. who was on his way to a long and difficult recovery. Jim Telscher. a block north of their proper position at the northwest corner of the target block. Galentine was a 21-year-old sergeant fromXenia. They passed through the gates of the beachfront American compound with a tremendous sense of relief and exhaustion. shouting. shattering the windows and blowing out the tires of the cars. at Staff Sgt. clutching his leg. He was goofing with Telscher. you need to get him off. "Look. They didn't know about Pilla. He had blood smeared on his face. there's a dead in the back of my vehicle. He heard a commander's voice on the speaker box. Telscher was a sight. "Pay attention to what's going on and listen to my orders!'' It smelled like panic. two Somalian clan leaders. It would not pull over. near the Olympic Hotel. Then he told his 50-gunner to open up over people's heads.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Scott Galentine and Sgt. A man with his leg hanging off the back screamed as the humvee hit.processtext. a young Ranger who had fallen out of a helicopter. and squeezing off rounds. Sgt. things continued to go wrong for Chalk Four. having accidentally smacked himself with his rifle coming down the fast rope. the steady gunfire didn't frighten Galentine. Struecker grabbed one as he went past. the man curled into the back bed. Two of Eversmann's men. Dazed and blood-splattered. People would drop. The medical people ran to the middle humvee to getBlackburn . They may have run over some people. The sound of the big gun scattered most of the people.html loud but harmless flash-bang grenades. the scene was frantic. About three miles north. FirstBlackburn had fallen out of the helicopter.'' BACK IN THE CITY. It turned him giddy. aiming at center mass. Instead.com/abclit. People were racing around on the tarmac. and the column sped up again. Struecker didn't look back to see. Something had happened. Then they had roped in well off target. Now they came up behind a slow-moving pickup truck with people hanging off the back. For some reason. were crouched behind cars across the street. Dominick Pilla had been shot dead. http://www. In the back of Struecker's humvee. Struecker had expected to find the calm safety of the home base. Sgt. . Matt Eversmann's intersection.

then look across the road at him. To Eversmann's left. The heat would wash over and leave the odor of powder. turning first to Berendsen. His first thought was to right his gun. and then saw the gun spout lines of flame at targets up the street. The sergeant was still contending with the crowd. Galentine and Telscher ran to an alley. Berendsen turned and grabbed his shoulder. "Don't come across!" Galentine heard the sergeant but started running anyway. He picked up his thumb and tried to press it back to his hand. Eversmann stood and stretched his long arm to the north. Eversmann squatted next to both men. a rifle with a grenade-launching tube under the barrel. his gun braced against his shoulder.'' Berendsen said. She was staring up at Galentine and trying to open a door. Seconds after Galentine had dived in. He had been very close to killing this woman. They had expected some resistance on this raid. the M-16 spinning and a splash of pink by Galentine's left hand. At one point. I'm hit. He dived the last few feet.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. who was still preoccupied. He was picking targets out of the hundreds of Somalis moving toward them. The woman's eyes were wide with terror. he felt a painful slap on his left hand that knocked his weapon so hard it spun completely around him. such a great wave of fire from Somalis tore down the road that it created a shock wave of noise and energy that Eversmann could actually see coming. Pvt. His feet seemed heavy and slow. As he fired. He seemed to be getting nowhere. sitting behind his minigun. my God. then take cover.processtext. His first instinct had been to shoot. It cut through his silliness. There. "Oh. This wasn't a game. Telscher called to him. as if in a dream. but nothing like this. but when he reached out he saw that his left thumb was lying on his forearm. There was withering fire coming down the road. Eversmann saw the flash and puff of smoke of rocket-propelled grenades being launched their way. picking small chunks of debris from his face. Berendsen scooted over against the wall next to Galentine with one arm limp at his side. looking . Galentine took cover behind another car. When one of the big Blackhawks flew over. http://www. He looked up at Eversmann. The grenades came wobbling through the air and exploded with a long splash of flame and a pounding concussion. He had seen Galentine reach for the thumb. that moment. She got the door open and stepped inside. It startled him. "Don't come across!" Eversmann shouted. Eversmann had seen it. Men would dart out into the street and spray bursts from their AK-47s. directing them to the Somalian gunmen. 2 Anton Berendsen was prone on the ground and firing his M203. For a few minutes. attached by a strip of skin.com/abclit. Galentine came face to face with a Somalian woman. all shooting from that direction stopped. Scotty? You all right?'' Sgt. He watched the crew chief in back.html When they started catching rounds from a different direction. "You all right.

Galentine.'' Berendsen said. "Sgt. and he'd managed to get him out. When he saw Galentine's thumb.'' Berendsen said.'' Galentine gripped the thumb with his fingers. Eversmann! Snodgrass has been shot!'' . hold this. just a few yards away. and opened up on the car.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. . This was his first time in charge. "Ber.html down the alley. the Chalk One commander. It occurred to Eversmann that this was the first shot he'd fired. one critically. Dave Diemer covering the alley to the east with his SAW (squad automatic weapon). Diemer dived down behind the rear wheel on the passenger side and shot him with a quick burst. His injured hand stung. Glass shattered and showered on Eversmann and Diemer. "There's a guy right down there.processtext. It was hectic. "Scott. Eversmann radioed to First Lt. As Eversmann struggled to lift Berendsen's vest and open his shirt to assess the wound. Eversmann tried to stay calm. Sgt. Eversmann had only Spec. Berendsen was fumbling with the breech of his grenade launcher.'' Eversmann said. The Somali fell over backward in a rumpled heap. It felt the way it did on a cold day when you hit a baseball wrong. "Don't worry. "Just put your hand up and hold it. His left thumb was hanging down below his hand. He had three Rangers injured. From across the street. Sgt. removed a clean dressing. you're going be OK. Eversmann grabbed the thumb and placed it in the dazed sergeant's palm. First Class Glenn Harris came running up to tend the wound. Eversmann turned to Galentine.Y.'' With his good hand.N. Diemer was a boisterous 22-year-old fromNewburgh. tell me where you're hurt. and the company's arm-wrestling champ. Galentine reached into Harris' kit with his good hand. http://www. and handed it to him. A Somali had run out to the middle ofHawlwadig Road . Eversmann impatiently reached down and opened it. The sergeant could see the fist-sized round spiraling toward a tin shack 40 meters away. Neither Galentine's nor Berendsen's wounds were life-threatening. Berendsen's injury did not look severe.'' he said. as if he might be lapsing into shock. Telscher shouted. With Berendsen hurt. "I think I got one in the arm. When it hit. Eversmann kneeled beside Diemer behind a car and fired his M-16.com/abclit. the shack vanished in a great flash of light and smoke. buddy. Larry Perino. the private shot off a 203 round one-handed. who looked wide-eyed. he dropped the field dressing to the ground. Sgt. that he had taken two more casualties.

Aden could see no part of them that looked human. Through this dust. As he ran back to his house. People were running madly. "Sarge?'' Eversmann turned wearily to Diemer. and wash from its rotors swept over the dusty alley like a violent storm.Aden saw a Somalian militiaman carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher an RPG . one of the Blackhawk helicopters flew over him at rooftop level. On the street were dead people and a dead donkey splayed out in front of its water cart.html Spec.step into the alley and drop to one knee. Then he leaned the RPG up and fired at the . a slip of a man with thick. They were like futuristic warriors from an American movie. "A helicopter just crashed. with machine guns mounted on them.Aden was 18 but looked five years younger. He heard shooting to the west.processtext. Adenrushed outside when the helicopters passed over. bushy hair. Eversmann saw Telscher stoop over Snodgrass to tend to the wound. The air aroundAden sizzled and cracked with gunfire. http://www.'' Chapter 3 A terrifying scene.com/abclit.Aden ran toward the noise. had been crouched behind a car hulk and a round had evidently skipped off the car or ricocheted up from the road. some with lines of flame spitting from their guns. hiding from them. It made a rackety blast. There was a line of Somalian men in handcuffs being loaded onto big trucks. then a big crash ABDIAZIZ ALI ADEN heard the American helicopters coming in low. The scene terrifiedAden . He ran two blocks with his head down until he saw several big American trucks and humvees. It didn't look too dire. Kevin Snodgrass. so low that the big tree that stood in the central courtyard of his stone house was uprooted and knocked over. Above him were helicopters. the big road that passed before the Olympic Hotel three blocks west. near Hawlwadig. The militiaman waited until the copter had passed overhead. the machine gunner. The sky was dark with smoke. The Rangers wore body armor and helmets with goggles. The machine gunner was not screaming.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. shooting everywhere.

When the American with the gun rounded the corner he sawAden under the car. There were no flames and no explosion. right in front of the soldier. It was a Little Bird. crunching sound. It seemed impossible that a helicopter could fit in so narrow a street. Seeing thatAden had no weapon. and then slammed on its side into the alley with a great. Afraid that the helicopter would explode.then fired. the street in front ofAden 's house.Aden . Smoke had stopped rising from the helicopter when he returned. if you left your house open and undefended.processtext.com/abclit. tiny and highly maneuverable copter. http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and then another American with an M-16. The two men fired at the same time but neither fell. He ran into his house and stood in the courtyard by the uprooted tree and saw that the wall where the helicopter had crashed was gone. Then. The American ran over and shot him three more times as he lay there. InMogadishu . More Somalis came now. which had fallen to the alley sideways so that the bottom of it faced him. standing inside his house. but the Somalis' bullets also hit him.Aden saw a wounded American soldier climb out of the crumpled machine. Then a helicopter landed right onFreedom Road . He slipped down and crawled under it. But first he stopped alongside the car -Aden could have reached out and touched the soldier's boots . over to a wall across the road. trying to make himself small. The body of the aircraft started to spin. He helped pull the roof off his parents and brothers and sisters. they all ran across a wide. shooting at the American. rutted dirt road to a friend's house three doors up. curling himself up into a ball. and he toppled. He ran to the crash and found his parents and eight brothers and sisters trapped under a big sheet of tin roof. he feared his family had been killed. Its rotor blades were just inches from the walls ofAden 's house and the house directly across the road.html aircraft from behind. The helicopter had destroyed part ofAden 's house. he quickly fired his weapon. with guns. it was just a heap of stones and dusty mortar.Aden turned and ran back out a side door and hid behind an old white Volkswagen on the dirt street. scraping crash in a thick cloud of dust and rock and smoke. the Americans' fast. They went to shoot again but the Somali's gun jammed and the American didn't shoot. and dust swirled around. dropping like a sack. cracking the tail. Then a big Somalian woman came running from a narrow alley. without putting out her arms to break the fall. and the helicopter started to flip. the soldier moved on. Startled. He dropped to one knee and shot many of them. The bullet made a hole in the Somali's forehead. SoonAden came back to guard his house. The roar of the helicopter was deafening.and pointed his gun at a Somalian man armed with an M-16 across the street from the car. The womanfell face forward.Aden worked his way past the crashed helicopter. it would quickly be looted. It was tilted slightly towardAden when it hit the roof of his house with a loud. They had stepped outside and were standing against the west wall when the helicopter hit and the roof came down on them. They were not badly hurt. He ran closer. The pilot could not hold it. so close toAden that he could see the pilot inside struggling at the controls. There they waited.Aden saw a great flash from the back end of the launcher and then saw the grenade explode into the rear of the helicopter.

Maj. then an awkward counter-rotation as Super 61 fell. It was so loud that the sound of the helicopter and the guns was just one continuous explosion.processtext. . the Rangers on Chalk One fanned out around the southeast corner of the target house inMogadishu . He curled himself into a ball and wished he was someplace else. sinking feeling that came over officers watching on screen went far beyond the immediate fate of the six men on board. nose up until its belly bit the top of a stone building and its front end was cast down violently. Chapter 4 An outgunned but relentless enemy AFTER ROPING DOWN from their Blackhawk. Gen.html couldn't breathe. the latest symbol of the nation's commitment to a New World Order. rotors snapped and flying. code-named Super 61. America's 10-month mission toSomalia . The mission had been quieter for them than for the Rangers one block west onHawlwadig Road . Garrison and his command staff had watched it live: pilot Cliff Wolcott's black chopper moving smoothly. cameras on three surveillance helicopters had captured close-up and in color the crash of the helicopter. had just taken a crippling hit. The ambitious nation-building hopes of United Nations bureaucrats were lying in a twisted hunk of smoldering metal.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. http://www.com/abclit. Then the shooting got worse. making two slow turns clockwise. William F. plastic and flesh in an alley in northernMogadishu . its fuselage smashing into a narrow alley on its side against a stone wall in a cloud of smoke. But now gunfire was picking up. but the sick. One of the airmen was leaning out of the helicopter and aiming his gun up the street behind whereAden was hiding. There wasn't enough time for anyone to consider all the ramifications of that helicopter's sudden end. handed off by one president to another. Bullets were hitting and rocking the old car that was shieldingAden . As far as Chalk One knew. Another airman ran from the helicopter toward the Blackhawk that had crashed. The shooting got even worse then. then a shudder and puff of smoke near the tail rotor. AT THE JOINT OPERATIONS Center next to the airport. and in a matter of minutes Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk would be shot down just five blocks away. things were going well. dust and debris.

"If he sticks his head out again I'm taking him.processtext. which the men called a ``pig'' because of the grunting sound it made when fired. When the shooting ceased momentarily. Goodale hopped and ran. With his uninjured hand. As the man lay on the street. Dirt popped up all around Ranger Sgts.html The Chalk One men were hunkered down. who were crouched behind the rusted hulk of a burned-out car. http://www. He dived behind a pipe protruding from the road. The man had not actually been shooting at him when he fired. Larry Perino. The man and the woman fell dead. he's dead. his loose shirt billowed out to reveal an AK-47. he rejoined Williamson behind the car. As he ran. Perino sprayed rounds from his M-16 at their feet. which scattered the children momentarily. Chalk One's commander. Blood splashed up on Williamson's face and he began screaming and cursing. flunking out and joining the Rangers. The medic shook his head and said. A Somali with an AK-47 leaned out from behind a corner and rattled a burst. he had been partying hard at theUniversityofIowa . and the man fell over hard.'' he told Goodale. Soldiering was fun. Mike Goodale and Aaron Williamson. First Lt. Only two years earlier. Williamson coolly leveled his M-16 and waited. He felt ridiculous cowering behind it. Moments later. blatting sound. His men threw flash-bang grenades. I can see there's a guy behind this woman with a weapon under her arm!'' Elliott shouted. The 60-gun made its low. When the shooter showed his face again. Goodale saw a spray of bullets walk up the side of the car and down the side of Williamson's rifle. Bullets were still snapping around them. motionless. They ran away again. Severed fingertip and all. Both alleys were deeply rutted and littered with debris. so Goodale and Williamson shot him. . It was only 7 inches wide and 6 inches high. pointing out the Americans' positions for a hidden gunman. but there was no safe place to hide. sir. just as the Somali opened up again. Across the alley. another Somali sprinted away from them. Then a woman began creeping toward Staff Sgt. taking cover from Somalis at an intersection of dirt alleys. splayed awkwardly in the alley. Perino told Elliott to fire.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.com/abclit. Williamson fired. taking off the end of his finger. so was it right to shoot? Goodale stared at the man in the dirt. was watching Somalian children walk right up the street toward his men. This was something else.'' That startled Goodale. his clothes tangled around him. a stockyWest Point man. "No. He had just killed a man. Goodale asked Chalk One's medic if they should check him out. "Hey. Williamson exchanged a high five with Goodale. There was a spray of blood. His two years with the Rangers had been mostly a great time. Chuck Elliott's M-60 machine gun.

where Chalk Three had roped in. The bullets went right through the man. Nelson was shocked.com/abclit. he had enlisted. At 23. John. an old man with a bushy white afro. He blasted another long burst. shoot him. http://www. Shawn Nelson. The man managed to crawl behind the tree. "No. Nelson saw a Somali with a gun prone on the dirt between two kneeling women. "I think you got him. The children wailed.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. This time he didn't shoot back. and. "Everyone down!''Yurekshouted. "He'll come right to us. chipping the wall behind him. Yurek sprinted across the street. When the corporate training program he attended after high school inAtlanta abruptly folded. and not just because of his big gun. Crouching nearby.'' urged Nelson's assistant gunner. retrieved his weapon. Nelson was a little older than his buddies. He was completely shielded by noncombatants. and fired again. Nelson could not believe how hard it was to kill a man.'' said his assistant gunner. and Yurek realized he needed to throttle things back. With them was a woman. . One Somali. They were the first real family he had ever had. His body was quivering and he seemed to have at last expired. Taking cover next behind a small car.'' Nelson told Spec. Nelson threw a flash-bang at the group.were the Rangers in Chalk Two. "What do you want to do?'' Waddell asked. Spec. his weapon ready. the man practically walked up to them. "Hey. but still he got up. at the northeast corner of the target block. we've got people in the shed!'' shouted Chalk Two's medic. He felt protective of his fellow Rangers. "Check this out. He squeezed another burst. He could see Somalis aiming guns at the southwest corner of the target block. He ducked behind a tree 50 yards up and was loading a new magazine in his weapon when Nelson put about a dozen rounds into him.'' Sure enough. the unit's 60-gunner. Bark splintered off the tree and the man slumped sideways. He had the barrel of his weapon between the women's legs. and they fled so fast the man left his gun. and there were four children actually sitting on him. plunged into the shed. "Shoothim.html ONE BLOCK NORTH.processtext. nearly trampling a huddled mass of terrified children. set up his ``pig'' at the crest of a slight rise in the road. But Nelson could still see the afro moving behind the tree. was so intent that he didn't run like the others when Nelson fired.'' Nelson said. with the medic. watch. evidently their teacher. Ed Yurek's attention was called to a nearby tin-walled shed. John Waddell. Staff Sgt.

'' gesturing with his hands. Nelson!'' Waddell said. you guys. Look at this!' . There were about eight other men around the animal. Nelson wasn't weighing issues anymore. He debated only momentarily before firing.com/abclit. a Blackhawk slid overhead and opened up with a minigun. Great chunks of flesh flew up. gesturing for them to do the same. Blood splashed. you need to stay here. http://www. "Settle down!'' But the wailing continued.processtext. some of them shooting.'' he pleaded. leaving bodies in the alleyway. but those with guns were intermingled. As the helicopter moved off. As they left. Quickly another. "Lay down. She lay down. The cow stood stupefied. and Yurek hoped that meant yes. hesitantly. larger group began to mass. stay here. He guessed she was a young teenager. They got down. When the minigun stopped and the helicopter's shadow passed.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. just 50 feet up the road.on a cow. Those who didn't fall fled. "Now. some with weapons. vainly trying to bridge the language barrier. speaking evenly. he and the rest of the Rangers opened fire. and the next instant it was just a bleeding heap of dead and injured. On the streets of a hostile city with bullets snapping past. Just then. Slowly. One moment there was a crowd. where the smell of blood and burnt flesh mingled with the odor of garbage and dung. People were closing in. In an instant. steaming pieces. what had been the cow lay in awful.html "Settle down. He motioned for the teacher to approach him. Nelson didn't know whether to laugh or shoot. and the others ran. The group dispersed. Up the alley. "Goddamn. and his rounds tore through the crowd like a scythe. Yurek told the medic to guard the door. Nelson saw a man with a weapon ride out into the open .'' he told her. Yurek retrieved his weapon and addressed the teacher. "Goddamn!'' Chapter 5 'My God. yet another crowd of Somalis began to form. Yurek pointed to the children. "Lay down. He cut loose with the M-60. The cow literally came apart. enunciating every word. Yurek stooped and placed his weapon on the ground. He feared somebody would barge in shooting. The man on the cow fell off.'' She shook her head. A Little Bird swooped in and threw down a flaming wall of lead. No matter what you see or hear. the thrum of the Blackhawks reminded them they were not alone. Those powerful guns overhead were deeply reassuring to the men on the ground. Nelson tried to direct his fire only at people with weapons.

then picking up speed. On this mission. gunner Shawn Nelson heard the approach of a Blackhawk. watching forSomalian gunmen. 1997 JUST AFTER he had leveled the Somalian crowd with his M-60.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. http://www. It was Super 61. Cliff Wolcott's bird. We've got to go right now!'' He knew the six men inside the Blackhawk needed help immediately .''He fought the urge to just stand and watch the bird go down. Nelson couldn't stop watching. the rotor stopped spinning with an ugly grinding sound. walk and talk of his musical idol. Thencame a thunderclap. and two Commando snipers in the rear were picking offSomalian gunmen. The whole helicopter shuddered and started to spin . my God. ``We've got to go. refueling in flight. Look at this!'' Nelson said to the Rangers crouching with him. John Waddell. "It just went down! It just crashed!'' The disbelief in Nelson's voice echoed the feelings of every soldier on the corner. Pvt. you guys. Nelson's eye caught the distinctive flash and puff of an RPG . The helicopter started to tilt as it hit the top of a house. to knock out Saddam Hussein's Scud missile sites inIraq .then flipped over as it crashed into an alley.com/abclit. TomDiTomasso . the Chalk Two leader.'' As Wolcott's Blackhawk passed overhead. on its side. spinning faster now. "Oh. Jesus. There were guys in his unit who had known Elvis for years but would scratch their heads if you asked them about somebody named Cliff Wolcott. "What happened?'' called First Lt.processtext.a rocket-propelled grenade. protected feeling the boys called "a warm and fuzzy.html November 19. Chief Warrant Officer Wolcott was a funny guy whom everybody called Elvis because he affected the hair. "Look at this!'' Wolcott's bird moved directly over them.before Somalis got to them. leaving the street strewn with bodies. The bird's tail boom cracked. . Every time the sleek black copters moved overhead. gasped. He had flown secret missions behind enemy lines during the Persian Gulfwar . "Oh. His exploits were legendary. and a chug-chug-chug coughing followed. "A bird just went down!'' Nelson said. it gave the guys on the ground a good. Wolcott's Super 61 had delivered a Chalk of Rangers and was now flying a low orbit over the target area in centralMogadishu . He saw the rocket climb into the helicopter's path.first slowly. who came running. The bird's two crew chiefs were blasting targets with their mountedminiguns . He turned away to keep his eyes on his corner.

one with something in his hand."Now!'' Nelson started running at the same moment Steele called back. the Ranger commander. Landing in the big intersection closest to the downed . IT HAD TAKEN Chief Warrant Officer Keith Jones. http://www. He dropped to one knee and felled them both with a burst from his M-60. Two hundred meters. Steele understood the urge to go help. In the hangar the Rangers had talked about it. Nelson's buddy Waddell was feeling the same urge to run toward the crash. Mike Steele. the security perimeter around the target building would break down. "We need to go!'' Nelson shouted atDiTomasso .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He tried to get on the command network. This was dreadful shock. the dead crew members were mutilated by the crowds. Voices rose with surprise and fear: We got a Blackhawk going down! We got a Blackhawk going down! We got a Blackhawk crashed in the city! Sixty-one! Sixty-one down! It was more than a helicopter crash. When another unit's Blackhawk had gone down two weeks earlier. piloting a Little Bird with the call sign Star 41. but the calls were coming so thick and loud now he couldn't be heard. running full trot to catch up with Nelson. piloting Blackhawk Super 62 above him.processtext. There was no pretense now of the deadpan calm of radio transmissions. TheBlackhawks and Little Birds were their trump cards. Jones banked hard left and then flew in.One hundred meters. the mandatory military monotone that said everything was under control. DiTomassoordered half of Chalk Two to stay at the target house. One had been holding a stick. Chief Warrant Officer MikeGoffena .html Word spread wildly over the radio. a few minutes to find the crash. The helicopters.eight men with him to the Blackhawk crash. voices overlapped with the bad news. They were determined that such a thing would never happen to their guys. The other got up and limped for cover. even more than the Rangers' rifles and machine guns. He spotted two boys running toward him. Nelson saw smoke and dust rising from the crash three blocks east. The captain had decided to authorize it himself. had helped guide him. He took the other half . He saw crowds of Somalis running in that direction. and guns poking out of windows nearby. It was a blow to the sense of invulnerability in all the young men on the ground. were what kept gunmen at a distance.You are coming over it right and low. but if Chalk Two left.Just passed it.com/abclit. But now they had to get permission on the radio from Capt.

Jones hopped out and followed Smith to the downed Blackhawk. Now. They saw that Busch. come on out. Jones climbed back into his pilot seat. and placed him in the small back door of the Little Bird.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but he didn't want to sit down where he would make a fat target from four different directions. Maier nearly shot him.45-caliber pistol was on the ground in front of him. The rest of the squad fanned out to form a perimeter. The wounded sniper had dragged his injured Commando buddy. had told his mother before leaving forSomalia : "A good Christian soldier is just a click away from heaven. Nelson picked up Busch's pistol and stuck it in his pocket. so Nelson pumped two finishing rounds into him. Daniel Busch. http://www.DiTomasso rounded the corner and came upon the Little Bird. Busch had been shot again. While propped there. indicating he wanted a head count on casualties.processtext. Maier didn't know. Somalis were coming at them.'' had a bad gut wound. the copilot. He needed a doctor immediately. the gung-ho commando everybody called ``Rambusch. from the wreckage and positioned him against the wall with his weapon. Busch. barely. Lt. the startled lieutenant tapped his helmet. He was still alive. and he knew just looking at it that his friends Elvis and Donovan "Bull''Briley .'' Smith had been shot in the meaty part of his left shoulder. but Jones knew there was nothing he could do for him.html Blackhawk would have been easier. Then he helped the wounded Smith into the helicopter. He had been shot in the belly. appeared alongside Jones' window. His eyes were gray and rolled up in his head. Then Sgt. so Jones stooped and lifted him with both arms. Seconds after Jones left. When Maier lowered his weapon. It was Smith who had encounteredAbdiaziz Ali Aden. On the radio he heard the command from the bird overhead. Both Jones and his copilot. Jim Smith. a devoutly religious man. just under his armor plate. over the din of the helicopter. the slenderSomalian teenager who had hidden inside the old car nearby. The pilots would have to leave the rest of the Super 61 crew and hope the Rangers could hold on until more help arrived. Jones saw dark smoke choking the interior of the downed Blackhawk. His SAW (squad automatic weapon) was on his lap and a . Smith mouthed the words: "I need help. Smith and Busch needed doctors. a Commando sniper who had climbed out of the Blackhawk wreckage. Jones and Smith were having trouble dragging Busch. leaving Maier to control the Little Bird and provide cover up the alley. Nelson and the other Rangers behindDiTomasso went after Jones and Smith. Karl Maier. There was a woman and two men. Jones examined Busch.com/abclit. Staff Sgt. Forty-one. . With intensifying fire. So he'd eased his copter onto the street calledFreedom Road and set it down on a slope between two stone houses.'' Nelson found threeSomalian bodies beside Busch. fired with handguns. He then got down behind the bodies for cover while Jones and Smith pulled Busch uphill to the Little Bird. were probably dead. there was a real risk that the Little Bird would be damaged and get stranded on the ground. One of the men was still breathing and trying to move. Come out now.

was closing in fast from behind when he saw the hit to Durant's gearbox. and the tail rotor was a long way from where he sat.000 pounds with crew and gear. He heard Goffena explain that he had been hit by an RPG fired by Somalis. http://www. . Goffena saw all the oil dump out of the rotor in a fine mist. Durant's chopper weighed 16. "I have it. The Blackhawk is a big aircraft.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The grenade blew off a chunk of it.'' Jones told the command network: "Forty-one is coming out. Goffena. The two helicopters were supposed to be opposite each other in orbit over the target area in Mogadishu. flying Super 62.processtext. but the bird stayed intact. 1997 PILOT MIKE GOFFENA was moving his Blackhawk up behind Mike Durant's bird when the grenade hit.com/abclit. which lay smoldering on the ground after being shot down minutes earlier. are you OK?'' Goffena radioed to Durant. and that there was damage to the tail area. "Sixty-four. another chopper hit November 22. and everything seemed to still be functioning. but Durant's Super 64 hadn't been in the formation long enough to get in sync. Durant was still struggling to take the spot vacated by Cliff Wolcott's Super 61. Goffena's radio call came before Durant had even sorted out what had happened.html Jones grabbed the stick and told Maier.'' Black Hawk Down Chapter 7 Another grenade.

night missions in the Persian Gulf war and the invasion of Panama. There had been just enough time to drive home and spend 15 minutes with his wife. He was preparing to turn around when Durant's tail rotor. toward theIndian Ocean and the base. His friend Goffena made a quick decision to follow him. Everything was fine.a true pro. Sometimes it seemed that all he did was fly missions. Lt. so if he had to land sooner. Staff Sgt. and the forces around the target building were getting ready to leave.com/abclit. and it was still holding steady. Lorrie.processtext. to a point where he felt confident it would make it back. Goffena had seen a rescue team rope in at Wolcott's downed bird. So after the initial shock. Ray Frank. In fact. but the sturdy Blackhawk was built to run without oil for a time if necessary. He had been with the secretive 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment). His crew in back.just turned into a blur and evaporated. Tommy Field. His own family often didn't know where he was. coolly. where the Super 61 Blackhawk piloted by Cliff Wolcott had gone down from an RPG hit. Joey. Prioritizing quickly. They practiced everything. Inside Super 64. He didn't feel anything unusual about the Blackhawk at first. told him to put the bird on the ground. Goffena told him he had lost his oil and part of the gearbox on the tail rotor. and to explain that he would have to miss the child's first birthday three days later. Their moves in the electronic maze of their cockpits were so well-rehearsed they had become instinctive. about a four-minute flight southeast. But the bird was flying fine. and its center of gravity pitched forward. high-speed whine of the dry gear shaft in its death throes. long enough to be a veteran of dangerous.html "Roger. Goffena's Super 62 had been providing cover for the target building and the crash site. low-flying. a big weight was suddenly dropped off the airframe's back end. he decided he would see his four friends in Durant's crippled bird at least part of the way safely home. He had learned to conduct himself with such discipline that many of his neighbors in Tennessee. Col. or train for them. The air mission commander. that there was a big green open area between him and the airfield. he'd been given just two hours' notice of his assignment toSomalia . and his baby son. but it had absorbed a strong impact. didn't even know what he did for a living. near the Night Stalkers' base in Fort Campbell. He did a quick check of his instruments and saw that all the readings were OK. Durant was the calm. With the top half of the tail fin gone.'' Durant radioed back. he felt relief. the whole assembly . Practice defined the lives of the Night Stalker pilots. . Now Durant steered his crippled Blackhawk southeast overMogadishu . Goffena followed Super 64 for maybe a mile. were unhurt. Bill Cleveland and Sgt. Durant pulled out of his left-turning orbit and pointed back to the Americans' airfield. He noted. who had seen the hit from the command-and-control helicopter circling above.the gearbox and two or three feet of the vertical fin assembly . They heard the accelerating. he had a place to put his helicopter. just to be safe. collected type . Tom Matthews. Thencame a very loud bang.. the Night Stalkers. Ky. Durant had faith in the aircraft. Durant and his copilot. felt the airframe begin to vibrate rapidly. even crashing. He could see it off in the distance against the coastline. http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Super 64was out of the fight.

Durant was trying to do something with the flight controls. In crash simulators. Black Hawk Down Chapter 8 A secondcrash. With the spin rate down to half what it had been. Coming down flat was critical. He now noticed he had already jammed his left pedal all the way to the floor and his craft was still spinning rapidly to the right. the big bird began to spin. so Frank had to fight the spin's strong centrifugal force to raise his arms. Whether for some aerodynamic reason or something Durant or Frank did inside the cockpit. pilots are taught to eliminate torque by shutting off the engines. To make the airframe swing left meant pushing gently on the left pedal. Frank. and with the craft fairly level.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.com/abclit. And just before impact. somehow had the presence of mind to do exactly the right thing. the nose of the bird came up. The rotation of the big rotor blades wanted to make the airframe spin thatway. They were about 75 feet above ground when Goffena saw the Blackhawk spin 10 or 15 times in the seconds before it hit. the Blackhawk made a hard but flat landing. in the seat next to him. In those frantic seconds he managed to flip one engine switch to idle and turn the other halfway off. It all happened too fast. Details of earth and sky blurred. the falling chopper leveled off. But the controls for the engines were on the roof of the cockpit. and without a tail rotor there was no force to stop it. the way patterns do on a spinning top. After a decade of flying. The spin was faster than Durant ever imagined it could be.processtext. Durant shouted into his radio: Going in hard! Going down! He screamed his copilot's name: Raaaay! Goffena was amazed to see the plummeting helicopter's spin rate suddenly slow. It meant there was a chance the four men inside Super 64 were alive. http://www.html As the nose lunged down. and no escape . Out the windshield he saw only blue sky and brown earth. Durant's reactions were instinctive.

in the back of the crumpled Blackhawk. CIRCLING IN HIS HELICOPTER over Mike Durant's downed Blackhawk. I can't believe this has happened to me again! Then.com/abclit. The situation report from the command helicopter sounded beleaguered. His helicopter had crashed not into one of the many stone buildings in centralMogadishu . The crash site was about a mile from the commandos and Rangers on the ground near the downtown target site. which had crashed only a few blocks from the American troops. This told him that at least one of the crew chiefs. Nobody had taken seriously the prospect of two helicopters going down. Goffena saw movement. command conditions were on overload. Bill Cleveland. Durant and his three crew members were less fortunate. where the air-rescue team had already roped in. Goffena flew a low pass and caught a glimpse of Durant in the cockpit. We are getting a lot of RPG fire. so long as it lands in an upright position.html November 23. We are going to try to get everyone consolidated at the northern site [Wolcott's crash] and then move to the southern site [Durant's crash]. And Durant's Super 64 Blackhawk was indeed upright.4:45 p. Goffena was relieved to see that his friend was alive. To Goffena. In the back of Blackhawk Super 62. homing in on the newly downed bird. From above. Most of the Rangers and Commandos inserted at the target building were moving to the site of Wolcott's downed helicopter. it was this lack of a second rescue force. If there had been an irremediable flaw in this mission. Ray Frank.processtext. and he had been involved in a legal battle over it ever since. The chopper hadn't hit anything hard enough to flip it over. Ray Frank and Mike Durant. He flew close enough to catch the frustrated look on the face of Durant's copilot. At this point. three commandos: . pilot Mike Goffena saw that Durant had been lucky. Frank had been in a tail-rotor crash like this one on a training mission several years before. . the look on Frank's face down there said. but into a warren of flimsy tin huts. Durant had been shot down while taking the place of Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk. so there would be no easy way to reinforce Durant's crash site. http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.m. pushing at a section of tin roof that had caved in around his legs. It had broken his leg and crunched his back. A Blackhawk is built with shock absorbers to withstand a terrifically hard impact. Goffena could already see Somalis spilling into alleyways and footpaths. was still alive. in addition to his two crew chiefs.From left: Tommy Field. 1997 The crew of Super 64 a month before the battle. either Bill Cleveland or Tommy Field. Goffena had. There's a lot of fire. In other ways. The only airborne search-and-rescue team had already fast-roped down to Wolcott's bird.

Shughart and Gordon were experts at killing and staying alive. He was seated upright in his seat. pleading for immediate help. He heard the ticking of bullets poking through the thin metal walls of the airframe. and help Durant and hiscrew hold off the Somalis until the arrival of a rescue force. A couple of times he saw a glowing arc where a round would hit one of his rotor blades. which would spark and trace a bright line as the blade moved. Shughart stood motioning with his hands. He had been knocked cold for at least several minutes. The shocks . his wife and children lived near Fort Bragg. using his rotor wash to knock down a fence and blow away debris. approved Goffena's request to put two of his helicopter's three commandos on the ground. pointing the way. The helicopter seemed remarkably intact. N. Gordon had enlisted at 17. realizing that it was taking too long to get the new column up and moving. well-trained soldiers could hold off an undisciplined enemy indefinitely. But the men with RPGs were slower to take cover. Durant's seat. and there was something draped over him. http://www. he knew Durant's downed crew wouldn't last long. Gary Gordon and Brad Hallings. Goffena and the other circling pilots worked the radio. They were repeatedly assured that a rescue by the hurriedly assembled ground convoy was imminent. set up a perimeter. This was not a hopeless mission.C. and his snipers were picking them off. Gordon took a spill as he ran for cover. a big sheet of tin. Goffena also noticed that every time he dropped down now. Gordon grinned and gave an excited thumbs-up. But Goffena's air commander.processtext. They were career soldiers trained to get hard. ugly things done. A crew chief popped a small smoke marker out the side in the direction of Durant's helicopter. One or two properly armed. When the crew chief gave Gordon the word that he and Shughart were going in. and the two boys jumped. leaning slightly to the right. Goffena made a low pass at a small clearing. Goffena would drop down low. Shughart got tangled on the safety line connecting him to the chopper and had to be cut free. They were crouched in a defensive posture in the open. and the wash of his propellers would force the thickening crowds back. It had broken in the full down position and was cocked to the right.html snipers Randy Shughart. They were an air crew. not professional ground fighters like the boys. Goffena's crew gunners and the snipers were now picking off armed Somalis. He figured that was because they were spinning when they hit. Goffena's Blackhawk and other helicopter gunships were holding the crowds back. The rotor blades had not flexed off. he was drawing more fire. With Somalis closing in. Shughart and Gordon ran to the smoke. Goffena dropped the copter down low and leaned out the window. He held a hover at about five feet. The windshield of his Blackhawk was shattered. The last thing the crew chiefs saw as the Blackhawk pulled away was both men signaling thumbs-up. The idea was for them to give first aid. MIKE DURANT CAME TO and felt something was wrong with his right leg. which was mounted on shock absorbers. had collapsed down to the floor. Shughart was an outdoorsman fromWestern Pennsylvania who loved his Dodge truck and his hunting rifles.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. indicating their confusion.com/abclit.

and set both on the dashboard. and was talking but making no sense. an MP-5K. He felt an enormous sense of relief. The big bone in his right leg had snapped in two on the edge of his seat. He knew they were the boys. had been splashed with something hot. there was no need. lay unconscious and bleeding. with his rescuers at hand.'' he told Durant. He pushed the piece of tin roof away and decided to defend his position through the broken windshield. He was not in great pain. He could see that his crew chiefs had taken the worst of the crash. No one had been inside. He would pass the strap of his watch through the ring and keep it there during a flight. one taking his legs and the other grabbing his torso. He removed his helmet and his gloves. the other .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. ``I couldn't get them all the way off. Frank said he had reinjured his back. as if they had all the time in the world. Before flying he always took off his wedding ring because there was a danger it could catch on rivets or switches. Behind him the front of his aircraft was wedged tightly against a tin wall. The dazed pilots checked themselves over. He watched them lift Bill Cleveland from the fuselage. The Blackhawk had flattened a flimsy hut. Durant was startled by their arrival.'' a reference to the nickname ``skinny'' the soldiers had bestowed on the wiry Somalian militiamen.com/abclit. That was the last time he saw him. probably engine oil. showed up. He had blood all over his pants. They set him down by a tree. http://www. Bint Abraham Hassan. and was severely burned on her face and legs. but in the next hut a 2-year-old girl. Then he took off his watch.processtext. Now he removed the watch and took the ring off the strap. a little German automatic rifle that fired 9mm rounds. Ray Frank's left tibia was broken. Durant saw that Frank was about to push himself out. They both figured they had crushed vertebrae. They reached in and lifted Durant out of the craft gently. His ordeal was over. Durant did some things he later could not explain. closing off any easy approach from that side. He didn't know either man well. too. Then Gordon and Shughart moved to the other side of the helicopter to help Tommy Field. Durant's back hurt. The pilots called them ``SPs. A hunk of flying metal had taken a deep gouge out of her forehead. Shughart and Gordon were calm.html had collapsed. Shughart and Gordon. but he recognized their faces. and the spin had jerked the seat to the right. And just as Frank disappeared out the doorway. Durant was in a perfect position to cover the whole right side of the aircraft with his skinny-popper. They didn't have the shock absorbers in back. Howa Hassan. He had been thinking about getting the radio operating. He didn't know how long he had been unconscious. Her mother. Frank was trying to explain what happened during the crash. explaining his struggle to turn off the engines as the helicopter plummeted. but now. but it had evidently been long enough for a rescue team to arrive. Durant could not pull himself out of the wreckage. the commandos. It must have been the combination of the jerk and the impact that had broken his femur.'' or ``skinny-poppers. He picked up his weapon.

Moments before. who managed a pharmacy near where the helicopter crashed. or perhaps looking for a place where another helicopter could set down and load them up.html crew chief. The instant Durant's helicopter hit the ground. Durant also did not know. Durant couldn't see what was happening. Mo'Alim was an armed bandit and gunman for hire.other than the emergency ground convoy. They had badly wounded crew members. There was no big rescue team . Then it would jam again. Somalis were starting to poke their heads around the corner on Durant's side of the copter. The Little Bird was running low. but on this day he had thrown his entire gang of 26 street fighters into the citywide effort to fight off the American invaders. circling overhead. over to where the first helicopter had crashed. He knew they weren't going to be able to carry them to where Jones' Little Bird was waiting. They could not make it to the Little Bird. Maier and Jones reluctantly asked for permission to leave and refuel. so he would eject the round.com/abclit. He could hear more shooting from the other side of the airframe. ``Turn back! Stop! There are still men inside who can shoot!'' Some listened to Mo'Alim. expecting a crowd of Somalis to show up any second. Jones and Maier were aiming their weapons at alleyways leading to the clearing. It still hadn't occurred to him that Shughart and Gordon were the entire rescue force. none of them did. He squeezed off a round. Mo'Alim ran with them. Others ran on ahead. pilots Keith Jones and Karl Maier were waiting. that only 110 yards or so away. and they dropped back. leaving the Americans at crash site two to their fate. They were eager to load everybody up and hustle out of there. After waiting on the ground about five minutes.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. a goateed veteran soldier waving his weapon and shouting. and hoping that Shughart and Gordon would arrive with Durant and his crew. saw many of his neighbors grab guns and run toward the wreck. a crowded neighborhood just south of where Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim lived on a street of rag huts and tin-roofed shanties.to help Durant and his crew. Mo'Alim saw everyone around him reverse direction. who owned theBlack Sea restaurant. Now everyone was running south. Ali Hussein. for he was known as a militia leader. and the next time it would shoot properly. . http://www. had seen Shughart and Gordon lift Durant and then Cleveland and Field out of the fuselage. DURANT'S BLACKHAWK had crashed in Wadigley. His gun kept jamming. or looking for a way to get them out. He got on the radio and explained to Jones and Maier that the boys had set up a perimeter around Durant's Blackhawk. He caught hold of the arm of his friend Cawale. He assumed they were attending to Field and setting up a perimeter. They were going to have to hang on until the ground force arrived. The same team that had set the Little Bird down near the first crash site to help Cliff Wolcott's downed crew had now set their helicopter down again .processtext. which was still forming at the airport base two miles away. the crowd on the streets and the fighters had been moving north. and they were vulnerable. They lifted off. Goffena.

and was told that a reaction force was en route.Just a quick shout of anger and pain. ``It's dangerous. that it dawned on Durant that they were stranded. Hussein grabbed him by both shoulders. came back around to Durant's side of the bird. Mo'Alim waited for more of his men to catch up so that they could mount a coordinated attack. They were the entire rescue team. but this new weapon was set on burst. Durant told him where they were kept. He felt a twist of alarm in his gut.html Cawale had a rifle. And Gordon had just been shot! Durant explained standard procedure on the survival radio to Shughart. Durant felt panic closing in now. He knew Ray Frank. DURANT STILL THOUGHT things were under control. He wanted to find a way for his militiamen to get clear shots at the Americans. Don't go!'' he shouted at him.it was Gary Gordon . He could hear firing on the other side of the helicopter. He tried to hold the crowd back. so he fired in that direction. Then two Somalis tried to climb over the . Then he heard one of the guys . But there was the smell of blood and vengeance in the air. they saw Cawale sprawled dead in the dirt. He could hear them talking behind a wall. The ground all around was littered with the bodies of Somalis.processtext. propped against a supply kit next to a small tree. As Mo'Alim had expected. and Shughart stepped into the craft. his copilot. just four paces in front of the helicopter. http://www. it meant he and Gordon had come in on their own. He said there was a channel Bravo. "What's the support frequency on the survival radio?'' Shughart asked. He was on his back. It was then. He had to keep the Somalis away. as Mo'Alim and his men reached the second crashsite. Minutes later. And somewhere were the two boys and his crew chief. and he listened while Shughart called out. using his weapon to keep back the occasional Somali who poked his head into the clearing. He didn't say what had happened to Gordon. Cawale wrestled away from Hussein and joined the running crowd. but it was difficult to approach the small clearing where the helicopter lay. The other guy. He wondered if Tommy was OK. was hurt but alive. the Americans around the crashed helicopter were still very capable of fighting.com/abclit. Tommy Field. "Are there weapons on board?'' he asked. Then Shughart took the weapons and moved back around to the other side of the helicopter. Shughart asked for immediate help. His leg was broken but it didn't hurt. for the first time. Randy Shughart. rummaged around and returned with both rifles. The crew chiefs carried M-16s. He didn't hear the voice again.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He figured it was only a matter of time before the ground vehicles showed up to take them out. a CAR-15 automatic rifle loaded and ready to fire. The voices behind the wall stopped. He handed Durant Gordon's weapon. If Shughart was asking how to set up communications. The Americans had every approach covered with deadly automatic-weapons fire. It startled him because he had been firing single shots.shout that he was hit. but they were angry and brazen.

Terror washed over Durant like nothing he had ever felt. A man tried to climb over the wall. That was in store for him now. but he never even thought to reach for it. The man shouted. Indigenous? That's affirmative. Durant placed the empty weapon across his chest. He heard Shughart shout in pain. and he heard a great shuffling sound as the Somalis pushed it away. The rumor around the hangar was that they'd played soccer with the heads of a couple of downed pilots earlier that summer. There was no more shooting. worried commanders were watching on video screens. They did gruesome. horrible things.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He seemed startled to find Durant lying there. and Durant shot him. too. He could hear sounds of an angry mob. and they jumped back. He still had a pistol strapped to his side. Durant knew what had happened to soldiers who had fallen into the hands of angry Somalis. and Durant shot him. It was over. He was done. and turned his eyes to the sky. at the mercy of an angry mob . and more Somalis came running. A Somali stepped around the nose of the helicopter. His second weapon was out of rounds. The others must be dead.com/abclit. High overhead in the surveillance helicopters. It was time to die. Black Hawk Down Chapter 9 Alone. The shooting stopped. The crash had left the clearing littered with debris.processtext. http://www. He didn't know whether he had hit them.html nose end of the copter. Suddenly there was a mad fusillade on the other side of the helicopter that lasted for about two minutes. over. Another came crawling from around the corner with a weapon. Do you have video over crash site number two? Indigenous personnel moving around all over the crash site. He fired at them. The radio fell silent. folded his hands over it.

The pilot was at their mercy. The crowd followed Mo'Alim and his men into the clearing. First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sgt. Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim. One of his men struck the pilot hard in the face with his rifle butt. shouting and cackling. He waited until about a dozen of his men joined him. for one of their own. On this day all the hatred had come to a boil. the Americans stopped firing. and a knife. It was an insult toSomalia . Soon people were running. They knew the .html November 24. In the months since the Rangers came. At Mo'Alim's signal. and the Somalis were afraid he had other hidden weapons. He grabbed the pilot's arm. They wanted to kill these Americans who had fallen from the sky and opened fire on their friends and neighbors. Several of Mo'Alim's fighters tore off Durant's clothing. had been trying to keep the angry crowd back. people continued to move in that direction. The other. they had been swooping over the city at all hours of the night and day. The Americans were surrounded. After a furious exchange of fire that lasted at least two minutes. Now he didn't have to work as hard. but the bearded militia leader felt suddenly protective of the man. and many were already dead. There was time. He set his weapon on his chest and folded his hands over it. Sgt. Mo'Alim and some of his men formed a ring around the pilot to protect him from the mob. Those who went for the pilot began kicking and beating him. He shouted and waved his arms as the mob grabbed him by the legs and pulled him away.processtext. When Mo'Alim ran around the tail of the helicopter. blowing the tin roofs off houses and roping in to shoot and arrest Habr Gidr clan leaders. The pilot had a pistol strapped to his side. People with knives hacked at the bodies of the dead Americans. tearing at his clothes. perhaps all of them. The mob descended on the Americans. and Mo'Alim pushed him back. Another American lay dead or badly wounded. Gary Gordon were fending off the crowd. a pilot. They would be willing to trade them. And despite furious gunfire from the soldiers around the downed helicopter. Mo'Alim stayed back himself. his men opened fire all at once on the Americans. The Somalian bodies strewn around the clearing and the deadly accurate fire from the Americans did that. was still alive. 1997 ON THE CROWDED STREETS people surged with anger around Mike Durant's crashed Blackhawk. parading with parts of the Americans' bodies. stretched on the ground. and then they fanned out to find good positions for a coordinated assault. Only one was still alive. The crowd surged past Mo'Alim and fell on both men. At the wreck site. fired his weapon in the air and shouted for the crowd to stay back.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. It occurred to Mo'Alim that this American was more valuable alive than dead. The man did not shoot. On the side of the helicopter he could see. One. which sought only revenge. the neighborhood militia leader. Others in the crowd pulled and tore at the dead men's limbs. The Rangers had spent months capturing Somalis and holding them prisoner.com/abclit. looked badly wounded or dead. http://www. he was startled to find two other Americans. waiting for the promised rescue convoy of ground troops. there were two soldiers and a pilot who were firing.

He was in it. they were unfamiliar with the plastic snaps on his gear. His nose was broken. They tied a rag or a towel over the top of his head and eyes. apart somehow. and the mob hoisted him up. Durant suddenly left his body. he thought a woman. He was observing the crowd attacking him. you dieSomalia !'' Then someone threw a handful of dirt in his face. the battle seemed immediate and distant at the same time. and he passed out. He was engulfed in a great chorus of hate and anger. The Somalis were screaming things he couldn't understand. The fear lessened. A man started unzipping his pants. Black Hawk Down Chapter 10 At the base. rifle butts. http://www. so they stripped him.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He could not see where they were taking him. He was buffeted from all sides.html American pilots also wore beacons in their clothing so that the helicopters could track them. Ranger. so Durant reached down and squeezed them open. They also left on his brown T-shirt. ``Ranger. A young man leaned down and grabbed at the green ID card Durant wore around his neck. He felt the broken end of his femur pierce the skin in the back of his right leg and poke through. and the bone around his eyes was shattered from the blow to his face. His boots were yanked off. Someone. kicked. . 1997 FOR THE RANGERS left behind at the American airport base on the beach inMogadishu . hit with fists. He felt no pain. or above it. perhaps. He was no longer at the center of the crowd. Durant kept his eyes on the sky.processtext. then his survival vest and his shirt.com/abclit. And in this agony of fright. bravery and hesitation November 25. partly carrying and partly dragging him. they couldn't watch the fight unfold on video screens. and it filled his mouth. grabbed his penis and testicles and yanked at them. All the while he was being kicked and hit. When they started pulling off his clothes. Unlike the commanders at theJointOperationsCenter nearby. but when he saw that the pilot wore no underwear (for comfort in the equatorial heat) he zipped the trousers back up. He stuck it in Durant's face and shouted in English.

to a man. Spec. He had shrapnel in his legs from a night mission a few weeks earlier. with a bad case of asthma. There was no hesitation whatsoever. Earlier that day. They heard the voices of men who never got rattled shouting with fear and cracking with emotion.'' He had the word Ranger tattooed twice on his bulging left deltoid. Todd Blackburn. Thomas lost it.Blackburn looked awful. all shot up and mangled. while minor. Their best friends. I do not want to go out there. His vehicle had been part of a convoy carrying Pfc. The fight really hit home when Sgt. and then Mike Durant's. had cracked his Hoo-ah spirit. He dared not show it. http://www. His eyes were closed. his eyes were red. but that's how he felt. a husky blond kid fromIllinois . and he wasn't moving. as if they needed to stay in touch. He looked at the Commados and SEALs who had climbed off the little convoy. but they were quite different. They were going to fight their way to the Durant site and rescue the crew. but his wounds. Until then he had been as gung ho as the rest of the guys. as if talk were a net to prevent their free fall. These guys were like machines.com/abclit.Anderson was slender and quiet. Now word came that the remnants of Pilla's convoy were to be joined by fresh Rangers and vehicles from the base. hearing the distant gunfire and the radio traffic. were trapped and dying. He had banged up his elbow a few days earlier wrestling with a Commando colonel who had flung him down.'' Thomas was crying. Sizemore had felt miserable when his buddies had suited up for the mission. Anderson and Sizemore were both Rangers fromIllinois . "I can't go back out there!'' he shouted. It seemed to him that everybody was using the radio twice as much as usual. and he was in a cold sweat. They could tell the mission had gone to hell. "Pilla's dead. Pilla had dropped dead in Thomas' lap inside the humvee. it madeAnderson want to be someplace else. He couldn't go because he had a cast on his arm. His stomach was churning. andAnderson felt himself start to cry and he realized. Do I have to go out there? Seeing Pilla dead andBlackburn busted up brought things into immediate and dire focus. They heard the radio describe Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk going down. Dale Sizemore. Not everyone was as eager as Sizemore. their brothers. But the Rangers were all shaken. Steve Anderson. "I can't! They're shooting from everywhere!'' . and that was enough. and were friends. Thomas rode the whole way back bathed in his dead friend's blood. had a sick feeling. Brad Thomas.processtext.html All they had was the radio.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. No one was more fired up than Spec. As much as it made Sizemore want to join the fight. The snatch-and-grab mission had clearly become a pitched battle. Andersonwas dismayed by the confusion of shouting and shooting. What are we doing in this place? ThenAnderson got a good look at Spec. who fell from a helicopter at the start of the mission. Pilla had been shot in the head and killed. Dominick Pilla's humvee rolled in. He was ashamed. his mouth was bloody. The Rangers called him "Adonis. As Thomas emerged from the humvee now. He looked atAnderson and choked out. They were already rearmed and ready to charge back out.

"You can't go out there with that cast on your elbow. "Listen. You don't have to do this if you don't want to.'' he said.'' he said. I'll do it myself if I have to. "OK. They're going to get sick. and stuffed ammo into his pockets and pouches. Together they set off for buckets of water. Staff Sgt.'' Struecker strode over to his Rangers. "I'm going out. "Will you help me clean up? You don't have to. He raced back out to the convoy with his boots unlaced and his shirt unbuttoned. He grabbed his SAW. and it made him wild with anger. He ran into the hangar. .'' The gunner nodded glumly. Andersonsaw Sizemore's response and admired him enormously for it. and began grabbing stray gear. you need to clean your vehicle up. pointing to the blood-splattered humvee. Raleigh Cash.'' he told Cash.'' he said. The rest of his gear had been packed away for his medevac flight home the next day. Cash just looked at him and shook his head. His men were freaking out. you're hurt. He was wearing gym shorts and a T-shirt. sergeant. "If you don't. He found a flak vest that was three sizes too big for him and a helmet that lolled around on his head like a salad bowl. One of the Commadno guys pulled him aside. "Then I'll lose it. and cut straight up the inside seam and flung the cast away. found a pair of scissors. "I'm going out there with you guys. Go get yourselves some more ammunition. felt his own heart sink. his squad automatic weapon. He had donned his own vest and helmet. http://www. pulled on pants and a shirt. The whole damn city was trying to kill them! The commander of Pilla's tiny convoy.com/abclit. But we have to clean this thing up right now because we're fixing to roll right back out. How could they go back out into that? They'd barely escaped with their lives. but he was mortified.'' Cash said.'' said his team leader. Sizemore didn't argue. Jeff Struecker. "You can't.'' Struecker asked his 50-gunner. Sgt. His vehicles were all shot up. "Look. Sizemore saw all this. men.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Everybody else go resupply. and felt all the more ashamed. Then he came back and climbed onto a humvee. and taken a seat in the back of a humvee. It's going to mess them up.'' Sizemore ran back into the hangar. your guys are going to get more messed up.processtext.html Even those Rangers who remained composed felt the same way.

com/abclit. tough and. by the book. Struecker fit the unit's mold better than anyone else. Black Hawk Down Chapter 11 Besieged. . I'm scared. of all of them. But we've got to go. "I can't do it. The officers loved him. but it wasn't out of passion or solidarity or patriotism. The sergeant knew this was coming. obedient. 1997 . disoriented as bullets fly November 26. "Sgt. but Thomas was calm. he pulled Thomas aside and spoke to him quietly. It was because he didn't dare refuse.'' Thomas didn't seem to like the answer. they expected him to explode. it's what you do while you're scared. Struecker. too. Thomas pulled Struecker aside. above all. He had decided he would go out intoMogadishu and risk his life. He tried to calm him. All the men watched for his response. As they were about to pull out. He'd taken all he could take. He was like the prize pupil in class. I'm married. He repeated very deliberately.Thomas had made a decision. which meant that at least some of his men regarded him with a slightly jaundiced eye. He walked away. "Listen. either.processtext.'' Thomas said. . Struecker was a model Ranger: strong. man to man. a perfectly rational one. He'd made a calculated decision.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The difference between being a coward and a man is not whether you're scared. "I understand how you feel. He'd just been married a few months before. Instead. I know you're scared. http://www.'' However steep a price a man would pay for backing down like that . As the other men were about to board the humvees. Struecker noticed to his relief that Thomas had climbed on board with the rest of the men. . It's our job. Don't think of yourself as a coward.html He didn't know whether to feel more ashamed of his fear or of his sheeplike acceptance of the orders. I can't go back out there. There was no doubt that. He was not going to go out there and die. I've never been in a situation like this. He showed none of this.'' Struecker said. unassuming. With Struecker challenged like this.and for a Ranger it would be a steep price indeed .

disabling it and mangling the legs of Staff Sgt. Most of the men fighting in the vehicles didn't know it. Before they could carry out their revised orders. Othic had seen people running. But the convoy itself needed help. A round had splintered the forearm. Othic felt besieged and disoriented.50-cal. and he'd mowed down a crowd of men and women who had opened fire on the convoy.com/abclit. In the melee that began as soon as the nine-vehicle ground convoy turned the corner at the Olympic Hotel. Now they were told to continue as planned to the Wolcott crash site. and then fight their way to the Durant site a mile away. PRIVATE CLAY OTHIC shot a chicken.000 feet.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Othic's humvee was the last vehicle in the column. they badly needed guidance. along with commandos and Ranger teams around the target house. as planned. To an extent the commanders didn't realize from watching on their screens above. it was impossible for the Rangers in the vehicles to tell what was going on.S. they were to wend their way throughMogadishu 's narrow streets and rescue Wolcott and his crew.50-cal. But they all understood that this quick mission intoMogadishu was developing into the gunfight of their lives. He watched the grenade explode on one of the five-tons. Mike Durant's Blackhawk was shot down about a mile south of the convoy. The orders changed again. houses. It felt as if a baseball bat had whacked his right arm. Dave Wilson.brick walls. He had opened up from the turret of his humvee with the powerful . women. They were directed by officers watching from above on video screens. men.processtext. a Commando colonel in the command helicopter. and U. instructed the convoy to load up the prisoners. Lost and wandering inMogadishu 's confusing alleyways. the men in the vehicles were getting hammered. He had already torn a man apart with the . children. It happened just after he had seen an RPG launched from a crowd of Somalis.html Clay Othic in the turret out by the range. who had been standing alongside. but they had just been given new orders. Harrell in the command bird at 3. All this while guarding two dozen prisoners and taking fire that was getting more intense by the minute. But instead of returning to base. Anything seemed possible.000 feet higher than the helicopters. Othic had been one of the first men hit. cars. cows. The convoy's original mission had been to load up 24 Somalian prisoners seized in the raid and haul them back to the airport base. Othic had just turned to fire on the crowd when he heard a loud crack. Gary Harrell. In a few blinding moments of pain he just . and chickens flying. The plan changed dramatically when Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk went down four blocks east of the target house. Navy pilots in a P-3 Orion spy plane about 1. Everything was getting blown apart in this battle . http://www. and one of the rounds turned a chicken into a puff of feathers. With all the gunfire and chaos around them. But after that they were to load up the soldiers who had rushed to Wolcott's aid. men with AK-47s firing wildly. Col.

Eversmann was relieved to see the convoy approach. a tiny guy. An avid hunter fromHolt. He was a crack shot. As he stood there taking a final mental count of his men.processtext. Lorenzo Ruiz stepped up to take the gun. Some of the soldiers were able now to jump on the remaining vehicles. Bill Powell had been shot in the meaty part of his calf. The trucks had big.'' for he was the smallest man in the unit. which was comforting. and he was using his left arm to shoot his M-16. It brought a smile to Eversmann's face despite his ordeal. Eversmann had to make a running leap on the back of a humvee. If they were together and rolling. A few turns later they found themselves right back where they had been minutes earlier. Othic stretched out on his belly in back of the second-to-last humvee. Othic had grown up with guns. They started off following the soldiers who were on foot. Sgt. Sgt. but the helicopters steered them along a different route.Wilson held his weapon on the prisoners and propped up his mangled legs.50-cal. He landed on top of somebody. and found himself flat on his back. it meant the end was near.50-cal steadily. Right. Ruiz was working the . First Class Bob Gallagher had been shot in the arm. where they had loaded up their prisoners as the mission began an hour earlier. There they came upon Staff Sgt. As helpless as he felt. guiding them through the maze. piling them on top of other guys. firing it on automatic. sweeping the street behind the convoy until Sgt. whose Chalk Four had been pinned down since the mission began. And that spot was just a few blocks north of the target house. He had a field dressing on his right arm. Wolcott's crash site was just blocks away. Next to Othic. . His men were badly shot up. Three vehicles had been dispatched earlier to return an injured Ranger to the main base.Mo. The big gun's recoil gently rocked the wide vehicle.there would be nearly 120 men to rescue the two downed crews and then fight their way out of the hornet's nest. the sergeant had said. fluorescent-orange panels on top to help the surveillance birds keep an eye on them. The helicopters were the troops' eyes in the sky. If everything went well the 20-man convoy and ground units linking up at the Wolcott crash site with all the Rangers and Commando teams already there .'' but to himself had said facetiously. and moving. Sgt. he was relieved to be back with the others. Eversmann loaded his bloodied men on the crowded vehicles. http://www. Othic wasn't the only casualty. the column started moving. which had its slope-backed hatch open so he and the others crammed in there could shoot out the back. He spotted his buddy Sgt. so low in the turret of the lead humvee that he was actually peering out from underneath the . When a Ranger captain had ordered Eversmann to move his Chalk to Wolcott's crash site on foot. Matt Eversmann. but the others had to move out on foot. Mike Pringle. There weren't enough vehicles to carry all four Chalk teams and the Commando guys from the target house. looking up at the sky.com/abclit. . ``Roger. In the back of one truck.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. realizing what a terrific target he was and that he couldn't even return fire. The Rangers had nicknamed him "Little Hunter.html went "cyclic'' on the big gun. He had only about four or five still able to fight out of the original Chalk of about a dozen soldiers.

lost and bloody November 27. a woman in a flowing purple robe darted past on the driver's side of the truck.processtext. Each time his M-16 magazine was used up. From above. "Don't shoot.and getting riddled. . Eric Spalding. Holding a baby on one arm. He shot four more rounds into her before she fell. on rooftops.com/abclit. Spalding shot her where she stood. He thought he probably had hit the baby. left . commanders could see Somalis throwing up roadblocks and preparing ambushes inMogadishu .'' Spalding shouted at him.html Up ahead. right. keeping up because the two five-ton trucks and six humvees were stopping and then darting across intersections one at a time. "She's got a kid!'' At that moment the woman turned. as close to Cliff Wolcott's crash site as they were. and he was shooting at whatever moved. Othic's buddy. http://www. She had been carrying the infant on her arm. But with the surveillance helicopters and P-3 Orion spy plane overhead. As they crossed one alley. the convoy would have just barreled over to it. This gave the gunmen time to get to the next street and set up to fire at each vehicle as it came through. Why would a mother do something like that with a kid on her arm? What was she thinking? Black Hawk Down Chapter 12 Left. right in front. and he didn't get to see whether he had. in the second truck. There were people with guns in alleyways.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. then get over to pilot Mike Durant's crash site about a mile south. at windows. Spalding shot with his 9mm Berretta pistol while he replaced the rifle magazine with his free hand. They were moving fast. 1997 IN ORDINARY circumstances. But the convoy couldn't get anywhere because it was lost . A group of about 15 gunmen was running along streets parallel to the convoy. was firing away steadily with his M-16. the convoy was about to illustrate how too much information can hurt soldiers on a battlefield. running over and shooting through anything in its path. He hoped he hadn't hit the baby. help rescue the crew. Spec. He was amazed at the ferocity of the Somalian attacks. she raised a pistol with her free hand. The driver had his pistol resting on his left arm. The men in the vehicles had been ordered to fight their way to Wolcott's crash site.

Every time they stopped. relying on his eyes in the sky to direct him. Howard Wasdin. It was easy to get lost inMogadishu . the column stopped. The sun was low now. As far as Gay could see. So when the Orion pilots said.'' that message went first to the JOC and then to the convoy. He was shooting through his second magazine of M-16 ammo when Sgt. Who's calling the shots here? The driver of Gay's humvee. They seemed to believe that their mission had ended with the capture of the Somalis back at the target house. or guard the column. or stopping just beyond them. up and back. tried to steer the convoy clear of Somalian gunfire. The convoy's progress seemed orderly. if the lead vehicle got hit. did not know where the convoy was going.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Pfc. There was another problem. a lieutenant colonel more accustomed to commanding a battalion than a line of vehicles. But convoy commander Danny McKnight. The pilots watched with frustration as the convoy drove past the place they had directed it to turn. then. was hit in the right leg. Lying helplessly on his back. flown by U. It was already evident to Gay that they were not on their way home but were fighting for their lives. getting the delayed message. a tough little ex-boxer . after driving through a hail of gunfire. There was another turn. Lorenzo Ruiz. who had been shot in the left leg back by the target house. They were not allowed to communicate directly with the convoy. Standard procedure on a convoy was to tell each driver where he was headed. The whole exercise seemed maddeningly foolhardy. McKnight was in his lead vehicle with a radio plugged in his ear. and then more people would get shot. http://www. At the rear of the convoy.S. was also getting frustrated.processtext. But the Orion pilots were handicapped. the convoy could continue. Staff Sgt. Roads you thought were taking you one place would suddenly slant off in a different direction. That way. Their orders were to relay all communications to the Joint Operations Center (JOC) back at the beach. Clay Othic's shattered right arm ached but wasn't bleeding. The video images were't conveying how desperate the situation was. his right hip still aching and bloody from where an AK-47 round had been stopped by his knife. the commanders weren't hearing the pop of bullets and feeling the bone-rattling.html The choppers and the spy plane. Then another. none had life-threatening or immobilizing injuries. The convoy took several doglegs onto side streets and got no closer to Wolcott's crash site. It was a nightmare. Watching on screens. Veterans such as Gay and Rierson wondered. At one point. leader of the Commando team that had taken the Somalis.com/abclit. dodging the soldiers left and right on the labyrinthine streets. First Class Matt Rierson. ``Turn left. leaving the vehicle immediately behind exposed to a wicked crossfire. Sgt. so turning west meant a blinding stab of dusk. Navy aviators. then made a U-turn and drove straight back through the same maelstrom. Those who were not wounded were smeared with the blood of those they had helped carry back to vehicles. hadn't told anyone. The inexperienced Ranger drivers kept stopping at intersections. Matt Eversmann felt his vehicle steer left when he knew the crash site was back to his right. All were capable of fighting. He was riding blind. turned left down the wrong street. Every time the ungainly five-tons turned around. lung-sucking blast of grenades. but few of them were. to negotiate the narrow streets. SEAL John Gay. There were about seven wounded Rangers in his humvee who seemed to be in varying degrees of paralysis. they would have to pull clumsily up and back. It was like negotiating a maze. the able-bodied would jump out to pull security.

com/abclit. just the way he'd been trained. no one could climb into the turret from inside the humvee. From where Spalding stood. ``We're going to move!'' he screamed to Hand. Ruiz. Dave Ritchie got out and jumped up to the turret from the street. ``Get the . He had not sought cover. He had been hit through the vest in the upper back where the Rangers' new flak vests had no protective plate. the Ranger who had fallen 70 feet off the fast rope at the start of the mission. There was just a blaaaap! and a spurt of fire from the barrel. They tore off his flak vest and shirt. and the sergeant went straight down in the dirt on his face. Immediately. First Class Bob Gallagher. The round had passed through his torso and had come out his abdomen. As Spalding debated with himself. who raced the humvee frantically up the column with the . Joyce and Hand were in a furious firefight.50-cal.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. but that meant crossing the alley where bullets were flying. with Ruiz now slumped on top of them. Inside. It lodged in the front of the vest. and found a hole in his lower right chest and a bigger exit wound in his back. which did . They made another stop. grabbed him by the shirt and vest. so he hung on from the outside as they began moving again. Hell no. Eric Spalding. At opposite sides of one alley stood Spec. Spec. watched rounds shatter the wall just over Hand's head. ``Get the . Gay ran out to help. a . had taken the armored plates out of his flak vest to reduce the weight he had to carry in the African heat. He was bleeding heavily and seemed to be in shock. That seemed like hours ago. He looked dead. Spec. He couldn't climb inside because Ruiz's limp form was in the way. The SEAL fired several rounds up the alley and herded Hand back to the vehicles. Spalding knew that he should go help cover his friend and pull him back.processtext. Joyce was on one knee. ``He got shot! He got shot!'' shouted the driver. He was doing everything wrong. who had taken over the . Across the alley. the men pulled Ruiz out of the turret. Hand didn't hear him.html fromEl Paso. Jim Telscher. Casey Joyce. His eyes were open wide but empty.50 cal up ASAP!'' Packed in the way they were. Sgt. They had to get out of there. There wasn't even time for Spalding to shout a warning. Aaron Hand and Sgt. First Class Todd Blackburn. doing things right. sprinted out to Joyce. http://www. the Ranger who had earlier run alone through gunfire to get help for Pvt. and dragged him back to the vehicles. Ritchie swiveled and shot the big gun.50-cal on one of the humvees blasted gaping holes in the wall around the window where the gun had appeared. I'm not going to cross that alley. even if Joyce had been able to hear him. He'd found cover and was returning disciplined fire. weaving through the heavy fire. suddenly slumped down. like many of the men in the vehicles.50-cal just spinning around in the empty turret. he was changing magazines with his back exposed. Then a gun barrel poked out a window above Joyce and let off a quick burst.Texas .50-cal up!'' screamed Sgt. it looked as if Hand was going to be shot for sure. who had just leaped from his truck to provide cover. Rangers piled out to provide cover. Joyce's skin was white. He hesitated.

We took a lot of rounds as we were clearing out of the area. Black Hawk Down Chapter 13 No cover from the flying grenades November 28.html have an armored plate. Sgt.com/abclit. Uniform 64. Uniform 64 was the column's code name. MATT RIERSON left his humvee back in the column and sprinted up to the lead vehicle. He screamed at each driver to stay out of the intersections. Want you to try to go to the first crash site and consolidate on that. the commando stopped at every vehicle and spread the word. Rierson tried to impose some order on the column. but had no idea that was where they were supposed to go.processtext. on his way back down the column. but McKnight wasn't giving up. including me.which clearly misunderstood their situation. of course. http://www. McKnight answered: We have no positive contact with them yet.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. 1997 FED UP. He was bleeding from the arm and the neck. As he saw it. And now McKnight.Over. . Rierson finally learned from McKnight where they were trying to go. where they were exposed to concentrated fire. you got everybody out of the crash site?Over. too. out of the question. Quite a few wounded. Command replied: Roger. Then. Once we get everybody out of there we'll go to the second crash site and try to do an exfill [move out]. They loaded Joyce in back with the mounting number of wounded. was wounded. while other members of his Delta team organized men to collect the wounded every time the column stopped. Danny McKnight was overwhelmed. Over the radio came a hopeful inquiry from Command. He began trying to call in helicopter gunships. The colonel leading the convoy appeared completely lost. This was. Some of the men in the column had caught glimpses of Cliff Wolcott's helicopter crash site in their meandering.

Understand. and Pfc. Have good visual on you now .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Pfc. Can you give me some .com/abclit. but three other bullets struck the inner thighs of both legs. From my location I have to go east farther about three blocks and then head north. From the crash site. this is Uniform 64. As they turned another corner. So the increasingly deadly search resumed. we just need a direction and distance from where I'm at. Matt Eversmann's Chalk Four. Piling out of the vehicles to provide security. Spalding was about to climb back into his seat on his truck when he was grabbed by an enraged Rierson and yanked back out to the street. They're popping smoke. Go about three blocks east and two blocks north. . He ignored the request. Sgt. To make room on the back of his humvee for the wounded Burns. The radio net was filled with calls related to the crash of Mike Durant's helicopter. quiet kid from Texas whom they all called "Alphabet'' . he was asked to report the number of Rangers he had picked up from Staff Sgt. Staff Sgt. http://www. where Spec. and medics began patching him up. but with his broken arm Othic couldn't grab hold of anything. Danny. "What?'' The sergeant put his florid face right up to Spalding's nose and enunciated every word. Clay Othic had jumped out and run down to another truck. Richard Kowalewski. they encountered a roadblock. and Spalding could see veins bulging in his neck. a skinny. Eric Spalding jumped out of his truck to help carry Burns to a vehicle and. He dragged himself out of the vehicle. Pfc. as he carried him. . John Burns took two bullets. he felt the sergeant get hit by another round. Romeo 64. He wanted to know where the hell he was. are you still on that main hardball [paved road]? I'm on the exfill road. There was no answer at first.html Roger. The sergeant was shouting so hard his face was beet red. Adalberto Rodriguez was hit by a volley. First Class Bob Gallagher held down a hand to help him climb aboard in back. but the noise of gunfire was so loud he couldn't hear. When McKnight did hear from Command again.Down toward National. and Rierson's humvee was stuck in the middle of an intersection again. His body armor stopped a round that hit his chest. .processtext. the Americans were hit with a terrific volley of fire from the Somalis. They helped him back into the humvee. exposed to enemy fire. Aaron Hand stepped out to let Othic squeeze between himself and the driver. Turn east. Spec. "PULL YOUR F-ING TRUCK FORWARD!'' Their sudden stop had left the vehicles behind backed up. where am I now? How far over? Stand by. . Understand. After several failed attempts he ran around to the cab.

and Commando Master Sgt. Tim "Grizz" Martin. right in front of the gas cap. Stuffed in behind him. The shrapnel had fractured a bone in his forearm. A drum of . He told himself to wait until the smoke cleared to check it out. just some numbness in his hand. Rodriguez had tumbled about 10 yards before coming to rest. Jim Telscher. were Sgt. and he could still shoot. Two humvees farther back. The blast blew Rodriguez. 2 John Maddox. thinking Somalian gunmen were hiding in them. who was leaning against a row of sandbags to one side. it suddenly seemed to be raining RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades). But it wasn't bleeding much. Ahead. Soldiers scrambled again from the vehicles to pick up their wounded comrades. rolled the truck right over Rodriguez. and penetrated the ammo drum. Telscher. and moments later came a blinding flash and an ear-shattering Boom! The inside of his vehicle was clogged with black smoke. Carlson felt himself for wet spots. Rierson helped carry some of the injured and found places for them in the back end of humvees. As the convoy moved out again. Ed Kallman sat behind the wheel. The explosion blew off the back side of Rodriguez's left thigh and practically tore Martin in half. he saw a line of trees on the sidewalk begin to explode.processtext. Somebody with a big gun was systematically taking out the trees. curled in fetal position.html because they didn't want to pronounce his name.50-cal ammo had been hit. blown on through the sandbags inside. He began struggling to his feet. Rodriguez and Martin now lay writhing on the road behind the smoking humvee. There wasn't enough time to say or do anything about it. He felt no pain. shooting out the open hatch in the rear. A grenade had gone through the steel skin of the vehicle. Its driver. and exploded inside. severed a tendon. http://www. Pvt. The goggles he had pinned to the top of his helmet were blown off. In the rear of one he found an uninjured Ranger sergeant hiding. as if someone had put charges in each and was detonating them one at a time. Tory Carlson was wedged in between the two rear seats of the second humvee in the column. passed through Martin's lower body. His left arm was bloody where shrapnel had pierced it in several places. and broken a bone in his hand. It ripped the hand guards off Sgt. increasingly amazed and alarmed by what was happening around him.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and he heard people screaming for him to kick it out! Kick it out! He booted the drum. Telscher and Martin out of the back end of the moving vehicle. Medics did what they could for Rodriguez and Martin. both of whom were gravely wounded. Black Hawk Down Chapter 14 . His legs were a mass of blood and gore. one after the other. stunned and momentarily disoriented by another grenade blast. the wounded Rodriguez. Pvt. His boots were on fire. Jeff McLaughlin's M-16 and pierced his left forearm with a chunk of shrapnel. only to see one of the five-ton trucks bearing straight for him.com/abclit.then stooped to pat out the flames on his feet. Carlson heard a grenade explode behind his humvee. The grenade had poked a football-sizedhole right through the skin of the humvee. Pfc.

He sat up and floored the accelerator. shouldn't somebody have stepped in? Where was a stronger show of force? It didn't seem right that they could be reduced to this. Now they were going to be out in this horror all night! As Kallman slowed down to let the humvee in front of him clear an intersection. too. the point of the grenade hit first steel and then the reinforced glass. Col. sooner or later he was going to take a hit. the convoy commander. It all happened in a second. neither he nor anyone in his vehicle had been hit. Danny McKnight. too. Up ahead he saw the convoy making a left turn. Cliff Wolcott and Mike Durant. along with their crews. dying! This isn't supposed to be happening! Men he knew and admired were dead or bellowing in pain on the street with gunshot wounds that exposed great crimson flaps of glistening muscle. So far. It did. He opened his eyes and was looking directly at the radio mounted under the dash. http://www. men who knew how to fight and would keep him safe.com/abclit. 1997 PVT. and still no sign of help November 29.html Hammered. fast. Those who were not injured were smeared with the blood of others.processtext.ED KALLMAN. the instruction from Command refers to the second crash site. dazed. They were supposed to be rescuing the two Blackhawk pilots who had been shot down. He knew it was a rocket-propelled grenade and he knew it was going to hit him. He and the others inside had been saved by a combination of the metal door and the bulletproof glass inside it. BY NOW THE EFFORTS to direct the convoy had turned to black comedy. while McKnight's . These were men he looked up to and felt good about going into battle with.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Kallman was young and new to the unit. Kallman awoke lying on his right side on the front seat with his ears ringing. bleeding. bleeding. Because the window was rolled down. he looked out the open window to his left and saw a smoke trail coming straight at him. It was complicated by the fact that a second convoy had been dispatched from the airport base to attempt a rescue at Mike Durant's downed Super 64. And all this dangerous driving wasn't even taking them back to the base. He was a soldier for the most powerful nation on earth. now felt a cold sweat of panic behind the wheel of his humvee toward the rear of the lost convoy. who had felt such a surge of excitement an hour earlier when encountering battle for the first time. struggled to make sense of the directions rattling over the radio. The grenade had hit Kallman's door. But he watched with horror as the convoy disintegrated before him. and he raced to catch up. If these experienced soldiers were getting hit. battling on these narrow dirt streets. and those vehicles were under fire. They were wandering in the smoke. Here. Lt. If they were having this much trouble. their clothing torn off. and the vehicle took off.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Then: Uniform 64. laid out on their sides.the 24 Somalian prisoners. until the Somalian man praying was shot dead. Convoy. Ahmen Warsame was among the handcuffed prisoners in a five-ton truck. this is Romeo 64. Keep coming south.html convoy was actually searching for the first: Danny. the boys would brave fire on the streets to recover him. . Things had deteriorated so badly that officers in the command helicopter were considering just releasing what they called ``all the precious cargo'' . stop! Goddamn it. Goddamn it. Told to be silent. turn east.Next right. There is green smoke marking the site south. stop! Right turn! Right turn! You're taking fire! Hurry up! It was the experienced commandos on the convoy who held things together.com/abclit. First Class Matt Rierson kept radio lines up with the Little Birds. You seem to have gone about four blocks west and five blocks south. Take the next available right. Under the din of gunfire he heard the sound of muttered prayers. . Be advised they are coming under heavy fire.Over. They were stacked tightly into the space. Give me a right turn. Sgt. Next right! Alleyway! Alleyway! They just missed their turn. relaying the convoy's status and calling in air support. http://www. and in overlapping confusion: Uniform 64. Uniform. There was no telling who had fired the shot. I think you've gone too far west trying to look at the second crash. right turn! Right turn! And then: You need to go about four blocks south. I think you're talking to the wrong convoy! But still the instructions came. Stop giving directions! . the frightened prisoners began talking among themselves until a Ranger clubbed one of the Somalis in the head. . this is Romeo 64.processtext. Every time another man was hurt. and Commando medic Don Hutchingson would go to work. At one point a voice came over the busy command frequency begging for order.

Quite a few casualties. http://www. after about 45 minutes of meandering. This is Uniform 64. what's your status? But McKnight and his men had had enough. vehicles that are halfway running. Command was insistent: Danny.processtext.html Finally. They had made a courageous effort. We've got a lot of vehicles that will be almost impossible to move. but they weren't home yet Black Hawk Down Chapter 15 Ambush after ambush: Fighting just to stay alive November 30.Got to get these casualties out of here ASAP.how they had gotten lost.]. but casualties were piling up. You've got me back in front of the Olympic Hotel. the convoy stopped. Getting to the crash site will be awful tough.Are pinned down. I really need to get you back to that crash site. and where they should go now. They were going to give up on reaching either crash site.McKnight and some of the ranking noncoms huddled in the street to assess their situation . they were right back where they started.com/abclit. They set off a purple smoke grenade to mark their position. There were far more dead and wounded in the convoy than there were at the two crash sites. McKnight was ready to pack it in. I know you turned left on Armed Forces [Blvd. 1997 . McKnight got on the radio.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The colonel answered: I have numerous casualties. out onHawlwadig Road . When the shooting let up for a few moments. They started back to base.

Spec. The big 40mm rounds were designed to penetrate two inches of steel before exploding.html SOME OF THE VEHICLES were almost out of ammunition. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! From his seat in the second five-ton. Spec. 'Vaco!'' It was just after that when Cavaco. Pfc. and now it was somehow worse. trying to find its way back to base. The convoy was taking a beating. In another humvee. One of the 24 Somalian prisoners had been shot dead and another was wounded. James Cavaco was pumping one big round after another into the windows of a building from which they were taking fire. He said a prayer and kept shooting. But not long after he took over the gun. Howard Wasdin. But Leonard was still standing. and as the rounds kept coming the bodies skipped and bounced along the ground until they were thrown against a wall. Paul Leonard. Up in a humvee turret and behind a Mark 19. They tossed his body up and it landed on the legs of an injured Ranger in back. when he saw three Somalian men cross the big gun's range. The muscles of his leg hung open in oozing flaps. so all the men in the humvee were splattered with tissue and blood. They had expended thousands of rounds. slumped forward. but it was also leaving a terrible swath of dead and wounded Somalis in its wake. Their bodies went flying. The back ends of the remaining trucks and humvees in the lost convoy were slick with blood. Carlson glanced down and saw blood rapidly staining his pants. SEAL Sgt. but Cavaco was dropping grenades neatly into the second-story windows one after another. the rounds screamed right through the bodies of Somalian gunmen and exploded farther down the street.processtext.to rescue downed pilot Cliff Wolcott and then try to reach pilot Mike Durant's crash site. Eric Spalding shouted out to his friend: "Yeah! Get 'em.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. his . It felt as if someone had taken a knife and held it to his knee and then driven it in with a sledgehammer.50-cal machine gun rocking the vehicle. He had taken a round to the back of his head and was dead. The second humvee in line was dragging an axle and was being pushed by the five-ton truck behind it. Tory Carlson was shooting out the back. and still shooting. Spalding helped load him on the back of the truck. firing to his left down an alleyway. Carlson was watching with horror and satisfaction when he felt a sudden blow and sharp pain in his right knee. He had been wildly scared for longer now than he had ever been in his life. a machine gun grenade launcher. . a bullet came through the side window of the humvee and took off the back of Leonard's left leg just below the knee. It was hard to shoot the Mark 19 accurately. Yet another humvee had a grenade hole in the side and four flat tires. As Leonard fired.com/abclit. one of the Commando soldiers. Now they were fighting just to stay alive as the convoy wandered into one ambush after another. He was even more of an expert shot. He was standing in the turret. had them draped up over the dash and stretched out on the hood. who had been shot in both legs. who let out a shriek. http://www. Then the men came apart. His heart banged in his chest and he found it hard to breathe and he thought he might die right then of fright. Sgt. They were shooting at everything now. Another humvee had three flat tires and two dozen bullet holes. stepped up behind Cavaco's Mark 19. They had abandoned their new mission . Chunks of viscera clung to floors and inner walls. A Ranger tied a tourniquet around his leg.

and blood spurted out between his fingers. "Don't worry about it. Mike Foreman. one by one. which was rolled down. Pvt. "What's wrong. This is it for me. turned in the seat so he could line up his shots. They couldn't stop right in the field of fire. He figured. Actually. He had stopped caring about himself. He had to keep fighting. It looked as if a laser beam had shot through the door and up into his right leg. and Spalding. because the other guys. who still had his hands on the wheel. ran up and opened the driver's side door to find the cab .html His head was filled with the sounds of shooting and explosions and the visions of his friends going down. Blood splashed everywhere. you hit?'' shouted the truck's driver.'' And they laughed. He reached down to grab his right thigh. inexplicably fall away. It ran over a Somalian man on crutches. "Yes!'' And then another laser poked through. but hit with such force that it had rendered him temporarily blind. They were both laughing as Maddox stopped the truck. "Put your glasses on. http://www. this one into Spalding's left leg. Still Spalding felt no pain. in that moment of maximum terror. He would think about this a lot later. "Turn left! Turn left! Now! Now!'' "Speed up'' "Slow down!'' The truck was weaving and banging into the sides of buildings. couldn't move over to grab the wheel. so there was nothing to do but shout directions to Maddox. "What was that?'' asked Maddox. he felt it all abruptly. and had poked itself and fragments of glass and steel straight up his leg from just above his knee to his hip. They felt no pity and were beyond fear. The truck was rolling out of control. even to himself.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. were all that mattered. He had passed through some sort of barrier. And then.com/abclit. The round must have hit his helmet. you dumb ass. a bullet had pierced the steel of the door and the window. He let out a squeal. and his best explanation was that he no longer mattered. coppery smell. One of the Delta men. Spalding was sitting next to the passenger door in his truck with his rifle out the window. with both legs shot. when he was startled by a sudden flash of light down by his legs. We just ran over somebody. which saved his life.'' But Maddox had been hit in the back of the head. Sgt. 2 John Maddox. oily and sticky with its dank. He felt a jolt this time but no pain. Then Maddox began shouting. his buddies.processtext. He didn't want to look at it. "I can't see! I can't see!'' Spalding turned to see Maddox's helmet askew and his glasses knocked sideways on his head.

who had been sitting between Alphabet and Spec. I'm OK. Hand got his side door open and swung himself out. It severed Alphabet's left arm and ripped into his torso. and his truck rolled off and veered into a wall. "No. The impact threw Spalding against the side door. There was a perfectly round hole in his left knee. Clay Othic. He didn't know what else to do. who was driving. but the driver's bloody clothes just lifted off his pierced torso. The cab was black with smoke. He lay his rifle on the rim of the side window and changed the magazine. He was killed instantly.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Alphabet was dead and their helmets had been knocked off. Hand's rifle had been shattered. They moved numbly and even a little giddily. He was shooting at anything that moved. Richard Kowalewski. Othic stumbled out to the street and realized that his and Hand's helmets had been blown off. Aaron Hand when the grenade hit. As Foreman got the truck moving again. "Holy s-!'' he said.com/abclit. Othic reached over to grab Alphabet and pull him out. He absorbed the blow and kept on steering. and only the metal jacket had penetrated his knee.html splattered with Spalding's blood. It didn't explode. but no exit wound. the fins protruding from his left side under his missing arm. He picked it up and put it in his side pants pocket. "It's on fire!'' Hand shouted. Spalding resumed firing. but something had caused a blast. and Othic could see a fuse glowing from what looked like the inside of Alphabet's body. "Alphabet. . http://www. Othic. yet they were virtually unscathed by the grenade. Kowalewski was nicknamed ``Alphabet. Spalding propped both legs up on the dash and pressed a field dressing on one. who was examining his wounds. The bullet had fragmented on impact with the door and glass. Spalding's buddy. Pfc. It had flattened on impact with his kneecap and just slid around under the skin to the side of the joint. Hand found the lower portion of Alphabet's arm on the street. The driverless truck crashed into the rear of the truck ahead. which was bleeding.processtext. Maddox slid over next to Spalding. The rest of the bullet had peppered his lower leg. and it didn't feel right leaving it behind. but that was it. the point sticking out the right side.'' for his long surname.'' Othic was struggling in the confined space to apply a pressure dressing to Alphabet's bleeding shoulder when a grenade rocketed in from the left. was knocked unconscious. The grenade lodged in his chest was unexploded. Hand couldn't hear out of his left ear. He snapped back awake when Hand shook him. All that remained intact was the hand. It might have been a flash bang grenade . want me to drive?'' asked Othic. was wedged between driver and passenger in the truck behind them when Pfc. Maddox and Spalding in the cab. was hit in the shoulder. Instead the two-foot-long missile was embedded in Alphabet's chest. the one with the prisoners in back and with Foreman.a harmless grenade that gives off smoke and makes noise mounted on Alphabet's armor. yelling that he had to get out.

Then he passed them back to those still shooting. What tactics. He saw the boy's legs fly up. Eversmann thought. In his vehicle. He had his weapon in one hand and the steering wheel in the other.'' Spalding said. At every intersection he saw Somalis who would open fire on any vehicle that came across. the wounded SEAL sergeant. collecting rounds that guys had ejected from their weapons when they'd jammed. Spalding began to lose feeling in his fingertips. Black Hawk Down . as if he had slipped on marbles. the Commando sergeant. They were just about out of ammo. the leader of a Ranger unit that had been rescued by the convoy. They crashed over and through the flaming debris. Othic was on all fours now. He saw flashes from the muzzle of the gun. They just did not care.com/abclit. Spalding felt as if everything around him had slowed down to half speed. had his bloody legs splayed out on the hood (he'd been shot once more. Nearpass shouted to the driver to just ram through it. but the sturdy humvee righted itself and kept on going. Because they had men on both sides of the street. and then he was flat on his back. As they set off again. In the truck. For the first time in the ordeal he began to panic. He felt these people must have no regard for even their own lives. Somebody shot the boy. Hang in there. Foreman. in the left foot). any rounds that missed the vehicles as they flashed past would certainly have hit the Somalis on the other side of the road. he began groping on the floor with his good left hand. http://www. was curled up on one of the back passenger seats of his humvee. let's get the hell back. groping around on the floor of the humvee with his good hand. His forearm had been shattered by a bullet earlier. and had set it all on fire. man.html OTHIC CLIMBED INTO another humvee. They came upon a big roadblock. "I'm not doing too good. He saw a little Somalian boy cradling an AK-47. "Hey.processtext.'' A humvee driven by SEAL Homer Nearpass was now in the lead. training his weapon out the window. Matt Eversmann. Staff Sgt. running on three rims. One dead and eight wounded Rangers were in the back. The Somalis had stretched two huge underground gasoline tanks across the roadway along with other debris. It was shot up and smoking. He felt himself going into shock. They found a four-lane road with a median up the center that would lead them back down to the K-4 traffic circle. "You'll be all right. Wasdin. shooting it wildly from the hip. As they approached K-4 circle. Spalding felt his fingers curling and his hands stiffening.'' "You're doing cool. The rest of the column followed. looking for unspent shells. a major traffic roundabout in southern Mogadishu.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and then home. Afraid to stop the humvee for fear it would not start up again. Spalding saw him gun down three Somalian men without even slowing down.'' Foreman said. was a hell of a shot. nearly landing on their side. they all braced themselves for another vicious ambush.

Clearly these Somalis didn't know how to stage a proper ambush. Eventually they all got the message. it meant the bullet had passed within three feet of your head. The unarmored flatbed trucks in the middle. loaded with cooks and clerks and other volunteers. The Durant crash site was less than two miles from the base. A zing. Everybody behind him was just going to have to figure it out. The brunt of the shooting was aimed at Struecker's lead vehicle. Raleigh Cash screamed from the passenger seat of Struecker's humvee at the head of the convoy. meant the bullet had missed you by a far margin. He told his driver to throw the humvee in reverse. but Struecker realized already that he would have to fight street by street to get there. "Action left!'' Sgt. gunfire erupted all around.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext.html Chapter 16 Furious attacks on a second convoy December 1. The correct way was to let the lead vehicle pass and suck in the whole column. Cash heard the explosion of gunfire and the zing and pop of rounds passing close. then open fire. A larger convoy already inMogadishu also had been ordered to rescue Durant.four humvees and three five-ton flatbed trucks .had been hastily assembled to rescue the crew of pilot Mike Durant's downed Blackhawk. They were driving out into hell. The shots were answered by a roaring fusillade from the men in the convoy. But the original convoy had finally given up and started back to base after wandering through the city under heavy fire. Jeff Struecker drove his humvee out of the American beachfront compound. absorbing terrible casualties. They weren't more than 80 yards out the back gate. and then that driver rammed the truck behind him. A rocket-propelled grenade scraped across the top of his humvee and exploded against a concrete wall. going forward would invite slaughter. This column .com/abclit. But even with undisciplined enemy gunfire. Struecker's turret gunner swung around to face five Somalis with weapons. along with pilot Cliff Wolcott and his crashed Blackhawk crew. He had been taught that if you heard that crack. Struecker got on the radio to the officer directing him from a helicopter circling high above the city: You need to find a different route! . They rammed the humvee behind them. made vulnerable targets. which sounded to him like the sound made when you hit a telephone pole guy wire with a stick. 1997 AS SOON AS Staff Sgt. The concussion lifted the wide-bodied vehicle up on two wheels. http://www.

phillynews. and squeezed off several rounds.aspThe convoy knew Durant's Super 64 was somewhere directly ahead. and he ran his hand inside his shirt. Cash took a whack to his chest that almost knocked him over. most of the Rangers were out on the street. On one knee in the street. The trucks weren't delicate about turning around. there wasn't going to be any way through the concrete wall. We'll take it. Only a year earlier. right in front of the driver.processtext.com/abclit. http://www3. providing security in all directions. Where he lay beside his helicopter. You can get there that way. Spec. Fine. The bullet had skimmed off the front of his chest plate. The Somalis had thrown up dirt. Well.phillynews. . He drove straight into a roadblock. They rammed into walls and ground gears. tearing the straps of his load-bearing harness so that it was now hanging by threads.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Struecker radioed to his guide high above. A bullet clipped off the side mirror on the driver's side. suddenly wondering what he was doing there. he had been bar-hopping with his buddies inRhode Island trying to pick up girls. you need to find one. Peter Squeglia. The humvees could roll right over the roadblock but Struecker knew the five-ton trucks wouldn't make it. chunks of concrete and wire. This was minutes before Durant's site was overrun and he was taken captive. a big one. and this time he steered out the opposite way. But the convoy couldn't advance. Durant had heard the sound of the .50-cal on Struecker's humvee and figured the rescue column was coming in. It seemed to take forever for the five-tons to turn around on the narrow street.asp http://www3. As they struggled to reverse direction again. Struecker got the whole column back up to the gate.com/packages/somalia/graphics/2nov16. There was none. the company armorer who had donned fighting gear and volunteered for the convoy. http://www. junk. He knew he'd been shot. Figure out a way to get there. Struecker said.com/packages/somalia/graphics/2nov16. There ain't another route. Squeglia pointed his rifle across the cab. The only other route is to go all the way around the city and come in through the back side. looking for blood. And even if they did. You'll have to find us another route. sat with his M-16 pointed out the passenger side window of a truck.html The answer came back: Go back where you came from and turn right instead of left. Beyond the roadblock was a concrete wall surrounding the vast ghetto of huts and walking paths into which Durant had crashed.

somehow. but he was dead. had been cut almost in half by a rocket-propelled grenade. the two convoys were already headed the opposite way. the convoy sped out a road that skirted the city to the southwest. and less than a mile from Durant. could go no further. emerged from the back of a truck looking pale and shocked. broken mess. scared and small. Here they met up with the smoking." Tim Martin. Both of them were big guys. It was less than a quarter of a mile away. Jeff Struecker's line of fresh vehicles and troops approaching them. normally a cheerful. THE MEN IN THE LOST convoy had braced themselves for another vicious fight at K-4. It was a remarkable sight. They had shared a particular hatred for the daily morning run that seemed so easy for thinner Rangers. Now Casey was dead. limping. Scott Galentine. Casey Joyce being lifted out of one of the vehicles. with Wasdin's bloody legs draped over the dash. At one rise they could actually see Durant's crash site. There was no way to get closer. Sgt. They kept driving on their roundabout course until they came to the K-4 traffic circle. Lorenzo Ruiz. saw a Somali with an RPG launcher pop up from behind a brick wall. carrying John Gay and Howard Wasdin. down in a little valley. Then Sgt. The ones that followed looked almost as bad. The tough old master sergeant they called "Grizz. http://www. The tough little ex-boxer.html When they were at last turned around. The lead humvee driven by SEAL Homer Nearpass. his mouth open. bulkier than most of the Rangers. setting up a perimeter of fire while casualties on the worst of the vehicles were moved to the intact ones.com/abclit. There was a bright flash and a bang. On the litter he looked diminished. and Struecker's men were shocked to see that the vehicles were loaded with dead and shot-up Rangers. Squeglia saw his friend Sgt. but they weren't out of danger yet. now in the third humvee. driving through an occasional hail of AK-47 fire. barely alive. his eyes wide but empty. The dead and wounded were lifted from it and loaded on another humvee. funny guy. Col. Pfc. Joyce looked as if he was screaming. The fresh convoy surrounded the battered vehicles. alive. The lead humvee was smoking and all of its tires were flat. Before they torched the battered vehicle. they saw instead. inside a squalid rag hut village. one of the major traffic intersections in southernMogadishu . He and Joyce had been pals.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. had a breathing tube in his chest. to their enormous relief. They were less than a mile from the base. Danny McKnight's lost convoy. Nearpass counted the bullet holes and Gay rooted around inside to find the handle of the broken knife that had saved his life by deflecting a bullet. . still clutching his severed thumb in his bloody hand.processtext. One look at the lost convoy made it clear that they weren't going to be able to break through Somalian roadblocks with just humvees and flatbed trucks. Cash. Adalberto Rodriguez was a bloody. It really shook Squeglia. but he was still. The dead and wounded were headed home. So while the Command helicopter continued to reassure Delta soldiers who were holding off the mob around Durant's downed Blackhawk that help was just minutes away. Sgt. bleeding remnants of Lt. to prevent Somalis from looting it. But as they limped through the flaming barricades on Via Lenin.

He had thrown himself backward in order to get a better shot at them when he felt the vehicle lurch. and they applauded. He shot them all down. With no time to react to what had just happened. forming a second layer inside the door. as if nothing had happened. 1997 . They shot their way back to the base.html At the same moment. all the shooting ceased.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Black Hawk Down Chapter 17 At first crash site. He thought he'd been shot. strolling. chatting. Crowds of Somalis were moving through open air markets. and he mowed down the crowds. The Somalis in the street all turned to face them. closer to him than family had ever been.50-cal gunner started blasting away. The men inside felt their stomachs drop. more bodies December 2. the crowds parted for the battered and bloody column with its crippled humvees and dead. It was as if they had flown off the end of a ramp. He looked down and saw instead that a bullet had poked through the metal door of the humvee and had been caught by the window. some without.com/abclit. http://www. which was rolled down. The blast underneath threw the humvee in the air. their heads poking over a concrete wall. He could see the bullet lodged inside the point. unharmed and still moving. These Rangers were his buddies. Cash pointed to a Somalian gunner up a tree.processtext. He didn't even care anymore if he got shot. Both Sizemore and the humvee's . Dale Sizemore had spotted a row of Somalis. It was as if they had entered a different city.numb and angry and full of fight. Then Cash felt a jab in the leg. four to five inches long. just blocks from the gate to the airport. And as the soldiers moved the last hundred yards to the gate. He didn't care anymore. They crashed back to earth on all four wheels. He just felt numb . blasting everything they saw. Sizemore saw young boys. his best friends in the world. Squeglia couldn't believe what he was seeing. They hammered every alley in both directions until. The tip of it had nudged Cash's leg. A Somali fell out of the tree to the street. 7 and 8 years old. He marveled at it momentarily. in the back of the humvee. He just wanted to hit as many Somalis as he could. wounded and horror-stricken soldiers. Spec. then broke it off with the butt of his rifle and resumed shooting. and he was going to do anything he could to return them safely. He saw women running in crowds alongside men who had rifles. grinning. some with weapons. As the vehicles approached. Rules of engagement were off. The bulletproof glass had stretched out under the round's impact to form what looked like a horizontal stalactite.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. I think we have been hit. Sgt. but he was so intent on negotiating his descent that he never felt the rope pull forward and up.com/packages/somalia/graphics/dec02. They walked away.processtext. Shrapnel from the blast had poked holes in them. He didn't learn until much later how Jollota's composure had saved his and Fales' lives. a Blackhawk carrying a rescue team moved over the crash site in south Mogadishu. . Limping the last mile. trailing a thin gray plume of smoke. Jollota plowed the heavy Blackhawk into the base landing strip. Jollota's crew could see both men reach the ground safely.asp WILKINSON HEARD the snap of rounds passing nearby as soon as he hit the ground.phillynews.com/packages/somalia/graphics/dec02. It was just enough time to leave the big Blackhawk exposed to fire from crowds of Somalis converging on Wolcott's crash site. Behind your engines . Jollota could hear his rotor blades whistling. and in the cloud of dust he couldn't see. He eased the Blackhawk back toward the main base three miles away. . Air Force Tech. But Jollota eased the Blackhawk back down to a hover for the few more seconds Wilkinson and Fales needed to clear the ropes. who noticed that their medical kits had been left behind. They hit with a jolt. The aircraft started to slosh from side to side. as if absorbing a roundhouse punch. http://www3. By the time he reached the rope. Jollota instinctively began to pull up and away. http://www. . Despite the brown dust cloud below. The Blackhawk was knocked slightly sideways. Only then was it safe to throw down the kit bags. One of the crew chiefs screamed into the radio: We still have people on the ropes! Hanging on the rope below Wilkinson was Master Sgt.html JUST EIGHT MINUTES after Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk went down. Inside were 15 men who had trained for months as a combat search-and-rescue unit. But even professionals who practice the same moves a thousand times can overlook a detail in the heat of an actual mission. The team hit the fast ropes perfectly and slid down. In the cockpit. Be advised you are smoking. Jollota radioed to the command helicopter circling overhead. As pilot Dan Jollota held his hover and Wilkinson slid down the rope. a rocket-propelled grenade exploded on the left side of the airframe.asp http://www3. He had to wait until the men 30 feet below him reached the ground and got out of the way. . Wilkinson heard the explosion above. It was the last man out. . Scott Fales. Coming out. Instinct and training dictated that he move away the instant he was hit. You have been hit . but the bird stayed upright and intact. The oversight delayed Wilkinson's slide down the rope.phillynews. He pulled up and away.com/abclit. He ran to the right side of the street and waited for the dust to settle. Tim Wilkinson. The bird came down with a quick roll right on the landing wheels. It was hot. the timing was off by several crucial seconds. Their specialty was saving downed pilots.

and in the distance there were many more. He had trained years for a moment like this. Fales. startled. it had usually taken 10 to 20 minutes for a Somalian crowd to gather around any action on the streets.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. still lying in the middle of the street. a big. By the look of it. he rounded a corner and stumbled upon the wrecked Blackhawk. Alan Barton. He had thought they would have a few minutes to set up before coming under attack. and took it with him. It felt like a hot poker stabbing through his calf muscle. A Commando medic came over to help. Scattered around were the bodies of several Somalis. was stretching up to peer inside and check for survivors when he felt a tug at his left pants leg. The only thing he saw was the medical bags. a Ranger. felt anger with the pain. like a harpooned whale. Fales figured it ought to hurt badly. He nearly bowled over Wilkinson. He couldn't see inside Super 61 to determine if the eight men who had been aboard were still alive. Sgt. Still running. Wilkinson's team leader. Then he crawled back out into the alley. Fales. Near him. grimacing. with flaps of muscle tissue spilled out of the wound. treat the wounded. But now they had to mount their rescue under immediate heavy fire. and now his . He folded the muscle tissue back into the wound. Danny McKnight's ground convoy would be pulling up at any minute. a man with an M-16 and a woman with him. Fales' wound heightened Wilkinson's sense of urgency. broad-faced man who had fought inPanama and during the Persian Gulf war. and after less than three minutes on the ground he'd been shot.'' Fales said. The size of it stunned him. He hopped back away. But he hadn't even been inside the helicopter yet. ``I've been shot. clicked a magazine into it. He ran out and snatched up both bags.processtext. Sgt. In this narrow alley it looked tragic.html He tried to orient himself. Wilkinson assumed Lt. In past missions. Bullets whizzed and snapped up the adjacent alley. At the front of the helicopter. beached on its left side. who was making his way forward. and applied a pressure dressing. shot two Somalis as they rounded the corner. But other than the stabbing sensation right after he'd been shot. there was little pain. Wilkinson was surprised to see that the Rangers and D-boys from his rescue unit had already set up a tight perimeter around the crash site. Then came the pain. Barton picked up the Somali's rifle. He figured his fear and adrenaline were acting as an anesthetic. he had no way of knowing that the convoy was hopelessly lost and getting hammered. ``What's up?'' Wilkinson asked. Col. He was accustomed to seeing the choppers in the air or on spacious tarmacs. Nothing was broken.com/abclit. He cut open his pants and saw that the bullet had passed through his calf muscle and out the front of his leg. He couldn't see Wolcott's downed Blackhawk or the rest of his rescue team. cup-shaped space behind the main body of the helicopter created by its bent tail boom. packed some gauze into it. and Fales hobbled back toward the rear of the helicopter.'' Fales ducked into a deep hole that the crashing helicopter had left in the alley wall. ``Rat bastards shot me. http://www. He and his team would need to get the wounded and dead out of the helicopter. and have the men on litters by the time the vehicles approached. finding cover in a small.

He was dead. It was purple and black. There was a slight odor of fuel inside.processtext. where various liquids were draining down. Black Hawk Down . Wilkinson helped McMahon pull Briley up and out. Now the rescue team had to figure out a way to cut Elvis out of there. because his side had hit the ground. A Commando soldier. There would be no easy way to get the body out.'' he told Wilkinson. James McMahon. On impact something had sliced through his head. It wasn't fuel. and then he climbed up into the bird. Everything inside that hadn't been strapped down had been violently thrown around and had come to rest on the left side. and then handed his body down to two sergeants. He and Briley had taken the brunt of the impact. http://www. ``He's dead.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He was still in his seat. Briley was obviously dead. pulling out copilot Donovan ``Bull'' Briley. McMahon climbed down into the cockpit and checked on pilot Cliff ``Elvis'' Wolcott. which was now the bottom. He could not be lifted or pulled free. the protected space where Fales had crawled. Wilkinson felt the need to see for himself.html rescue team leader was wounded. They were not leaving without him. He looked as if he were wearing a fright mask. There had been no fire. The whole front end of the helicopter had folded in on him from the waist down. and there was no smoke. Sgt. They would not consider it. was already on top of the bird. McMahon's face was badly cut and swollen from the impact of the crash. Wilkinson tried to slide his hand to grab the pilot's legs. but the nose and instrument panel and crumpled front end of the aircraft had collapsed into his lap. He told McMahon to get some medical attention for his face. He dipped his finger in the fluid and sniffed. angling up from just under his chin. They carried him over to the designated casualty collection point. They did not leave their dead on the battlefield. but that vantage looked no better. who was aboard Wolcott's Super 61 when it crashed. digging to see if there was a way to create an opening underneath the wreck so that Elvis' body could be extracted. Since McMahon was not a medic. and Wolcott. which was now on the high side. Wilkinson moved quickly to the front of the helicopter. He climbed out and got down on the dirt by the smashed left underside of the cockpit. and his head and upper torso were intact. had gotten the worst of it. but there wasn't space. But the Blackhawk had plowed hard into the soil. His body was relatively easy to reach because he was strapped in the right seat. It was eerily quiet inside.com/abclit. Wilkinson then slid completely into the helicopter and crawled back behind the pilot's seat to see if Elvis could be pulled back and out that way. Wilkinson was suspended upside down as he reached in and felt Wolcott's carotid artery for a pulse.

He thought everyone was out of the wreck. All the avionics equipment and every piece of gear that hadn't been strapped down had come to rest at the left side of the aircraft. Wilkinson was throwing things off and prying things back. 1997 Sgt. kneeling on top of it. TIM WILKINSON climbed back into the wrecked helicopter to see whether he could get more leverage to free the body of pilot Cliff Wolcott. he had been taught to quickly erase the memory banks of any electronic equipment that held important data. But after a while he saw that it was hopeless. he didn't want Somalis taking classified stuff once Wolcott's body was recovered and the Americans had pulled out. The last thing he remembered was noticing he didn't have his seat belt fastened before hitting the ground. http://www. Ray Dowdy. a Commando medic standing alongside the wreck.com/abclit. so now he was looking for any sensitive equipment. "There's somebody else in there.processtext. Wilkinson knew some of the guys from Super 61 had been rescued by a Little Bird that had landed and loaded up survivors.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.'' he told Sgt. which was now the bottom. He gave up and climbed in through the upper doors just as Wilkinson freed Dowdy. Dowdy still hadn't spoken and was clearly dazed and disoriented. In the heap Wilkinson noticed a scrap of desert battle dress uniform. First Class Bob Mabry. and. In this case.html Chapter 18 Rescue team comes under fierce fire December 3. who was injured. They had accounted for the pilots . . As a member of a highly trained rescue team. It was the left side gunner.and one of the crew chiefs. He was still in his seat. He crawled out of the cockpit of Blackhawk Super 61. When Wilkinson freed Dowdy's arm from under the pile. Wilkinson leaned in farther and saw an arm and a flight glove. Mabry crawled down under the wreck and tried without success to make his way in through the bottom right-side doorway to reach Dowdy from below.both dead . weapons or papers to be removed. and a finger of the flight glove moved. Part of the seat had been snapped off its hinges. He called down into the wreck. the crew chief was sufficiently alert to start helping to shove things away. Wilkinson climbed back into the wreckage and began pulling the debris and equipment off the man buried there. He reached in to help Dowdy pull free of the seat. he peered through the open right side doors into the main cargo area. Staff Sgt. but it was basically intact and in place. Perhaps there was some way he hadn't seen at first to pull the pilot seat back and get more room and a better angle.

Fales looked startled. and his . where Martin's moronic character. just the tip of his index finger and about half the first digit of his middle finger. He was staring at his bloody hand. why don't you get behind the Kevlar [floor panels]?''Wilkinson asked.html The three men were standing inside the wreck when a storm of bullets tore through the skin of the craft. He had a pressure dressing on his calf and an IV tube in his arm. with a blank look. After patching up a few more men . They slid Dowdy out that way. It felt as if he'd been slapped or punched in the chin. Wilkinson put his hand over Dowdy's bleeding fingertip and said: "OK. Scott Fales. unaware that villains are shooting at him. digging wider a hole where the rear corner of the left side door was above ground. which were being placed around the tail of the aircraft where a wounded sergeant. "They hate the cans! Stay away from the cans!' Both men laughed. To Wilkinson it looked like a sudden snowstorm. then another.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Crouched down behind the panels. searching for more equipment to destroy. Wilkinson shouted Martin's line from the movie. Mabry and Wilkinson danced involuntarily. Mabry had been hit in the hand. Only now did he notice the barricade. that he was still alive. Then it stopped. Wilkinson and Fales watched as the intense gunfire ripped first one hole through the tail boom. Mabry and Wilkinson tunneled out of the aircraft. Wilkinson was reminded of the Steve Martin movie The Jerk. He'd been hit in the face and arm. had established a casualty collection point. Fales was too busy shooting from his position out by the tail to take notice of the placement of the floor panels. Bits and pieces of debris were flying around them. Dowdy saw the tips of two fingers shot off.'' he said.the wounded boys who had been in the crash. first. "Scott. http://www. "Good idea. Then the two medics went back inside for a few more minutes. watches with surprise as bullet holes begin popping open a row of oil cans. Wilkinson remembers noting. but mostly straight up and down the alley. To avoid the gunfire outside. Mabry set to work handing out the bullet-resistant panels from the interior.Then another. Dowdy. hopping away from the sharp burst of snapping and crashing noises.processtext. The crew chief's eyes were open wide. Everyone had been hit. He felt no pain and said nothing. They were still expecting the arrival of the ground convoy at any moment. Then he checked himself. Fire was coming from all directions. Wilkinson looked at Dowdy. let's get out of here!'' Mabry tore up the bullet-resistant floor panels and propped them up over the side of the craft where the bullets had burst through.com/abclit. They had no way of knowing that the convoy was lost and taking heavy casualties.

Yurek was left with just half a dozen Rangers. Tom DiTomasso. He decided to radio the Chalk leader. to see again if there was some way of pulling Wolcott's body down and out.com/package s/somalia/soldiers/photo5. there wasn't much left for Yurek and his men to do.phillynews. Once the ground convoy had rolled away from the target house with the 24 Somalian prisoners.html fellow crew chief . an hour into the mission. Ed Yurek got spooked. He was afraid the entire assault force had taken off and left them. for guidance. Ahead they heard the sounds of pitched battle. First Lt. 1997 http://www3. Now. There wasn't.Wilkinson crawled back up into the cockpit from underneath. He was feeling abandoned and alone. Rounds would ride walls for . he wanted Yurek and the rest of Chalk Two to run the same gauntlet: three terrifying blocks.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. DiTomasso's voice came over the radio: You need to find your way to me.asp A Somalistreetnear the target on the morning ofOct.asphttp://www3. 1993 . Black Hawk Down Chapter 19 A desperate battle to hold the crash site December 4. they abandoned the relative safety of their position and began moving east down an alley about 10 yards wide. The lieutenant and his men had fought their way to Wolcott's Blackhawk.com/abclit. THINGS WERE SO QUIET at the northeast corner of the target building that Staff Sgt. Reluctantly. http://www.com/packages/somalia/soldiers/photo5. with Somalis firing madly down the alleyways in every direction. One of the boys had warned him that walls act as funnels for bullets. Yurek stayed away from the walls.phillynews. Half of his Chalk Two had run off to help rescue the downed crew of Cliff Wolcott's helicopter.processtext. 3.

strapped to his back. Gunmen popped up in windows. while instinctual. It was a disposable plastic launcher weighing only three pounds. identified it. Yurek ran while his men laid suppressive fire north and south. He stacked them into a little mound. had taken cover behind another car and a tree across the street. spraying bursts of automatic fire. As soon as the little group stepped out to move. Nelson pointed up the street. was as dangerous as standing in the middle of the street. Now he could see all the way up the street.processtext. It struck Yurek how similar killing a man was to shooting targets in training. They turned a corner three blocks down. He was grateful for all the tedious hours of training. Then they ran while he covered them. Somebody with a very powerful weapon had a bead on them. He'd been carrying it around on every mission for weeks. and taken it out. From that position.com/abclit. Yurek had a LAW. dusty man with baggy brown pants. DiTomasso was crouched behind a green Volkswagen. they could control the whole street. The rules were to shoot at blue triangles. . and there was the crash site. Now. and that's what killed him. Maybe Nelson had a better vantage point. Yurek was accepting congratulations from the other Rangers when the thunk thunk thunk resumed against the car. he had seen a target. in doorways and around corners. He was a bushy-haired. The rocket had evidently landed just short. He took aim through flip-up crosshairs.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Yurek's eyes met his for an instant as he pulled the trigger. At each intersection the Rangers stopped and covered one another. Sliding out into the street behind the bodies. Yurek watched it zoom in on the target and explode with a flash and a loud whoom! The big Somalian gun flipped into the air. In practice. He didn't shoot instantly. Shawn Nelson. and Yurek edged out to look around the car. in actual battle. In this way they leapfrogged across each street. ``Where is it?'' Yurek shouted. Yurek sprinted to DiTomasso. He saw three dead Somalis in the dirt. The man had stepped out and taken aim. ``What is it?'' he shouted. He unstrapped the weapon and climbed up and leaned forward on the Volkswagen. The other half of their Chalk had set up a small perimeter. the Somalis opened up. a light antitank weapon. ``It's a big gun!'' Nelson called back. The rounds were slicing through the car. Yurek shouted across the street. but to hold fire if a green square appeared. the Volkswagen began rocking from the impact of heavy rounds. The Somali pitched forward without getting off a shot. he was able to get a better view. http://www. As he crouched to speak to the lieutenant. where two Somalis were stretched out on the ground behind a big gun mounted on a tripod. Huddling tight against a wall. Yurek shot one man in a doorway just 10 feet away. Lt. but not close enough to destroy the gun or kill the gunners. close enough to send the weapon flying and kick up a cloud of dirt.html hundreds of feet. targets would pop out unexpectedly. Yurek and DiTomasso looked at each other and rolled their eyes. The fire grew so intense down the alley that Yurek was surprised that none of his men was hurt. Chalk Two's M-60 gunner. The rocket launched with a powerful back blast.

Within minutes.com/abclit. Spec. When the initial ball of fire was gone. He couldn't get it to open up. Phipps shot him and he fell to the road. His face was blackened and bruised. Then another man ran out to get the weapon. . They were coming from a clump of trees about 20 yards away. Rounds were chipping the walls around him. Lamb told the men to heave some grenades over the wall. and he could hear them puncturing the helicopter's thin metal hull. to Phipps' relief. was an experienced member of the rescue team. Phipps was the youngest of the men who had roped down on the combat search-and-rescue team. Rob Phipps was feeling edgy. The two Somalis toppled over sideways in opposite directions. "Grenade!'' several voices screamed. and his ears rang from the blast. until just past dusk. Phipps dived away from it. First Class Al Lamb to ask for help. He could actually see the fat 203 round spiral into the target. Steven Lycopolus.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. then silence. kneeling behind the gun. he thought. There were explosions. too. His nose and mouth stung with a bitter taste. The Ranger who threw it had forgotten to take the safety strap off. The explosion was like a gut punch. Then one of the grenades they had thrown came flying back. So he loaded a fist-sized M203 round into the grenade-launching tube mounted under the barrel of his M-16. No one else came out to get it. another Somali ran out to retrieve the gun. Lamb and several Rangers from Chalk Two also moved into position around the downed helicopter. crouching with his AK-47 held forward. AT THE CRASH SITE. He got on his hand-held radio and called Sgt. He would feel a lot better. move up and take cover across the alley. Phipps saw a man in a loose white shirt and sandals creeping up the alleyway. He felt as if he was on fire. Phipps shot him. in one of the holes where the Somalis dumped their household garbage. which they had righted again on the tripod. Minutes later.processtext.html He saw them up the street now. He had taken cover on the other side of the Blackhawk. When Phipps regained his senses. crouching next to the hole in the stone wall where Wolcott's Blackhawk had hit on its way down. He was all alone. and his eyes had begun to swell shut. Phipps shot him. The man was taking aim at him when one of the D-boys back by the wall dropped him with a quick burst. At 22. The man's head just came apart. When the smoke cleared. For the rest of the day. Phipps noticed a Ranger sergeant. A Ranger lit up the trees with his SAW while Phipps and some of the other Rangers flung grenades.if he had some of the veterans around him. Yurek could see the gun just lying there between the two dead gunners. Yurek kept a good eye on that gun. Before Lamb could respond. It sucked all the air out of him. Yurek picked up another LAW that someone had discarded. It was bent and crushed. This time his aim was better. http://www. Their job was to pick off gunmen who were sending an almost steady flow of rounds up the alleyway. 32. and to prevent any from approaching the crash site. Lamb. he still felt terrible burning on both legs and on his back. he lifted his head to look over his shoulder just as a Somali ran into the roadway and picked up the AK-47 from the pile of dead and wounded where Phipps had been shooting earlier.

a powerfully built veteran.'' He tore open Phipps' pants and applied a field dressing.com/abclit. He tried again and fell again. Black Hawk Down Chapter 20 Uneasy partners under heavy fire December 5. First Class Paul Howe took off. and already unit integrity had collapsed. Phipps tried to stand. the formations broke down. The boys moved outon their own . There had been bad blood for weeks between Steele and many of the Commando men. knew the streets were a killing zone. Now it was boiling over in the middle of the worst firefight of their lives. "Come on! Come on!'' the medic urged. http://www. ``You'll be all right. But a team of boys led by Sgt. Staying alive meant moving as if his hair were on fire. Some of the Rangers ran to catch up with them. the medic grabbed his face and pulled him the rest of the way in.html A Commando medic shouted at Phipps from the hole in the wall across the alley. Steele felt outflanked. They had gone just two blocks from their original positions at the target house. Mike Steele. it wouldn't be necessary to brave fire retrieving him. "You're all right. He still felt a fierce burning along his back and legs. The young Ranger joined the growing ranks of the wounded at Crash Site One. the Ranger commander. but others fell behind. 1997 MINUTES AFTER orders came for the Rangers and Commando teams to make their way on foot to Cliff Wolcott's crash site.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He started to crawl. was outraged. uncertain and confused.processtext. . He had given orders for the Ranger Chalks to occupy the front and rear positions of an orderly movement of men to the crash site. Capt. Howe.'' the medic reassured him. and his left leg wasn't working right. When he crawled close enough. but his left leg gave out. "Holy s-!I'm hit! I got shot! I got shot!'' Phipps screamed. The Commando teams were to stay in the middle. If Phipps could move.

kid. He despised some of the Commando operators for their arrogance and their cocksure bravado. For his part. They had to find cover to treat the wounded man. and cavalier toward orders issued by anyone outside their tight. Petrified by the escalating volume of gunfire.html The boys all advanced with such authority that some of the Rangers left their Chalk groupings and just stayed with them. Sgt. One of his men had been hit with a small piece of shrapnel to his left side. man. We're coming out of this thing. but from a Ranger blocking position on the ground. And Howe. Howe and his Commando team had been on the roof of the target house. Fillmore winked at him and said: ``It's all right. overmuscled ex-jock still wrapped up in the naive rah-rah of his years playing football for the University of Georgia Bulldogs. http://www. The road sloped slightly downhill to where the other Rangers and rescue team had established a perimeter two blocks away. The team had just rounded the corner when an RPG hit the wall close by. when they fired at a Somali on a nearby rooftop.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. considered many of Steele's Rangers little more than frightened. but not with the Rangers. Sgt. Steele watched with mounting distress as his formation broke down.not just from the Somali. Howe thought Steele was a buffoon . He got on the radio and told the mission commander to order that idiot Steele to have his men stop shooting at their own people! Howe's team. but Howe was furious. They hadn't perfected the elaborate hand signals the boys used when the noise of battle drowned out their radio talk. Earl. Howe felt the wallop of pressure in his ears and chest and dropped to one knee. Mike Goodale was waiting for his turn to sprint across a street when one of the boys tapped him on the shoulder. Goodale recognized him.com/abclit. a good guy. The Commando men were in constant touch with one another. The Commando men weren't hit. Now. was the first to round the corner onFreedom Road . an hour into the mission.'' It calmed Goodale. He believed Fillmore.Steele called them ``skateboard helmets'' . Howe abruptly kicked in the door to a one-room house and barged in with his weapon ready. It was the short stocky one. a wide dirt street that stretched north to the crash site. impressionable teenagers. with several Rangers in tow. Poor communications had come into play just minutes into the assault. They were disdainful of authority and discipline. First Class Earl Fillmore. Steele was too spit-and-polish for his taste. Each commando had a radio earpiece under his little plastic hockey-style helmet .and a microphone that wrapped around to his mouth. but not their professionalism. Less-experienced soldiers still felt normal civilian inhibitions . The Rangers relied mostly on shouted orders. They were instantly peppered with return fire . who was 34. It knocked some of Howe's team off their feet.processtext. secret fraternity. He respected their expertise and courage.a huge. It was reassuring just to be around the more seasoned men. when one side ended up literally shooting at the other. the Rangers and Commando men were operating as separate units under competing commands. A Ranger had evidently seen shooting from the roof and had fired away without checking it out. rounding up Somalian prisoners. They even had different radio connections.

The boy fished it out of Goodale's butt pack and discovered a bullet hole clean through it from the same round that had passed through his body. ``Ow!'' A bullet had entered his right thigh and passed through him.he was carrying exploded when a round hit it. The game was most definitely not over.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He yanked off his helmet. Sgt. http://www.'' Goodale dropped the LAW. though. Howe and his men caught their breath and reloaded. . Goodale lay back on the dirt as the medic looked him over. They carried you off the field and you were done. Perino heard Goodale say. ``Right in the ass.'' Howe told him. Goodale decided he would keep the canteen as a souvenir. Goodale moved with a group of Rangers led by First Lt.html about doing things like kicking in doors. His right leg abruptly seized up and he fell over backward. but Howe and his men moved as if they owned the world. Behind them. trying to get the weapon off his shoulder. Steele and a large contingent of Rangers were the last to make the turn ontoFreedom Road . ``You're good to go. Goodale was carrying a LAW! He flailed wildly. He dragged Goodale into a small courtyard. Perino couldn't tell what Goodale was doing. and several boys hopped in with them. There was almost no blood. He put his helmet back on. Every house was their house. If they needed shelter.a light antitank weapon . they kicked in a door. Goodale had just turned to squeeze off a round when he felt a stabbing pain. Goodale thought at that instant about a soldier who supposedly had lost an arm and a leg after a LAW . with a swollen. Perino left Goodale with a Commando medic and moved on across the intersection. Capt.'' the medic said. There was a small hole in the man's back. ``You got tagged. Steele got a radio call from Perino. Howe drew his knife and cut away the back of the wounded man's uniform to check the shrapnel wound.processtext. which the medic had taken off to work on him. Anyone who threatened them would be shot dead. Larry Perino. and the body armor was like wearing a wet suit. bruised ring around it. The swelling had closed the hole.com/abclit. ``Where are you hit?'' he asked. No problem. You're all right. Goodale had the same feeling he used to get in a football game when he got injured. right into Perino. ``We need to get off this street. then saw an RPG fly past no more than six feet in front of him and explode with a stupendous wallop about 20 feet away. They were sweating profusely and breathing heavily. Running under the weight of their gear was exhausting. The house was empty. Goodale asked one of them to help him reach his canteen. leaving a gaping exit wound on his right buttock.'' the medic said.

and they were both trying to take cover behind a tree trunk about a foot wide.and only a vague idea where they all were. http://www. his broad face nearly in the sand. The boy behind Fillmore grabbed him to pull him back into a narrow alley a few steps away. two of his employees were killed. Assuming that the convoy would arrive at any minute. Steele felt the gravity of their predicament hit fully home. He. dead. He hit the ground. He did not yet know the convoy was lost and being riddled with gunfire. too. Somalian militiamen were hiding inside the garage compound.'' ``Pick him up and keep moving. and Ahmad Sheik was a 40-year-old accountant and one of Kassim's right-hand men. The captain was struggling to maintain a semblance of order. Chris Atwater. Steele was concerned. For the first time that day. He needed to consolidate his Rangers into a single force. Steele had been told the ground convoy would probably reach the crash site before he and his men did. Just then one of the boys. so Kassim . A third team member helped the wounded soldier pull Fillmore into the alley.'' Steele said. Steele's radio operator. Fillmore. WHEN THE AMERICAN helicopters opened fire on Kassim Sheik Mohamoud's garage in southernMogadishu . was hit .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Black Hawk Down Chapter 21 A shared quest: Punish the invaders December 6.in the neck.html ``Captain.processtext. The captain and Sgt. Sgt. went limp.com/abclit. were massive men. Time was essential. He was pondering all this while on his belly in the dirt. I've got another man hit. the last team of boys was moving into the intersection. 1997 Someone walks through the remains of Kassim Sheik Mohamoud garage. His little hockey helmet jerked up and blood came spouting out of his head. Ismail Ahmed was a 30-year-old mechanic. He had about 60 young Rangers to account for . In front of them.

Hours earlier. They were shouting. It sounded as if the whole city were exploding with gunfire. the beefy businessman had quickly run to theDigferHospital to hide. and there were dead people and dead animals. The front door was diagonal acrossHawlwadig Road from the house of Mohamed Hassan Awale. he ran back down behind the hotel. He set off forTrabunaCemetery with three of his men and the bodies of Ismail Ahmad and Ahmad Sheik. Abdulahi Hassan Mohamed. Ali helped carry him to . they moved north. American helicopters were shooting at anything that moved in the southern portion of the city. His friend Adan Warsawe was hit in the stomach and knocked flat on his back. He was joined by some of his neighborhood friends.com/abclit. Peering out his doorway. ducking behind cars and buildings. They wanted to punish the invaders. through all the chaos. and angry crowds had formed in a broad ring around Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk. Above was the din of the helicopters. The streets were crowded with terrified women and children. He studied English and business in the mornings. As dusk approached his men brought him news of the two deaths. bleeding from the head. People swarmed through the streets. There were also Somalis shooting at them.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.processtext. Buses had stopped running. seeking vengeance. who were all carrying their weapons. and because their Islamic faith called for them to bury the dead before sundown. where his AK-47 was hidden. Ali's youngest brother. the first of two helicopters that crashed. He figured the Americans would not shoot at a hospital. and all of the major streets were blocked. http://www. Ali saw Rangers coming down on ropes. fell dead by the gate to the family's house. Ali ran. Wails of grief and anger rose from many homes. None of them were experienced fighters. waving her arms and screaming. Then a helicopter had come low and blasted streams of fire from a gun on its side. They were big men who wore body armor and strapped their weapons to their chests and painted their faces black and green to lookmore fierce . Ali Hassan Mohamed had run to the front door of his family's hamburger and candy shop when the helicopters came down and the shooting started. and all around was the crisp popping of gunfire. he fired his first shots at the Rangers on the corner. He ran up behind the Olympic Hotel and then doubled back up acrossHawlwadig Road to the house of his friend Ahmed. Carrying the gun now. Mogadishuwas in turmoil. so many of the wounded could not be taken to hospitals. They were shooting as soon as they hit the ground. He stayed there two hours. People were scrambling everywhere. He was a student. a tall and slender teenager with prominent cheekbones and a sparse goatee. which was the target building where the Rangers were attacking. He saw a woman running naked. and retraced his route back to his shop. When the first helicopter crashed. and manned the store in the afternoons just up from the Olympic Hotel. Out in the streets were militiamen with megaphones. then run for cover. Kassim left the hospital and returned to his garage to lead a burial detail. He was 15.html knew they might be bombed. Ali would jump out and spray bullets toward the Rangers. Hiding behind the building. When the shooting started. ``Kasoobaxa guryaha oo iska celsa cadowga!'' (``Come out and defend your homes!'') Ali belonged to a neighborhood militia organized to protect their shops from bandits.

Abdikarim had been hopeful about the United Nations when the humanitarian mission started. the day of the Abdi Qeybdid House attack. and every week there was a mounting toll of Somalian dead and injured. So there were bullets everywhere. ``You should go home. Who were these men who came to his home spreading death? WORD THAT THERE WAS big trouble in the city had spread quickly through the Somalian staff at the U. All Somalian employees at the embassy compound were sent home early by their American employers.S. He found his father at home with his two brothers and sister. The Somalian men. job was the first chance he had had to use his fluent English. Embassy compound.processtext. Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Embassy compound in southwesternMogadishu . He felt afraid but very angry. looking out windows. a heavily traveled intersection that was just north of the Ranger base and south of the Bakara Market. and the sky was thick with helicopters speeding low over the rooftops. He could hear the sound of gunfire. so he ran up toward the market. On July 12. it was hard to believe anyone in the market area had not been hit. The fight was roiling when he left the embassy compound. helicopters had killed dozens of moderate clan leaders.html cover. The Americans photographed them. were bloody and dazed and in need of a doctor. The shooting was continuous. It seemed to Abdikarim that there were a hundred helicopters in the sky. Aidid's militia fought from hundreds of places in the densely populated neighborhood.S. when missiles fired fromU. ``Something has happened. He had relatives who lived just a few blocks from the market. the attacks began on his Habr Gidr clan and its leader. Some of his neighbors told him the Rangers had captured Aidid. elders of Abdikarim's clan. and he was eager for news of them. He knew by the time the assault force took off that afternoon that the Americans were headed for the Bakara Market. http://www. Then he ventured outside.he became the eyes and ears for his clan.'' He lived with his family between the K-4 traffic circle. They were all in the courtyard of their home with their backs against a concrete wall. Before the Rangers had even roped down toHawlwadig Road . and that afterthey fast-roped in they would not be able to come back out on helicopters. but after an hour or so he was restless and moving around the house. He found that he grew accustomed to the shooting after a while. He saw it as an unwarranted assault on his country. This U. He needed to find out what was happening. With all the bullets and blasts. But when the Rangers came.'' Abdikarim was told. he had seen victims of the bombing who were brought to the U.S. Abdikarim kept his job but with an added purpose . Abdikarim Mohamud worked as a secretary for one of the American companies providing support services to the international military force under the United Nations command. militiamen were preparing to erect ambushes and roadblocks on the streets around the market. which was the place they always went when bullets started to fly.com/abclit. At first he had crouched down and pressed himself against the wall. That meant the Americans would be sending a column of vehicles to take them out. interrogated them and put them in jail. Like most of his countrymen. but there were still buses running on Via Lenin.N. .Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Gen. There were bullets cracking in the air over his head when he got home.

processtext. They dug until another helicopter buzzed down at them. When a woman ran out in front of Abdikarim. and he got on the floor with everyone else. The woman was hit but got off the street.html When he got close to the shooting. the American fired some shots in their direction. kicking up dust straight past him. and when the helicopter continued on.Mogadishu had become a city of the dead. As they carried the bodies of Ismail Ahmed and Ahmad Sheik. There was shooting all that night. firing. Abdikarim saw up the street an American soldier lying by the road. they returned and picked up the bodies. They let him in. After the helicopter had passed. bleeding from the leg and trying to hide himself. women. 1997 . Kassim went back out at3 a.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. a helicopter swooped down at them and passed so close that they dropped the bodies and ran away. Abdikarim ran around a corner just as one of the Little Bird helicopters flew down the alley. There were many people at the cemetery digging holes for the newly dead. KASSIM SHEIK Mohamoud's little burial convoy got to the cemetery just before dusk. They carried them to a place on a hill and lay the bodies on the ground and began to dig. In fright they ran. http://www.Sounds of gunfire crackled over the city. with the men and finished the job. He told himself that coming out to see had been a bad idea. There were dead people on the road .m. toward the corner where they could shoot at the American. They hid behind a wall. Abdikarim ran to the house of a friend. He pressed himself against a stone wall and saw bullets run down the alley. There were many others digging.com/abclit. a group of Somalian men with rifles came running down the alley.children . Black Hawk Down Chapter 22 A Ranger's plea for help asthe body count climbs December 7.men. and they did not sleep at all. there was terrible confusion on the streets.

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Capt. no helicopter could safely land to evacuate the mounting number of wounded. He darted about halfway out into the road and flung the bag. He was dead. No wayanybody's getting in here. Then Pfc. but he put up his hand. it was decided that Sgt. . Both were moaning and writhing. No one was in charge. He saw Fillmore pitch forward on his face. Jeffrey Hulst would run the kit across. It was too late for Fillmore.com/abclit. A spray of bullets kicked sand into Steele's eyes. Mike Steele was on the ground. "There's no way to get him out by helo [helicopter]. Steele saw rounds tear holes through the tin wall behind them. and seconds later he let out a yelp. then went to work on the two wounded Rangers. and he broke down sobbing. He joined Neathery on the ground. With two Blackhawks shot down already. a Commando team leader. As Fillmore was dragged from the line of fire. Beside him on the ground was his lieutenant. working his big M-60 gun when he screamed and rolled away. They had split haphazardly into several groups. Strous ran back out and retrieved it. had been hit in the right arm. waving frantically. and Commando commandos answered to their own tight chain of command.html SGT. The big Ranger commander had edged up into the same concentrated field of fire that had felled Fillmore and Neathery. each pinned down somewhere near the crash site. Thomas had been firing down an alley. He. Thomas happened to be looking right at Fillmore when suddenly the back of Fillmore's little hockey helmet blew out. Hooten was standing in the doorway of a courtyard. but then he gestured wildly. Steele saw him. tried to warn them away. Shredded by enemy fire. "He needs a Medivac [medical evacuation] or he's going to die. The rescue convoy that was supposed to meet them at the crash site had become hopelessly lost. Peter Neathery was hit at the same wall where Fillmore had been shot. The Little Bird gunships buzzing overhead couldn't open fire on Somalian gunmen for fear of hitting American soldiers scattered all around. Pfc. It was dawning on the men who had moved from the target building toward the crash site that they were now cut off from help. First Class Sean Watson. After some discussion. Rangers answered to Ranger officers. clutching his right arm. James Lechner. He was talking on the radio. Richard Strous. He'd forgotten his medical kit. Thomas went over to Sgt.processtext. a medic. and he heard Lechner scream. The sight of the tough. KENNY THOMAS was just a few feet away when Earl Fillmore went down. it was about to give up and turn back. Norm Hooten. Neathery had been on the ground. Thomas realized it. too. gesturing for Hooten to wait until he had finished with the radio. confident Commando sergeant stretched out motionless with his nose in the dirt horrified Thomas. Spec. Sgt. Vince Errico took over the M-60. The men against the opposite wall all looked at one another. He was one of about 70 Rangers and D-boys fighting their way on foot to Cliff Wolcott's downed Blackhawk an hour into the mission. http://www. Lechner tried to roll out of the way. On the same street. They weren't even sure how far they were from Wolcott's bird. taking cover behind a tin shack.'' Thomas said.'' Watson said. dashed across the street to tend Errico and Neathery.

the captain had no idea where the rest of the Rangers and D-boys had gone. responded evenly but with some impatience: I UNDERSTAND you need to be extracted. The lieutenant's shin had been shattered. the mission commander. He was turning white. He was howling with pain. Most of them had taken cover along a wide street that formed an ``L'' at the intersection of the crash site. He. Sgt.html Steele was still rolling when he saw Hooten waving him toward the courtyard. the worst sound he'd ever heard a human being make. was frustrated by the convoy's failure to find the crash site. Shouting. He stood to run back out. The upper part of his right leg was normal. his words delivered in gasped phrases that sharply contrasted with the even voices of the pilots and airborne commanders watching in aircraft high above. had heard Lechner howl. I've done EVERYTHING I CAN to get those vehicles to you. Lechner's wound looked terrible. the search-and-rescue team was collecting wounded and trying to extricate the body of pilot Cliff Wolcott from the wreckage. But even after those few men were safely inside. At the helicopter itself. Be advised command element [Lechner] was just hit. Steele was motioning to his men across the street for them to join him in the courtyard. Lt. understand. In the doorway. over. several groups of Rangers and Commando soldiers had linked up at the crash site. Col. Goodale felt sickened as he saw a widening pool form under the leg. Steele grabbed the radio microphone. . There was a lip at the base of the entrance and he tripped over it. but the bottom half flopped grotesquely to one side. And he had a courtyard full of wounded men to worry about. http://www. Gary Harrell. He and another soldier dragged Lechner through the doorway. We're taking heavy small-arms fire. Blood flowed from Lechner's wound as if from a jug. It was a horrible sound. over. Have more casualties. Steele didn't even pretend to be calm: Romeo 64. sprawling into a small courtyard head-first. who had been pulled into the same courtyard earlier after being shot through the thigh and buttock.com/abclit. but Commando medic Bart Bullock had already dashed out. They were pinned down under an intense barrage of small-arms and RPG fire. A block away. We need relief NOW and start extracting! In the command helicopter. Steele responded wearily: Roger.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. too. ``We've got to get Lechner!'' Steele shouted.processtext. this is Juliet 64. Mike Goodale. The captain got up and ran for the doorway. He was still trying to assemble everybody in one place.

it was a cardinal sin to shoot before identifying a target. Howe waved in Commando ground commander. a sergeant major ordered Howe to go outside and help the Rangers still on the street.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. shooting. Paul Howe. he was mortified. then again. Howe watched several Rangers try to hit a Somali who kept darting out.html ONE OF THE Commando team leaders.processtext.com/abclit. Sgt. The directive angered Howe. http://www. It landed on Spec. Nelson couldn't hear Howe. pointing his weapon with his right hand and trying to coax the people out of the room with his left. There are friendlies in there!'' When Nelson found out later that he had fired on his own men.a light antitank weapon . ``Shoot the motherf-er!'' Howe screamed. They weren't shooting as much as Howe felt they should be. He welcomed the cleared courtyard as a command post and casualty collection point. clinging to one another. He didn't mask his disgust. and handed them back to his team to be handcuffed and herded into a side room.and hurled it across the road. Spec. Howe now began venting at the Rangers. Nelson had seen someone moving in the window. ``I saw someone in there. The big Commando sergeant picked up a LAW . their survival was at stake. Cut off and surrounded.identify other buildings to take over to give them better lines of fire. He began gathering up ammunition. Capt. realized he had to get the men off the street and out of the line of fire. who was on his belly. They might be stuck there all night. He shouted back.'' ``No s-. Already furious. Shawn Nelson. He found one of the Rangers. He believed they should be looking for ways to strongpoint their position. He and another soldier slammed their shoulders into the gate of a narrow courtyard between two houses and burst inside. weapons ready. and then retreating behind a shed about a block away. firing a handgun at the window of the house Howe had just cleared. They did not seem to appreciate just how desperate their situation had become. expand their perimeter. Instead he was being asked to just help hold the fort. his wife and several children cowering in a room. . Howe stood in the doorway. He stomped angrily out on the street and began looking for Somalis to shoot. Lance Twombly. who had finally caught up with Howe in his run to the crash site. It was the order of a soldier who didn't know what to do next. Miller.a man. He turned angrily. knew from radio traffic that the ground convoy was hopelessly lost and badly mauled. No one had told him that Commando had moved into that space. but they came out slowly. Howe searched them. ``What are you doing?'' Howe shouted across the alley. When the rooms adjacent to the courtyard had been cleared. who he felt were hunkered down in defensive positions waiting for guidance. but. They found a terrified family . bruising his forearm. Howe felt much more aggressive steps should be taken. As the men piled in. Scott Miller and the rest of the men on the street. It took awhile. grenades and antitank weapons from the wounded Rangers in the courtyard.

Howe was firing the Army's new 5. still incensed by what he regarded as the Rangers' hesitancy.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Nelson. Carlos Rodriguez rolled away from his machine gun. cursing viciously as he shot. Then Smith was hit. He actually heard the smack of the round that hit him. From there he was able to stand a yard or two away from the wall on the west side and cover the road north. But that penetrating power meant his rounds were passing right through his targets. Howe watched as Smith and another Ranger moved out away from the wall to shoot up the street. Steele: ``We can't go any further. Across the street. almost as an afterthought. Larry Perino and Cpl. ``We CANNOT go further. It had a tungsten carbide penetrator at the tip that could punch holes in metal. Request permission to occupy a building. Eight of 13 men in Lt. . it was confusing. this really hurts. The lieutenant and a medic pulled Smith into the courtyard. Ken Boorn was hit in the foot. First Lt. He shouted across at them impatiently. ``I'm hit!'' Perino helped move him against the wall. Smith told Perino. remarked. but the tree across the street at Nelson's position and the slope of the hill behind him provided excellent.56mm green tip round. clean holes in the Somalian gunmen. Jamie Smith crept along a wall next to a tin shed. as if he were commenting about someone else. Perino radioed Capt. a pressure dressing. We have more wounded than I can carry. directly up into the wound. saving his ammunition.com/abclit. The medic stuck an IV in him and started shoving Curlex. It looked to him as though they were trying to emulate the position he had found.'' Smith had been shot in the upper thigh.'' Steele told Perino again to keep trying. Rounds seemed to be coming at them from all directions. He spotted a Somalian muzzle flash and was just about to run out and tap Smith on the shoulder and gesture for him to try to hit the Somali with his grenade launcher when a spray of bullets ripped through the shed. http://www. Perino didn't know if the medic had made a bigger incision to get up inside Smith or if the round had caused it. though not obvious. Smith dropped to one knee and then. There was nothing to protect him from fire.html Howe looked for a protected spot where he could fire.'' Steele told him. like a hard slap.processtext.'' ``You've got to push on. but there was no tree on their side to offer concealment. Now Smith was screaming. Howe felt that he had to hit each man five or six times just to get his attention. Pfc. other men were shouting in pain. He wanted everyone together at the crash site. and unless they hit the head or spine the men didn't go down. Concrete chips fell from the wall over Perino's head and rattled down. where the medic tore open Smith's pants leg. saw himgo down. The rounds made small. bleeding and clutching his crotch. He fired methodically. sir. watching from across the street. He found a sort of pocket of invisibility. concealment. but in the din he wasn't heard. Perino's Chalk One had now been wounded. ``Man. They were taking so much fire. ``I'm hit! I'm hit!'' Up the street. Staff Sgt. but there was a gaping hole in his upper leg and blood was everywhere. Even his ammunition angered him.

the medic had his hand up inside Smith's leg. sir. and I can't put a hemostat on it. Black Hawk Down Chapter 23 As darkness nears. strongpoint the building and defend it. Tom. ``It's too high for a tourniquet. where are you? DiTomasso tried to explain his position.For Corporal Smith. Finally Steele got through. The answer came back from Command: There would be no relief for some time. counting myself. .com/abclit. Steele's voice on the radio kept pushing Perino to link up with DiTomasso: They need your help. a dreaded feeling . How can I help him? Finally. they would just have to hang on. We need to extract him now. Perino said: Look.'' he said. Tom DiTomasso's men from Chalk Two. we need a Medivac. It was tough to break through. Perino said.A Little Bird or something. I've got three guys left. They had taken cover in a stone house across an alley from the downed Blackhawk.processtext. and I can't put a clamp on it. ``It looks like it's got his femoral artery. All I can do is put direct pressure on it. and putting another helicopter down in their hot neighborhood was out of the question. for the time being. about 90 minutes into the mission. I can't see. With Mike Durant's helicopter now shot down and the ground convoy laden with dead and wounded soldiers. http://www. The captain radioed Perino back and told him that. I'm in a courtyard. Perino tried to reach DiTomasso on his radio. but the courtyard where he stood was just 50 feet from First Lt.html Perino didn't know it.'' Perino radioed Steele again. Smith looked pale and distant. It was nearly5 p. In the courtyard. DiTomasso popped a red smoke bomb. Sir.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.'' Steele relayed the request on the command net. and Perino could see the smoke drifting up in the darkening sky. The medic had started a morphine drip.m. who had joined the search-and-rescue team at the crash site. He was distressed but focused. every call on the radio was shouted and urgent. Steele relented: Roger.

Mission commanders had already radioed that it was too dangerous to try to land a helicopter and evacuate the wounded. The men holed up in the building across the street desperately needed another medic. tending to the wounded. TIM WILKINSON was inside the wrecked Blackhawk. thinking they could do without water for an hour. Carlos Rodriguez. The men had left them behind.'' he said. tired. They had seen the vehicles drive past just a few blocks west about an hour earlier. Master Sgt. One of the commando commandos ran over and helped haul Rodriguez into the courtyard of a house. where he was added to a rapidly expanding group of wounded men. They were without their main technological advantage their NODs (night optical devices). who had roped down to the crash as part of a 15-man combat search-and-rescue team. Rodriguez was in terrible shape. which stood roughly a block from the wreck of pilot Cliff Wolcott's Blackhawk. ran into the street to get Pfc. Scott Fales. and the men gave up on the ground convoy that was supposed to meet them at the crash site. Then he turned to his wounded fellow medic. and blood was pumping out from between his fingers and flowing from his mouth. Everyone dreaded the approaching darkness. bullets snapping all around . nearly three hours into the mission. Stebbins reached around Rodriguez's waist and half-carried.processtext. Most of them had left without their canteens. It was dusk now.com/abclit. ``Cover me. Head down. Sgt. assuming themidday mission would only take an hour. which allowed them to see in the darkness. half-dragged him off the street. Rodriguez's head dragged in the dirt. bleeding. John Stebbins. stubby Stebbins couldn't pull him. They knew the convoy was lost and badly mauled. http://www. running low on ammunition. too. plowing across the wide road. legs pumping.html December 8.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. and literally in the dark. but Rodriguez was a tall. Wilkinson. A makeshift command post had been set up inside the house. the men feared they would be stuck at the house all night. Now. and deadpanned an absurdly cinematic request. he ran and ran. Now the force faced the night thirsty. Stebbins tried to drag him by his body armor. Rodriguez had both hands over his crotch. gathered up his medical kit. and short. solid kid. who had been shot in the groin and was howling in pain. when he got a radio call. 1997 THE COMPANY CLERK. Spec. Wilkinson was the team comic. cut off from other soldiers also pinned down at various locations near the wreck.

I think you're doing a great job.com/abclit. He slipped pneumatic pants over Rodriguez's legs and pumped them with air to apply more pressure to the wound. ``You OK. Crouching and running at the same time. Then he turned to Capt. tapped him on the shoulder and shouted. blowing off one testicle as it exited his upper thigh. trying to get the terrified private under control. Wilkinson cut open Rodriguez's uniform and saw that a round had ripped through his buttock and bored straight into his pelvis. Three more ear-shattering rounds hit the wall. he made yet another panicked dash across the road.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. what can I say? WHEN THE SUN had slipped behind the buildings to the west.processtext. He was dazed and covered with white powder from the pulverized mortar of the wall. ``I'm fine. and Stebbins and Heard screamed and disappeared in a ball of flame.then realized he was almost out of fluids. He squeezed off rounds carefully. He arrived in the courtyard unscathed. The bleeding stopped.'' Stebbins was trying to figure out whether Heard was serious or just goofing when the ground around them shook. taking down their cover. He made it safely. Then Heard's facecame swimming into view. loosely rolled gauze that expands as it soaks up blood. The others can wait.'' Miller didn't respond. ``Look. and Stebbins was knocked backward.html him. Stebby? You OK?''Heard asked. I just want you to know in case we don't get out of this. ``He needs to get out right now. There came a whoosh and a crackling explosion. He gasped for air and tasted dust and smoke. Into the gaping wound Wilkinson stuffed wads of Curlex. cursing at full throttle as he stepped back out into the alley and resumed firing at a window down the street. It was as if someone had yanked him from behind with a rope. Four other Rangers joined in. Stebbins woke up flat on his back this time. Fales had extra fluids at the crash site. Brian Heard. Wilkinson moved Rodriguez and the other wounded into a rear room. With the bags cradled in his arms. He burst into the courtyard and saw two of the big commando sergeants wrestling with Rodriguez.'' Stebbins stood up. the commando ground commander. Wilkinson took off across the road again. Stebbins was finally able to get a good look at the Somalis who had been firing at him from windows and doorways. Heavy rounds were shattering the wall behind them. trying to conserve ammunition. He just gave the medic a look that said. Brian. and loaded up bags of fluids. but he needs to come out.'' he said. He felt no pain. . His buddy. shooting at the same window. ``Steb. Scott Miller. He started an IV. I've got a critical here. the rounds screaming over his head. http://www. Pfc.We're in a bad spot here. just a shortness of breath. infuriated. Good to go. but that meant another foray through the gunfire. Up through the swirl he saw darkening blue sky and two clouds.

mixed up with Heard. Stebbins saw lights flick on in the distance and was reminded that they were in the middle of a big city. I'm OK. the commando marksman let go a round from his M203 grenade launcher. He could feel dust up his nose and in his eyes. It was going to hit his head. too. dropping it right into the targeted window. One of the the boys was looking down at him from a window. A voice shouted across the intersection that everyone was to retreat back to the building across from the crash site. He needed another weapon. but I don't have my weapon. He figured he'd just cut his lip. man?'' Stebbins pointed out the window. . Rodriguez was in the corner. Black smoke poured from the window. where they had roped in. One by one. ``Yeah. There was an enormous blast. his leg bleeding. He found it in pieces. His left leg and foot felt as if they were asleep. and he turned to see what looked like a rock hurtling straight at him. and Stebbins smelled blood and sweat and urine. you OK? You OK. figuring he'd grab a rifle from one of the wounded men. and he was engulfed in fire and light. His eyes were closed.processtext. Some of the other men ran out and dragged him into the courtyard. until they both came to rest sitting upright and staring at each other.'' Stebbins started to crawl back to his position. There was a barrel but no hand grip. Just let me lie here for a couple seconds. his pants burned off. he heard a voice from behind him. Brian. There were fires burning somewhere back toward the Olympic Hotel. and that in some parts of it life was proceeding normally. His voice sounded cool. It seemed like ages ago. Wilkinson helped him into the back room where the other wounded were gathered.'' As Stebbins gathered his thoughts. and he was tumbling. ``All right. He kept falling down. He tasted blood.com/abclit. ``Where's this guy shooting from. Stebbins heard a whistling sound. Stebby?'' ``Yup. http://www. He smelled burned hair and dust and hot cordite. Stebbins figured the round had detonated some kind of ammo. He felt searing flames. like aCalifornia beach bum's. but he saw bright red when the grenade exploded. the men on Stebbins' corner started sprinting across the intersection. The evening grew quiet. He ducked and turned his helmet toward the missile. looking for his weapon.'' From his window perch. Stebbins was covered with dirt and dust.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. ``Are you OK?''Heard asked after a long moment. because there was a flash throughout the first floor. and he could taste it. the the boys had handcuffed the man of the house and sat him down with his wife and child. He stood up and started running for the courtyard.html ``Stebby. It was already dark there. we've got it covered. The volume of fire had died down. There were three Somalis huddled on a couch. Keep your heads down.

tactics . ``You can guard this window. ``Hey.'' ``But as your health-care professional. ``Listen.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. One of the boys poked his head in the door and gestured toward the white light. ``You're out of action. Black Hawk Down . tact. just numbness. ``I feel I should warn you that narcotics and firearms don't mix.processtext. Stebbins realized he had to urinate badly. clutching his rifle. Stebbins was shocked to see a golf ball-sized chunk of metal lodged in his foot. sucking breaths.'' he said.html moaning and taking short. So he just released the flow where he sat. you're numb now.'' he said. ``Sorry about the couch. All I can give you is some Percocet. He had noticed that his trousers looked blackened. He caught the woman's eye. but it's going to go away. The Somalis moved to the floor.'' Stebbins just shook his head and smiled. and now. The fire from the explosion had cauterized his wounds. He felt no pain. and Wilkinson eased Stebbins down on the couch and started cutting off his left boot with a big pair of shears. There was no place to go. listening to Rodriguez moaning and sucking air and to the Somalian woman complaining with words he didn't understand that her husband's handcuffs were too tight. ``What are you doing that for?'' Wilkinson slid the boot off smoothly and slowly and removed the sock. ``OK. Finally he was left to sit there alone on the couch. loud. and we've got to be tactful.'' Wilkinson added. you've got to turn that white light out. ``It's dark out there now.tactful. But then he thought about it . not my boots!'' he complained.'' he said. ``Hey. illuminated by the medic's white light. man.'' he told him. He realized for the first time that he'd been hit.'' Wilkinson handed Stebbins a tablet and some iodized water in a cup.'' Stebbins was amused by that word: Tactful. http://www.and it made perfect sense.com/abclit. he saw that the blackened flaking patches along his leg were skin. Wilkinson then handed him a rifle. Wilkinson turned off the white light and flicked on a red flashlight.

two of whom would have to be carried. Over the radio. but Watson was a highly respected sergeant first class. He agreed with Miller that everyone should be gathered in one place near the crash site to form more effective crossfire zones and give helicopter gunships a better shot at the Somalian gunmen surrounding them. Four men would have to carry each litter. First Class Earl Fillmore. Scott Miller. and you're doing the best you can. He told a sergeant. 1997 AS DARKNESS FELL. Col.'' he said. Many enlisted men would lack the confidence to challenge their commanding officer. They had five wounded men. Steele took a deep breath and reconsidered. uh-uh. Steele conferred briefly with the D-boys in the courtyard. raining brass links from the miniguns on their heads. especially in battle. the Commando ground commander. . ``Hey. Lt. Steele responded: OK.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. ``I think you're right. and trapped December 9.processtext. to get ready to move out.'' Watson said he thought the idea was foolhardy. they argued over where to best position the 99 men now scattered through the narrow streets around pilot Cliff Wolcott's downed Blackhawk. They thought moving only invited more trouble when they had plenty already. they sided with Watson. Hoo-ah. but try to get everyone at one site and have one guy talking down there if you can. Sean Watson. http://www. who had been shot in the head. The Little Birds were making dazzling gun runs. They could expect a hail of bullets and grenades the second they stepped out the door.'' he told Watson. making convenient cluster targets. The Rangers listened nervously. radioed from his Blackhawk helicopter circling high over the city.html Chapter 24 Disarray in command. Watson immediately confronted his captain. tensions continued to build between the Commando and Ranger commanders. to take the nearly two dozen men holed up with him and move a block north to where Miller had taken cover with his men. Capt. ``No way. He spoke bluntly. Mike Steele. wanted Capt. Gary Harrell. Watson pointed out that it would take a lot to overrun their well-defended courtyard. sir. said Harrell. then relayed word to Miller: Right now we're not going to be able to move. Steele was reluctant. the mission commander. To a man. not with all these wounded. I know it's tough. The body of Commando Sgt. would also have to be hauled.com/abclit. the Ranger commander.

``If that bitch comes back. but he didn't try to stop them. I'm going to kill her. He thought. Sgt. Nobody was going anywhere. Jesus. and left. Then the woman came back. medic Kurt Schmid and others were taking turns sticking their fingers up inside Cpl. He was not going to waste time arguing about it.html Miller was perturbed. Harrell. You're the guy on the ground.com/abclit.'' Earlier in the evening. IN A COURTYARD less than 50 yards away. Briley had died in the crash of Wolcott's helicopter. The whole neighborhood erupted. First Class Al Lamb helped moved CWO Donovan ``Bull'' Briley's body into the newly opened space. I cannot support you as well. She did. First Lt. and he did. Gunfire exploded the instant they passed through the door. Jamie Smith's wound. Larry Perino. gunfire ripped through windows and openings. He ignored Sgt. along with more . as he understood it. Schmid kept telling Perino: ``We need help. the men blew a hole in one of the walls and began moving the wounded and dead into the adjacent space. He ordered the Commando soldiers pinned down with Steele's men to move up and join him. all four o fthe boys came flying back into the courtyard.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Technically. When she stepped out. their gun barrels clinking together as they untangled. a powerful man. they'd move. leaving the Rangers behind. but barely. John Boswell when the Commando soldier offered him his headset and urged him to discuss the matter further with Miller. He wanted Steele and his men to move. He told both captains: If you stay separated. They wound up in a heap on the ground. his D-boys were in charge on the ground. a Blackhawk had dropped fresh supplies of fluids and medicine. screamed more. this is a sad day. If Harrell said move. Steele watched with mild amusement and satisfaction. Steele did not consider Miller his superior officer. He's not going to make it. the copilot's head hit the wall with a mushy thud that sickened Lamb. Then the first group of four went charging out into the night. Within seconds. When Lamb set Briley down. Miller then made his own call. He relayed word to Miller. trying to keep the severed femoral artery pinched shut. tripping over the same metal doorway rim that had tripped up Steele earlier. Harrell refused to decide the issue. Smith had been in awful pain from a gunshot wound to his upper thigh. He looked pale and distant.'' one of the D-boys grumbled. Steele was bitter. but a morphine drip had quieted him. Steele had made his call. and you have to make the call.processtext. http://www. no. even though he and Steele were both captains. running. He watched as the D-boys lined up in the courtyard. Through the new hole a Somalian woman in a flowing orange robe stepped in screaming words the men couldn't understand. wearing spandex shorts. Inside the stone house adjacent to the crash site. preparing to make their dash out the door. and suggested the question be settled by Col. Lamb remembered seeing Briley the day before. He was still conscious. He flattened him out so that when rigor mortis set in the body would not be folded at the waist. Again came the rain of gunfire.

fully mobilized. had dug trenches and erected burning barricades on all roads leading to Wolcott's crash site. He said the resupply helicopter had been badly shot up and had barely made it out . who had been shot in the groin. he was still alert enough to be very scared. He's getting worse. before Jamie enlisted. but radioed Harrell and urged him to put a helicopter down in the wide intersection outside his doorway.J. Word came back from Command that they were not going to try to land a helicopter but instead would wait on the armored convoy. They needed at least another hour. when he was still in basic training. But Smith needed a doctor and a hospital.processtext. It's the dream of being . But to no avail. Jamie had written to his father: ``Today while walking back from lunch I saw two Rangers walking through the company area. Jamie had grown up wanting to be nothing but a Ranger. His father. describing in graphic detail the horrors he had seen inVietnam . Steele knew this was doubtful. It was one thing to weigh these matters rationally. He asked about the quick reaction force. Harrell reluctantly delivered the verdict to Steele: We are going to have to hold on the best we can with those casualties and hope the ground reaction force gets there on time. They had pushed as much fluid from the resupply into Smith as they could. Even so. had been a Ranger inVietnam and had lost a leg in battle. were in critical condition. Captain. The other helicopter crash site.and it had only hovered.com/abclit. Harrell was not encouraging.N. Perino could tell that even though Smith had become weak and silent. to instill a respectful fear of combat into his son. He had tried. Matt. His younger brother. http://www. Steele could hear Harrell pleading with his superiors at theJointOperationsCenter at the airport base. Steele sadly passed the word to Perino: It's just too hot. to have your fingers up inside his wound.html ammunition. which was still being assembled at the base to drive into the city and smash through to the surrounded soldiers. but he needed blood. Carlos Rodriguez. Mike Durant's Blackhawk. Rescue convoys had failed. As a boy. there will be more KIAs [killed in action] from previously received WIAs [wounded in action]. but quite another to have a young man's blood splashed all over your hands and arms. Harrell stressed that both Smith and Pfc. was planning to enlist and enter Ranger school. The forces of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. had been overrun. not landed. Perino radioed down the block to Steele: Hey. feeling his life ebbing away. Harrell was insistent: If the QRF [quick reaction force] does not get there soon. we've got to get Smith out.. Three years earlier. James Sr. Perino took the news badly.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. he had sometimes worn his father's old Army jacket to school inLong Valley.

Now he had been ordered to hastily assemble a massive rescue force from four Pakistani tanks. his own men along with 150 men in the 10th's Alpha Company. There was a chaotic scene at theNewPort facility inMogadishu . David and the rest of Charlie Company. and they didn't hide their frustration. 28 Malaysian armored personnel carriers (APCs). was coping with overwhelming complications trying to put the multinational convoy together. There were wounded Rangers out in the city who were going to die unless the rescue convoy got there soon. had already tried to fight their way out to the city once. http://www. The news was broadcast over the command net: One of the critical WIAs has just been KIA. It was late in the evening now. ground commander of the 10th Mountain Division's Quick Reaction Force.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. sir. . about 150 men on a convoy of nine flatbed trucks and a dozen humvees.'' Now the life was flowing from him. 1997 LT. a few miles up the coast from Task Force Ranger's base. But assembling this patchwork convoy presented a host of problems. It's too late. Before sunset they had made a bid to reach the southern crash site. before being turned back by a blistering ambush. more than a mile from the crash site.html one of those guys in faded fatigues and a black beret that keeps me going. Perino radioed Steele: Don't worry about the Medivac. a platoon of eager Ranger volunteers along with the boys. where pilot Mike Durant and his crew were about to be overrun by Somalis. Black Hawk Down Chapter 25 Confusion as rescue convoy rolls out December 10. more than five hours into the battle. There was nothing more Perino and Schmid could do. Not long after the refusal of the helicopter. COL. But David.com/abclit. The convoy had made it only toK-4 Circle . The Rangers and the boys were in a desperate hurry to get going. BILL DAVID knew very well the consequences of delay. and the still-ambulatory remnants of the lost convoy.processtext.

'' Squeglia said. He wedged himself behind that. I'll drive it.who. he was probably living the last minutes of his life. So David worked out a compromise. part of him felt that going out into that city was committing suicide.As it got close to theBlack Seaneighborhood. and they could not see out. was inside one APC with about nine other men from the 10th. and walked off to find someone else. at this very moment. Lepre had joined the Army to serve his tour and collect his college money. were considered a little bit crazy. Squeglia felt deflated and guilty. But I've never driven a truck before.html It meant looking for drivers who could manage the five-ton trucks while wearing Night Optical Devices (NODs). what am I going into? ``Saddle up.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. The tanks would escort for the first few miles. Soldiers gathered around and held up flashlights to illuminate David's map. Squeglia was somewhere in the middle. who was about to turn 2. They listened to the mounting storm of gunfire and explosions pinging off the sides of the vehicle. worse. before they were ready to pull out of the gate. The Pakistani leader sprinted to David's humvee. He thought about his parents at home on a Sunday morning. The lieutenant made a face. the stronghold of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.processtext. if you're telling me to drive it. men.'' . David wanted to load his own better-trained soldiers onto the APCs.'' said the platoon sergeant. Holy s-.m. He kissed the picture and said: ``Babe. Phil Lepre. and then send one company to each site. through any ambushes or roadblocks. He reached inside his helmet and pulled out a snapshot of his daughter. He had decided that the safest place was toward the rear. Lepre said a silent prayer. ``Sir. 24. He said they had been ordered not to lead the convoy. He made sure he got into the truck after most of the others. then pull back and let Alpha Company pull out front in the APCs. After what he had seen of the lost convoy. There was only a little night-light in the darkness. so decisions took longer to implement. move out midway between the two crash sites. He was terrified by the thought of grinding gears in the middle of a convoy. WITH ALL THE DELAYS. Like many men in the 10th. TheWest Point graduate had the delicate task of explaining to the Malaysians that their vehicles were needed but their men were not. The formation moved out as planned. Lepre heard his APC enveloped by the storm and thought. I hope you have a wonderful life. a specialist fromPhiladelphia . the Somalis unleashed vicious ambushes. without the slightest idea that. it was11:20 p. so one of the lieutenants asked him to drive a truck. place the tanks in front of the column. get left behind. Peter Squeglia had some experience riding a motorcycle wearing NODs. but their men did not.com/abclit. Brittany. http://www. Some guys were racing to the front of the column while others were looking for a way to avoid going out. he was not a career soldier. and certainly not battle-hungry like the Rangers . reading the newspaper. Most of the Malaysian and Pakistani commanders spoke English. where one stalled vehicle could hold up an entire force or. Company armorer Spec. while admired. But they had to do it. Say a prayer. where the spare tire and muffler came up. Everybody was scared.

Spec. The convoy was so big that Capt. Lepre was behind a short wall. some in Ahlfinger's group realized that one of the wounded Malaysians was still stuck inside the smoldering APC. in the chest by a sniper. Lepre had moved only two steps away when Martin . Martin hustled up and crouched behind the wall. then took off himself. An RPG had hit the carrier in front of them.html They blazed through the ambushes. they found themselves in a horrific gunfight. a wound that he would die from a few days later inGermany . The Somalis kept coming. and he wanted to move a few yards away for a better vantage to fire back. and the crowd melted away. He saw several people fall. No one inside could see anything. 19. He dragged the man out of the vehicle and pulled him back to cover. so plowing through could be dangerous. was in the second APC with eight other American soldiers. The Malaysian driver leading the northbound platoon drew to a stop in front of a flimsy barricade. unable to communicate with the main column. It was burning. but the APC driver wouldn't budge. Rangers and the boys holed up at the first crash site could hear the two-mile-long convoy approaching from miles away. Drew Meyerowich. Then something big hit. A Malaysian was driving.com/abclit. screaming at the top of his lungs. The convoy split into two companies. Hollis ordered Cpl.Houston was shot again. Cliff Wolcott's Super 61. One headed west to the crash site of Durant's Super 64. Somalis had mined such barricades.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Cornell Houston was shot in the leg. Aaron Ahlfinger. They saw the bright glow of its guns in the black sky over the city.'' he called back to 23-year-old rifleman James Martin. http://www. Lepre shot his M-16 over the heads of an approaching crowd. ``Private. overrun by Somalis hours earlier. Parent had to choose. where 99 Rangers and the boys were pinned down and waiting. Stranded now. with two countrymen up front and a Malaysian gunner in the turret. Lepre and his team were hunkered down. with a line of vehicles behind them. In the past. taking heavy fire from a nearby building. They looked at each other worriedly. get over here and take my position. So the soldiers piled out of the vehicles and began pulling the barricade apart by hand. they didn't realize it when the driver took a wrong turn and they. Ahlfinger sat in the darkness with the other men until the door of the APC swung open and a Malaysian soldier shouted for them to get out. At one point. Spec. saw from a humvee further back in the column that the vehicles had made a wrong turn. firing thousands of rounds in all directions. both married with children. Sgt. For the next half hour.processtext. went rolling off in the wrong direction. under heavy fire. Lepre and several other men got out and ran for cover. but was unable to make radio contact. The Rangers and the boys cajoled and finally threatened. Parent commanded two men. The dim light in the back went out. so he shot into them. Ahlfinger had never been in a vehicle like this. Along the way Sgt. They got out and blew a hole in a wall and moved inside for shelter. dragging the people he had hit. He hesitated a moment. running for the APC through the gunfire. The other pushed on north to the first crash site. then started firing. There was nothing he could do but hope they doubled back. They found they were stranded in a radio dead zone. Richard Parent to send someone out to get the Malaysian.

to help prevent shock. He worked on Martin for a few minutes.processtext. he ran out and tried to pull Martin's pants back up and give the man some dignity. and the bitter aftertaste of the iodine pills the soldiers had dissolved in the local water to purify it. ``Sorry.'' The medic dragged Martin's body over to the wall. The moon was high and the shooting had all but stopped. gazing out on Martin's half-naked body. Lepre felt terrible. The Commando soldiers would let them stroll and then drop them with a few quick shots. relief tinged with sorrow December 11. But the only noise that concerned Steele was the intensifying thunder of guns as the rescue column moved closer. Black Hawk Down Chapter 26 At rescue. Two bullets struck the pavement next to where he stopped. inadvertently tugging the dead man's pants down around his knees. He pinched himself a couple of times. He wondered what it felt like to get shot in the head and killed. and Lepre scrambled back for cover. but otherwise the air had cleared of smoke and gunpowder. He couldn't bear seeing Martin lying out with his trousers pulled down like that. From time to time. Somalis would still inexplicably wander into the perimeter around Cliff Wolcott's wrecked helicopter. A medic swooped over the downed man and began loosening his clothes. Despite the gunfire. 1997 CAPT. the Little Birds would rumble in and unleash rockets and minigun fire. He was pinned there for a long time.'' he said to Martin. There were a few pops. man. Lepre saw a small hole in his forehead. hard. Few of the guys wore underwear in tropicalMogadishu . the trace of desert dust in the air. medic!'' he shouted. and told Lepre: ``He's dead. Would it feel like that? He felt terrible.html was hit in the head by a round that sent him sprawling backward. He and his men had been pinned down for more than nine hours. . http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. then turned.com/abclit. Now there was just that musky stench ofSomalia . MIKE STEELE KNEW this was the most dangerous time of the night. ``Medic! Get up here. and somehow responsible.

over.'' The Rangers drew back like hermit crabs into their shells. Perino called Capt. Next the soldiers tried to pull the copter apart. The rescue column had brought along a quickie saw to cut the metal frame of the cockpit away from Wolcott's body. http://www. the biggest threat to his pinned-down men was their rescuers. 10 minutes. Both men laughed. Steele stuck his head out the door. Now is a bad time.'' Steele said. We are ready to move. ``This is Capt. we're from the 10th Mountain Division. copy. Steele: ``Where are they?'' ``Any minute now. for the umpteenth time that night.com/abclit. It was ugly work.'' ``Roger. but keep your heads down. and listened. Everyone called out. just a small step removed from utterly incompetent civilianhood. Positions are marked at this time. Steele answered: Roger. start getting ready to get out of there. The dead were laid out on top of the armored personnel carriers. watching from a distance. but the cockpit was lined with a layer of Kevlar that just ate up the saw blade. regarded by many Rangers as poorly trained regular-Army schmoes. When Steele heard vehicles making the turn ontoFreedom Road . They were all terrified of the 10th Mountain Division. and to stay away from the doors and windows. Steele radioed First Lt. sir. with two jumpy elements of soldiers about to link up in darkness in a confusing city. who had been shot in the thigh and had a big exit wound on his buttock.'' a soldier answered.'' came the response. Five minutes passed. Mike Goodale. ``Ranger! Ranger!'' ``TenthMountainDivision. ``Where's your commander?'' Steele asked.html With that much shooting. You better believe it. I'm the Ranger commander. attaching chains to the front and back. 20 minutes. the convoy troops were coming fast now. Steele. hobbled painfully and was helped through the doors of an APC. They turned away. and the wounded were loaded inside. who was in a house a block north: ``I want everybody to back up out of the courtyards. Sgt. Word came from the command helicopter shortly before2 a. IT TOOK HOURS to pry pilot Cliff Wolcott's body from the wreck. Roger. they are going to be coming in with heavy contact so be real careful.processtext. Some of the Rangers. . Larry Perino.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. By the sound of it. and shooting at everything.m. his men saw the dim outline of soldiers. OK. thought the D-boys were using the vehicles to tear Wolcott's body out.

Scott Miller's courtyard. There was only one guy in the unit with boots that small. We're getting shot at. the vanguard of a convoy that stretched a half mile. They all sat in the small dark space just staring silently at one another. you don't understand this. his D-boy buddy who had been shot in the head hours earlier. Painted white. http://www. they carried wounded Pfc. let's go. ``Hey.'' he was told. They would have to run a half-mile back out toNational Boulevard .'' There was bitter laughter. we're not staying! Let's get the f. ``Look. we'll all have someplace to explode out of. When Cliff Wolcott's body was at last freed from the wreckage. but also pain.com/abclit. No. ``Goddamnit. We stay. the wounded men grew restless in the windowless chambers of the APCs. He took off his helmet and loosened his body armor. parked in the center of the road. the exhausted remnants of Task Force Ranger who could still walk learned.'' ``Then lean or something. that there wasn't room enough on the vehicles for them to ride out of the city.'' suggested one of the wounded D-boys. Goodale leaned up toward the Malaysian driver. It hurts to sit. the APCs might as well have been giant bull's-eyes. There was joy and relief for the 99 men who had been pinned down overnight. ``You know what we should do.'' he said. No. and they didn't understand the protracted delay. Then they loaded the rest of the men.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.out of here!'' ``No.'' Down the street at Commando Capt.processtext. glanced up at the top of a vehicle and saw the soles of two small assault boots. First Class Paul Howe. Carlos Rodriguez out first. one of the Commando team leaders. We stay. We're going to get f-d up in this thing!'' There were about 200 Americans now in and around these two blocks ofMogadishu . As the hours stretched on.html ``We need you to sit.'' said the driver. waiting. I got shot in the ass. It had to be Earl Fillmore. ``No. Sgt. ``We should kind of crack one of these doors a little bit so that if an RPG comes in here. to their dismay. Goodale had only a small peek hole to see outside. . They couldn't see what was going on.'' ``No. It was so warm he started feeling woozy.

Terry Butler volunteered. Sgt. Sgt. ``No. where a field hospital had been set up. ``Dead in that group there. When the APC pulled in with Donovan Briley's body on top. One of the doctors gave him some hot tea. ``You're going to be fine. exposing awful wounds. Spec. Live in this group here. Lt. badly wounded. At the stadium. limbs mangled. Ed Kallman. Even though it was sunny and at least 90 degrees. No I'm not. . Blood poured out of Briley's head and down the white side of the carrier. James Lechner with his leg ripped open. they covered the ground the same way they had come in. Raleigh Cash found him.processtext. Goodale was laid out in the middle of the big stadium looking up at a clear blue sky with his pants cut off. His body was discolored. John Stebbins riddled with shrapnel. leapfrogging intersections. Cash had seen Ruiz. Casey Joyce and Pfc. who earlier had so thrilled at the chance to be in combat. Ramaglia . who covered Goodale with a blanket and tucked it around him. He told him about the deaths of Sgt.com/abclit.html Shot at all along the way. Remarkably. the wounded Ranger was suddenly chilled to the bone. and through the deep gash in his head he could see brain matter spilled down the side of the carrier.'' The medics and doctors cut off the bloody. Jamie Smith and Sgt. Don't worry about me. Steve Anderson recoiled. Spec. Lorenzo Ruiz. returning fire down alleyways. guys with gaping. He couldn't deal with it. It looked yellow-orange. Cash flagged a nurse. A 10th Mountain medic leaned over and dropped ash from his cigarette as he tried to stick an IV needle into Goodale's arm. When the medics asked for help getting the body down. Pvt.Anderson couldn't help watching as they slid the body off. The half-naked sergeant was stone white and shaking. That's how Sgt. ``I know it's over for me. Word came back not long afterward that he'd died. shuttling the wounded back to the main hospital by the hangar. was badly injured.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. He had barely enough strength to form the words. At first sight. not long before he died.'' Ruiz had said. Helicopters with red crosses painted on the sides came and went. Fillmore. he thought Goodale was a goner.'' Then they had taken him to the helicopter and flown him away. He was loaded onto a vehicle and driven the rest of the way to the soccer stadium that served as the Pakistani headquarters. Goodale with his bare wounded butt up in the air. Cash told Goodale what he had seen back at the hangar when the lost convoy came in. . Briley had died in the crash of Super 61. James Cavaco. he had to turn away. dirty clothes.Anderson ducked away. Randy Ramaglia. Richard ``Alphabet'' Kowalewski. http://www. Cash had come in on the rescue convoy and was wandering wild-eyed through the makeshift field hospital looking for his friends. . the soccer pitch was covered with wounded men. the list went on and on. Many unhurt men walked among the litters with tears in their eyes or with thousand-mile stares. poor Carlos Rodriguez with a bullet through his scrotum. Pvt. Spec. running.'' he had told him. Goodale told Cash about the deaths of Spec. and he went down the list of wounded. now watched with horror as medics efficiently sorted the litters as they came off vehicles. only one Ranger. He started shaking. bruised holes in their bodies.

They both burst into tears when they saw each other. Stebbins began asking everyone who walked past. All of the men on the bird sat silently. He reached down and took a two-inch flap of cloth from Stebbins' shredded trousers and tried to place it over his genitals.S. ``Bless you. The first person Spec. He felt the experience had changed him in some fundamental way.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Good work.'' he said. others were chattering away as if they couldn't talk fast enough to get all their stories out. . I hear you did your job. They both laughed. but he wasn't sure yet how many. They sat and cried and talked. It was as if he were seeing things through someone else's eyes. ``What?'' ``That's Smith. He wondered if other guys were feeling this.html Stebbins was set down among a group of his buddies. One was booted. To suddenly lift up and see the whole city .'' Sizemore saw two feet hanging out from under a sheet. Chuck Elliott. http://www.'' said Stebbins. watching as the dead were loaded onto helicopters. Some of his men were in tears.'' said Elliott. Jamie Smith's pelvic wound. overwhelmed with grief but unwilling to show much emotion before his men. Navy ship in the distance. Riding in the helicopter on the way back was very calming for Sizemore. The captain found a place to sit at the edge of a mortar pit and laid his rifle across his lap and just breathed deeply and swished the cool water in his mouth and tried to review all that had happened. His staff sergeant had told him there were others. Had he made the right decisions? Had he done everything he could? One by one the wounded were loaded up and flown back to the hospital and hangar. the other bare. Steele was badly shaken when he learned that more of his men were dead. The wind through the open doors and the view of city and sky and ocean felt safe and familiar. Spec. That's how he knew it was Smith. A grenade explosion had shredded his fatigue pants. First Class Sean Watson found him. Smith was the only fatality Steele had known about for certain. Steele felt strange looking down at the city where they had just fought. Sgt. A Malaysian soldier gave him one. he didn't know how to ask. ``Got any cigarettes?'' Weaver didn't. Aaron Weaver brought him a hot cup of coffee. Steele found a bottle of water and sat drinking it. glad to find each other alive. Colors seemed brighter to him. ``Stebby. They had cut off the one pants leg and boot. and then gave Stebbins the pack. His whole world had been so tightly focused for so long on two blocks ofMogadishu . Shawn Nelson looked out over the blue ocean at a U. Elliott told him how he and others had taken turns for hours putting their fingers up inside Spec. naked from the waist down. Dale Sizemore found from his Chalk was Staff Sgt. pinching the femoral artery. Until reaching the stadium. ``There's Smitty. Then Sizemore started telling Elliott about the dead and wounded Rangers from the lost convoy.processtext. my son. smells more vivid. . but it was so weird . Sgt. bent over to light it for him.com/abclit. alone with his thoughts.

but the scene in the hospital nearly reduced him to tears. ``Where are they?'' Steele asked. Guys were lying everywhere. The captain put a great store on maintaining at least a facade of emotional resilience.'' Steele stripped off his gear and walked across to the field hospital. here's what it looks like. it was almost too much.processtext.html stretching under him. on cots.com/abclit. One-third of his company had either been killed or injured. ``Rangers lead the way. ``Phipps?'' The soldier stirred. Steele finally got the accurate casualty list when he returned to the hangar. He choked out a few words of encouragement to each. Phipps looked as if he'd been beaten with a baseball bat. ``Sir. to see the beach and the ocean in morning sunlight. Rob Phipps. handing over a green sheet of paper. and Harris had started a second column at the top. restocking ammo. on the floor. They were already at work. Don't go back out without me. Saying more would have tapped the well of grief deep in his throat.'' ``All the way. ``Most are at the hospital.'' Harris said. His face was swollen twice its normal size and was black and blue. a medic leaned over him and said: ``Man. ``Sir. there was red where the whites normally were. The last soldier he saw was Cpl. I feel sorry for you all. checking their gear. sir. sir.'' Steele nodded and fled the room. a reminder of how smallMogadishu was in the larger scheme of things. This one ran almost to the bottom. He saluted. Sgt. returning the salute. Capt.'' The D-boys had gotten an early chopper lift back to the hangar. They were ready to go right back out. http://www. `` 'cause we whipped ass. When he opened his eyes. .'' Phipps reached up and grabbed the captain's arm. When Ramaglia was loaded onto a bird. Some were still bandaged in the haphazard wraps given them during the fight. First Class Glenn Harris was waiting for him at the door. cleaning their weapons.'' ``You should feel sorry for them. and there were stains from his oozing wounds.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. the youngest of the Rangers on the search-and-rescue helicopter. I'll be OK in a couple of days. ``You're going to be OK.'' Ramaglia said. Steele was aghast.'' Steele said. His back and leg were heavily bandaged. One list of names ran the entire length of the page. Steele laid his hand on him.

Air. Shawn Nelson. He had not slept. sunlight and sounds filtered in through crosses cut into the concrete of the walls.processtext. His right leg ached where the femur was broken. Oct. 1997 MICHAEL DURANT heard birds singing and the voices of children at play. Black Hawk Down Chapter 27 Durant's ordeal of agony and terror December 12. He unzipped the body bag and gazed for a long time at his friend's pinched. It did not hurt that badly. 4. lifeless face. Then he leaned over and kissed his forehead. The previous evening. which was closed. He put it in a tin can. Watson walked over to the morgue to see Smith one last time. pale.com/abclit. He rooted through the pockets. Sgt. It had a clean hole in the upper back. http://www. The others were all dead. and he could feel the ooze of blood inside his pants where the bone had poked through his flesh in the manhandling he'd endured. He was still alive. but the sounds and the sunlight beaming through holes in the concrete walls seemed at stark odds with everything that had happened hours before. sharing stories. He didn't know if that was good or bad. captive Blackhawk pilot was flat on his back on a cool tile floor in a small octagonal room with no windows. but Durant did not know this. he had been attacked and carried off by angry Somalis who had overrun his downed helicopter crew and two Commando sergeants who had fought to protect them. The room had no furniture and only one door. now examined the bloody thing. Guys sometimes stuffed pictures or love letters inside. In the front of Sgt. so clearly the severed bone had not punctured . The injured. compiling an oral history of the previous 18 hours. He had no idea where he was inMogadishu . Spec. Joyce's vest he found the bullet. the morning of a day Durant thought he would never see.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. It was Monday. He smelled of blood and powder and sweat. who had helped his friend Casey Joyce into his flak vest the previous afternoon. There was a dusty odor. Many of the men talked. amazed by the sudden emptiness of it.html The Rangers all wandered back into the hangar. It must have passed right through his friend's body and been stopped by the plate in front.

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an artery. His back was what really bothered him. He figured he'd crushed a vertebra in the crash. The Somalis had bound him with a metal dog chain. They had wrapped it around his hands, which were pulled together on his stomach. During the long night he had worked one hand free. He was sweating so that when he relaxed his hand it slid easily from the chain. It had given him his first sense of triumph. He had fought back in some small way. He could wipe the dirt from his nose and eyes and straighten his broken leg somewhat and get a little more comfortable. Then he wrapped his hand back into the chain so his captors wouldn't know.

The birdsong made him think he was in a garden, and that this strange room was some kind of garden house. The children's voices made him think of an orphanage. He knew there was one in northernMogadishu . Durant had passed out when he was carried off. He'd felt himself leaving his body, watching the scene from outside himself, and it had calmed him briefly. But the feeling hadn't lasted long. He'd been thrown roughly into the back of a flatbed truck with a rag tied around his head. He had been driven around for a while. The truck would go and then stop, go and then stop. He guessed it was about three hours after the crash when they'd brought him to this place, removed the rag, and bound him with the chain. The pilot had no way of knowing, but he had been kidnapped from Yousuf Dahir Mo'Alim, the neighborhood militia leader who had spared him from the attacking crowd. Mo'Alim and his men had been trying to take Durant back to their village, where they intended to contact leaders of his clan, the Habr Gidr. Durant couldn't walk, so they were carrying him when they were intercepted by a Land Cruiser with a big gun mounted on the back. The men in the vehicle were freelance street fighters, bandits not aligned with any clan. They considered the injured pilot not a war prisoner to be traded for captured Habr Gidr leaders, but a hostage. They knew somebody would pay to get him back. Mo'Alim's men were outnumbered and outgunned, so they reluctantly turned Durant over. This was the way things were inMogadishu . Whoever had the bigger guns prevailed. If the Habr Gidr leader, Mohamed Farrah Aidid, wanted the pilot back, he would have to pay for him. The kidnappers had placed Durant in this room, and chained him. During the long night the pilot heard the roaring guns of the giant rescue column blazing its way into the city. At one point he heard several armored personnel carriers roll right past outside. He heard shooting and thought he was about to be rescued, or killed. There was a furious gunfight outside. He could hear the low, pounding sound of a Mark 19 and the explosions of what sounded like TOW missiles. He had never been on the receiving end of a barrage, and he was shaken by how powerful and frightening it was. The explosions came closer. The Somalis holding him grew more and more agitated. He heard them shouting, and several times they barged in to threaten him. One of the men spoke some English. He said, ``You kill Somalis. You dieSomalia , Ranger.'' Durant couldn't understand the rest of their words, but he gathered they intended to shoot him before letting the approaching Americans take him back.

His captors were all young men. Their weapons were rusted and poorly maintained. He listened to the pitched fighting with terror and hope. Then the sounds marched on and faded away. He found himself, despite the danger, feeling abject at their departure. They had been so close!

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Soon dawn came. Durant was still frightened and uncomfortable and very thirsty, but the sunlight and the birds and children calmed him. He felt safer than at any moment since the crowd had closed on him. Then a gun barrel poked around the door. Durant caught the motion out of the corner of his eye and turned his head just as the barrel flamed and the room rang with the sound of a shot. He felt the impact on his left shoulder and his left leg. Eyeing his shoulder he saw the back end of a round protruding from his skin. It evidently had hit the floor first and had ricocheted into him without fully penetrating. A bit of shrapnel had entered his leg.

He slid his hand free of the chain and tried to wrench the bullet from his shoulder. It was an automatic move, a reflex, but when his fingers touched the round they sizzled and he winced with pain. The bullet was still hot. It had burned his fingertips. He thought, lesson learned: Wait until it cools off.

WORD SPREAD QUICKLY through the hangar back at the base early the next morning, Tuesday, Oct. 5. There was something on the TV, on CNN, they had to see. Something horrible. The aching and tired Rangers and Commando soldiers, many bandaged and bruised, watched the screen with disgust and anger. The pictures showed jubilant Somalis bouncing on the rotor blades of Super 64, Durant's helicopter, and then showed a thing almost too wounding and terrible to watch. They had bodies. Bodies of these men's brothers, crew members from the helicopter or Commando soldiers, it was hard to tell from the angles and distances of the camera shots. They were dragging a body through the street at the end of a rope, kicking and poking at the lifeless form. It was ugly and savage, and the men went back out to the hangar and cleaned their weapons and waited for orders that would send them back out. Commando Sgt. Paul Howe was ready. If he was going back out, he was going to kill as many Somalis as he could. He'd had enough. No more rules of engagement, no more toeing some abstract moral line. He was going to cut a gruesome path through these people.

BASHIR HAJI YUSUF was disgusted and ashamed by what he saw. The bearded lawyer had come down to the Bakara Market after the shooting to witness and photograph the aftermath. Bodies had been pulled off the streets, but he saw dead donkeys on the road, bloated and stiff. A great deal of damage had been done to buildings around the crash site nearest the Olympic Hotel.

He was snapping pictures of the helicopter wreckage when he heard the sounds of an excited crowd and ran to it. The Somalis had a dead American soldier draped across a wheelbarrow. Bashir stayed on the fringes of the angry crowd. He snapped a few pictures. Then the people took the

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body of the soldier from the wheelbarrow and began dragging it in the dirt. Women were screaming curses, and the men were shouting and laughing. The lawyer wanted to stop it. He wanted to step up to the men with the ropes and remind them that the Koran teaches respect for the dead. But he was afraid for himself so he stayed back. These people were wild with anger and revenge. It was a festival of blood. He followed the crowd for a few blocks, then slipped away and went home. A contingent of Saudi Arabian soldiers in U.N. vehicles encountered the crowd pulling the dead American by theK-4 Circle . The crowd had grown quite large. ``What are you doing?'' asked one of the Saudi soldiers, clearly shocked. ``We have Animal Howe,'' one of the young Somalian ringleaders said, referring to the hated American U.N. administrator, retired Adm. Jonathan Howe. ``This is an American soldier,'' one of the Saudis said. ``If he is dead, why are you doing this? Aren't you a human being?'' One of the Somalis pointed his rifle at the soldier. ``We will kill you, too,'' he said. Some in the crowd began shouting at the Saudis: ``Leave here! Leave it alone! The people are angry. They might kill you.'' ``But why do you do this?'' the soldier demanded. ``You can fight and the Americans can fight, but this man is dead. Why do you drag him?'' Angry men in the crowd again threatened the Saudis, who climbed back into their vehicles and left. Black Hawk Down

Chapter 28 On TV, Durant's battered face

December 13, 1997

IN THE FIRST DAY of captivity, still flat on his aching back on a tile floor in a small octagonal room, his right leg broken, with a bullet wound now in his shoulder, Blackhawk pilot Mike Durant was asked by his captors to make a video.

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``No,'' Durant said. He was surprised they'd asked. If they wanted to make a video, they were going to anyway. But, since they asked, he said no. It was safer not to be in that position, speaking to the world from captivity.

It was Oct. 4, a Monday.America had awakened to a tragedy inMogadishu . Eighteen dead soldiers. More than 70 wounded. Hundreds of Somalis dead. On the TV screen came horrible images of a dead American soldier being dragged through the city's dusty streets by angry crowds. President Clinton was in a hotel room inSan Francisco when he saw the pictures. He was horrified and angry, according to an account in Elizabeth Drew's book On the Edge. He wanted to know who had made the decision to undertake this mission. Why hadn't he been informed? ``How could this happen?'' he demanded. Stephanie Shughart, the wife of Commando soldier Randy Shughart, had received word at 10 the night before. One of the other FortBragg,N.C. , wives had called with the first drop of bad news: ``One of the guys has been killed.'' One of the guys. She had talked on the phone with Randy on Friday night. As usual, he had said nothing about what was going on, just that it was hot, he was getting enough to eat, and he was getting a great tan. He told her he loved her. He was such a gentle, loving man. It seemed so odd how he made a living, that he was a warrior. One of the guys. At the hangar inMogadishu , the men had watched the dead soldier being dragged through the streets. They crowded into the back room and watched it replay on the screen. No one said a word. Some of the men turned away. The pilots wanted to mow them down, just mow them all down, land, and recover the body. But the commanders said no. There was a big crowd around the body. It would be a massacre.

Sgt. First Class John Macejunas was getting ready to go back out. The blond Commando had gone out into the fight three or four times the day and night before. When the rescue convoy couldn't reach Durant's crash site, Macejunas had led a small squad to the site on foot, scouring the area for his friends. Now he was dressed as a civilian, a journalist. He was going back out into the city to look for his brothers, alive or dead. The Rangers who saw him were in awe of the man's courage and cool.

ATVOLUNTEERHOSPITAL , surgeon Abdi Mohamed Elmi was covered with blood and exhausted. The wounded had started coming in early the evening before. It was just a trickle at first, despite the great volume of gunfire. There were burning roadblocks throughout the city, and the American helicopters were buzzing low and shooting, and most people were afraid to venture out.

He sat until his cigarette was finished. I'm not a Ranger. He would not sleep for another 24 hours. Men had been questioning him on and off all day. all 500 beds in the hospital would be full. The hospital was filled with the chilling screams and moans of broken people. DURANT'S CAPTORS showed up with a camera crew that evening. a lot of lights. trying to keep up. Elmi sat on a bench smoking a cigarette quietly. After the trouble had started with the Americans. Doctors and nurses ran in the hallways. hundreds more. dismembered. Oct. ``I can't. There were about 10 young men in the crew.'' Durant told him. 4.allowed infections to set in that could no longer be successfully treated with what antibiotics the hospital could spare. By the end of this day. dozens. He finally walked out of the operating room at8 a. It was located down near the Americans' base by the airport. Then he stood and went back to work.'' he said. and sat down to rest. the interviewer began pressing him on the same points. When the camera was turned on. The key was to offer as little information as possible. The Somalis considered all the Americans with the task force to be Rangers. bleeding. The delay in getting them to the hospital . dying in horrible pain. The man spoke fairly good English. It had been a full day since he crashed and was carried off in an angry swarm of Somalis. to be cagey. not confrontational. Only one of the crew spoke to him. They set up lights. .many more would come today than came yesterday . thirsty and still terrified. ``No. Durant had been trained to undergo trials such as this. It was like some tidal wave of gore. His interrogators were not very skillful.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. . most Somalis were afraid to come there. The three-bed operating theater at Volunteer had been full and busy all through the night.m.com/abclit. A French relief worker who saw him sitting down approached him angrily. and the hallways outside were rapidly filling with more. And Volunteer wasn't the biggest hospital in the city. She stormed away. and Durant was determined to abide by it. The numbers were even greater at Digfer. His face was bloody and swollen from where a militiaman had smacked him in the face with the butt of a rifle. Oct. ``Why don't you help these people?'' she shouted at him. He was a pilot. and at least 200 more wounded would be lined in the hallways. There was a code of conduct spelling out what he could say and what he couldn't say. 4. theVolunteerHospital was almost empty.processtext. He had assisted in 18 major surgeries by sunrise. Elmi was part of a team of seven surgeons who worked straight through without a break.html Before the fight started. trying to get him to tell them more about who he was and what his unit was trying to do inSomalia . Most of those with gut wounds would die. He was hungry. http://www.

pot-bellied man with thick glasses. frightened look in his eye. His was compound. His leg was moving all over the place. Two men got into the car and sat on him. a man he would come to know well over the next 10 days. That was the best they got out of him. some antiseptic solution and some gauze. Those were the words people all over the world would be seeing on their TVs the next day. ``Innocent people being killed is not good. He told Durant he had been trained at theUniversityofSouthern California . but the pilot was grateful. lifted off the videotape. and a wild. He apologized for the limited supplies he had with him. http://www.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. It was terribly painful. bloody face. and he spoke English well. just some aspirin. He was kind. It had swelled badly. He used forceps and gauze and the solution to gently probe Durant's leg wound. a man they called ``Firimbi. and a blanket was placed over him.com/abclit. When the doctor left. ending a mission December 14. with his dark hair sticking straight up. He was loaded into the back of a car. Black Hawk Down Chapter 29 The final chapter: Freeing a pilot. Durant's swollen.'' Durant said. 1997 IT WAS ON THE SECOND NIGHT of his captivity in Mogadishu that Blackhawk pilot Michael .'' the propaganda minister for clan leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid.'' the interviewer insisted. and the slightest move was torture. and he had been lying on a dirty floor all night and day. Durant was moved from the room where he had awakened that morning to the sounds of birds and children. It was Abdullahi Hassan. They brought him to a little apartment and left him in the care of a tall. even with simple fractures. After the camera crew left. would soon be in newspapers and on the covers of newsmagazines worldwide. where the broken femur poked through the skin.html ``You kill people innocent. but the warlord had paid his ransom. It was sharply painful. Durant didn't know it. a doctor showed up. and he cleaned off the end of the bone and the tissue around it.processtext. He knew enough about wounds to know that a femur infection was relatively common.

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Durant was brought to Abdullahi Hassan, the man known as "Firimbi.'' Firimbi was a big man for a Somali, tall with long arms and big hands. He had a pot belly, and squinted through thick, black-framed glasses. He was warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's "propaganda minister.'' Once Aidid's men had purchased Durant back from the bandits who had kidnapped him, Firimbi was put in charge of his safekeeping. He was told, "If any harm comes to the pilot, the same shall be done to you.'' Durant arrived at night, angry, frightened and in pain. In the drive through the city he had been under a blanket in the backseat. He had no idea where he was. The men who brought him carried him up steps and along a walkway and set him down in a room. Firimbi greeted him, but the pilot didn't answer. Durant's wounds, a compound-fractured right leg and a wounded shoulder, had become swollen and infected. Firimbi helped wash him and bandage his wounds. He passed word along that Durant needed a doctor. That night, Monday, Oct. 4, Durant heard American helicopters flying overhead, broadcasting haunting calls: Mike Durant, we will not leave you. Mike Durant, we are with you always. Do not think we have left you, Mike.

FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR to Somalia Robert Oakley was at a party at the Syrian Embassy inWashington on Oct. 5 when he got a phone call from the White House. It wasAnthonyLake , national security adviser to President Clinton. "I need to talk to you first thing in the morning,''Lake said. "Why, Tony?'' Oakley said. "I've been home for six months.'' Oakley, a gaunt, plainspoken intellectual with a distinguished career in diplomacy, had been President George Bush's top civilian inMogadishu during the humanitarian mission that had begun the previous December and eventually ended the famine. He had left in March along with 20,000 Marines. Since his return, Oakley had watched with dismay the course of events inMogadishu . Despite his long experience there, no one from the White House or State Department had consulted him. "Can you come to breakfast tomorrow at7:30 ?''Lake asked. The White House was in trouble. The day after theOct. 3, 1993 , Battle of Mogadishu, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and Secretary of State Warren Christopher had been grilled by angry members of Congress. How had this happened? Why were American soldiers dying in far-offSomalia ? These were the same questions thatClinton was asking his aides. Until this raid,Clinton had been briefed on missions in advance. This one had been mounted so quickly he had not been informed. He

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complained bitterly toLake . He felt he had been blindsided, and he was angry. He wanted answers to a broad range of questions from policy to military tactics. At the breakfast table in the East Wing on Oct. 6 wereLake and his deputy, Samuel R. Berger, and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine K. Albright. Then they walked with Oakley into the Oval Office, where they joined the President, the vice president, Christopher, Aspin, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several advisers. The meeting lasted six hours. The thrust of the discussion was: What do we do now? An American soldier's body had been dragged through the streets by jeering Somalis. Eighteen soldiers were dead and 73 wounded. Hundreds of Somalis were dead. Durant was being held captive. The public was outraged, and Congress was demanding withdrawal. Staying inMogadishu to pursue Aidid was out of the question, even though retired Adm. Jonathan Howe, head of the U.N. effort there, and Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison, commander of Task Force Ranger, thought Aidid had been struck a mortal blow, and that it wouldn't take much to finish the job. Intelligence reports were that Aidid supporters were fleeing the city, their arsenals of rocket-propelled grenades expended. Others were sending peace feelers, offering to dump Aidid. But it was clear thatAmerica had lost its stomach for anything further inSomalia . The meeting ended with a decision:America was pulling out. Task Force Ranger, reinforced to make a show of military resolve, would stay on - but would make a dignified withdrawal by March 1994. All efforts to capture Aidid would be called off. Oakley was dispatched toMogadishu to deliver this message and to try to secure the release of Durant. There would be no negotiating with Aidid. Oakley was instructed to deliver a stern message: The President of theUnited States wanted the pilot released. Now.

JIM SMITH, the father of Ranger Cpl. Jamie Smith, was in a meeting at a bank inLong Valley,N.J. , on Monday, Oct. 4, when, oddly, his boss' wife walked into the conference room. "I just got a call from Carol,'' she said. "Call home.'' Obviously, his wife, Carol, had felt this was urgent. She had phoned the boss' home number, looking for a way to track him down. "What's the matter?'' he asked when Carol answered his return call. Smith will always remember her next words. "There are two officers here. Jamie has been killed. You have to come home.'' When Jim got home, Carol told him: "Maybe they're wrong. Maybe Jamie is just missing.'' But Smith knew. He had been a Ranger captain inVietnam , and lost a leg in combat. He knew that in a tight unit such as his son's inMogadishu , they wouldn't notify the family of death unless they had his son's body in hand.

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"No,'' he told his wife quietly, trying to make the words sink in. "If they say he's dead, they know.'' Camera crews began to arrive within hours. When everyone in his immediate family had been given the news, Smith walked out in the front yard to answer questions. He was repulsed by the attitude of the reporters and the kinds of questions they asked. How did he feel? How did they think he felt? He told them he was proud of his son and deeply saddened. Did he think his son had been properly trained and led? Yes, his son was superbly trained and led. Whom did he blame? TheU.S. Army?Somalia ? God? Smith told them that he didn't know enough about what happened yet to blame anybody, that his son was a soldier, and that he died serving his country. A Mailgram arrived two days later with a stark message signed by a colonel he didn't know. It resonated powerfully with Smith, even though he knew its contents before reading the words. It joined him in a sad ritual as old as war itself, with every parent who ever lost a son in battle: "THIS CONFIRMS PERSONAL NOTIFICATION MADE TO YOU BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, THAT YOUR SON, SPC JAMES E. SMITH, DIED ATMOGADISHU,SOMALIA , ONOCTOBER 3, 1993 . ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO YOUR CASUALTY ASSISTANCE OFFICER. PLEASE ACCEPT MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY IN YOUR BEREAVEMENT.''

STEPHANIE SHUGHART had finally received word about her husband, Randy Shugart, that Monday morning, Oct. 4, atFort Bragg,N.C. She had called her boss to say she wouldn't be in for work - "a family emergency.'' Her boss knew that Randy was in the Army, and she had heard the reports out ofMogadishu . She drove straight over to the Shugharts' house. The two women drank coffee and watched CNN. Stephanie had been in an agony of suspense since the day before, when one of the other Commando wives had spread the word: "One of our guys has been killed.'' Stephanie and her boss were talking when two silhouettes appeared outside the door. Stephanie opened it to two men from her husband's secret Commando unit. One was a close friend. This is it, she thought.He's dead. "Randy is missing in action,'' her friend said. She was determined not to despair. Randy would be fine. He was the most competent man alive. Her mental image ofSomalia was of a jungle. She pictured her husband in some clearing, signaling for a chopper. When her friend told her that Randy had gone in with Gary Gordon, she felt even better. They're hiding somewhere. If anybody could come through it alive, it was those two. Later that day notification arrived atFortBragg of more deaths: Sgt. Earl Fillmore and Master Sgt. Tim "Grizz" Martin. Then there were the horrible images of a dead soldier being dragged through the streets. Wives and parents and siblings were examining newspaper photos and squinting at TV images, trying to determine who the soldier was. Then word came that Gary Gordon's body had been recovered. But when proof came that Durant was alive and being held captive, Stephanie's hopes soared. Surely they had Randy, too. They just weren't

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showing him on camera. She prayed and prayed. She went to the funerals of the other soldiers, sat and grieved with the other wives. One day there were two funerals. Eventually all the missing men except Shughart had been accounted for. All were dead, their bodies horribly mutilated. Stephanie asked her father to stay with her. Her friends took turns keeping her company. This went on for days. It was hell. When she saw a car pull into her driveway with a priest inside, she knew. "They're here, Dad,'' she said. "Randy's body has been returned and identified.'' "Are you sure?'' he asked. She was sure. The military discouraged her from viewing Randy's body - and, being a nurse, Stephanie knew why. She sent a friend toDover,Del. , where the body had been flown. When he came back, she asked: "Could you tell it was him?'' He shook his head no. "His body was intact,'' he told her. Randy and Stephanie had had the "death talk.'' That's what the boys called it. Randy told her he wanted to be buried at home inNewville,Pa. At the burial there was such a crush of photographers and reporters that she couldn't spend a few quiet moments alone at the grave to say good-bye. Two of her friends from Commando had to escort her out of the ceremony to keep the press away. Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon would be awarded the Medal of Honor.

MIKE DURANT'S FEAR of being executed or tortured eased after several days in captivity. After being at the center of that enraged mob on the day he crashed, he mostly feared being discovered by the Somalian public. It was a fear shared by Firimbi. The "propaganda minister'' had clearly grown fond of him. It was something Durant worked at, part of his survival training. The two men were together day and night for a week. Firimbi spoke Italian and Durant spoke some Spanish, languages similar enough for them to minimally communicate. Firimbi considered Durant a prisoner of war. He believed that by treating the pilot humanely, he would improve the image of Somalis inAmerica upon his release. The pilot humored his jailer, asking him questions, indulging his whims. For instance, Firimbi loved his khat - the plant Somalis chewed as a stimulant. One day he handed cash to a guard and sent him to purchase more. When the man returned he began dividing the khat into three equal portions, one for himself, Firimbi and another guard. "No,'' Firimbi said. "Four.'' The guard looked at him quizzically. Firimbi gestured toward Durant. Durant quickly figured out what his jailer was up to. He nodded at the guard, indicating he wanted a cut of khat, too. When the guard left, Firimbi scooped up the two piles for himself, winking at Durant and flashing an enormous grin.

redressed his wounds. http://www. "I want a plane ticket to theUnited States . That radio became his lifeline. cryptically. He made Durant promise that when he was released he would tell how well-treated he had been. He wrote that he was doing OK. Durant got visitors.com/abclit. At first he was fed stale MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). a Norwegian who worked for the International Red Cross. It was powerfully reassuring to hear those English voices coming from his own world. "Your friends are looking for you. When Durant couldn't sleep because of his pain. In the letter Durant described his injuries. Firimbi complained: "But we treat you so nicely!'' A doctor had set Durant's broken leg in a cast. At the bottom of this note he wrote. They told him he didn't have to say anything. broadcasting. Suddenly the room was cleaned and the bedsheets were changed. either. Firimbi couldn't sleep. He wrote that he was craving a pizza. Firimbi helped keep the bedridden pilot clean. Huband found the pilot lying flat on his back. two reporters were ushered in: Briton Mark Huband of the Guardian and Stephen Smith from the French newspaper Liberation. He still didn't know the fate of his crew or Commando soldiers Shughart and Gordon. All she had brought with her were forms with which he could write a letter. "NSDQ. scratched out the initials. He could hear the BBC World Service. His first visitor was Suzanne Hofstadter.'' Later. obviously injured and in pain. Huband felt . Mike Durant. After five miserable days in captivity. Firimbi cleaned him up. Perfume was sprayed around the room. Durant developed a bad case of diarrhea. Durant took her hand and held on tight. Durant was still choked up from the session with Hofstadter. When the helicopters flew over at night. and gave him a clean shirt and a ma-awis. After Hofstadter left. the wraparound skirt worn by Somalian men. He had held her hand until the last moment. to lessen their worry for him. and his jailer said yes. Durant said he would. unwilling to see her leave. Then the woman who owned the house slaughtered a goat and offered him a meal of meat and spaghetti. who had roped down to save him. He was trying to convey in a lighthearted way that he was OK. Durant's hopes soared. Huband and Smith had brought a recorder. "Sure. and he was given a small black plastic radio with a volume so low he had to hold it up to his ear.html Firimbi identified so strongly with the pilot that when Durant refused food.processtext. and reports about his captivity. and asked them to pray for the others. Then he asked Firimbi if he could write another letter to his buddies at the hangar.'' Firimbi asked for a translation.'' "Do you want a radio?'' Firimbi asked him.'' Durant said. bare-chested. which was uncomfortable and embarrassing. and told them not to touch the bottle of Jack Daniels in his rucksack. concerned about violating their strict neutrality by passing along what might be a coded message. Red Cross officials. After Durant told him what the words meant. Durant didn't have much time to think. told his family he was doing OK. "What do you want?'' he kept asking Durant.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. he refused food.

He really did believe things had gone wrong. At the end Lorrie said loudly and firmly: "Like you always say. the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The Somalis were adamant. were being held in a makeshift prison camp on an island off the coast. She had made a statement to the press. including the two most important men taken on Oct. We did try to help.'' This was actually not something Durant said often.S. Aidid was still in hiding. I don't think anyone who doesn't live here can understand what is going wrong here. "I have no plan for this.'' He grew depressed. Durant said something he would later regret: "Too many innocent people are getting killed. Then Huband asked why the battle had happened. shape or form. 3. He met instead with the warlord's clan. . It referred to the cryptic initials Durant had penned at the bottom of his note . His message of defiance had gotten through. "So what we'll decide is we have to rescue him. . Who was he to pronounce a verdict on the American mission? He should have just said. http://www. Then he told them that President Clinton wanted Durant released immediately. Things have gone wrong. He told the Habr Gidr leaders that theU. without conditions. and that Task Force Ranger's original mission had ended. Mike. "I'll even talk to the President about it. but we will decide that we have to rescue him.com/abclit. but I can't promise anything. He finally agreed to discuss only the things that had happened to him since the crash. The Somalis were skeptical. He described the crash and his capture. WHEN ROBERT OAKLEY arrived inMogadishu on Oct.'' Oakley was careful to say.still visible despite the Red Cross scratches. It was the motto of his unit. "I'll do my best to see that these people are released.'' Oakley said. Durant rallied a day later when he heard his wife Lorrie's voice on the BBC. The top men. People are angry because they see civilians getting killed. That was the Somalian way. ``This is not a threat.processtext. and why so many people had died.'' Oakley said. and whether we have the right place or the wrong place. . Omar Salad and Mohammed Hassan Awale. ``I'm a soldier and I do what I'm told.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. Durant is not released? Not only will you lose any credit you may get now. He wanted his family and his unit to know as much as possible about what had happened. He offered it as friendly advice. but what will happen if a few weeks go by and Mr. and tried to reassure him. 8. Task Force Ranger had rounded up 60 or 70 men from their leadership.html great pity for Durant. but only after you've released Durant. I guarantee you we are not going to pay or trade for him in any way. which was carried on CNN as well. . and I'll do everything I can to prevent it. Any release of Durant would have to involve a trade.'' but then he laid out a chilling scenario. "You'll see for yourself over time that it's true.'' It was that "Things have gone wrong'' line that haunted him after the reporters left. but he felt he had stepped over a line by saying it. military operation against Aidid was over. Night Stalkers Don't Quit. Durant weighed talking to them. Americans mean well.

One of them. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin L. Mohamed Farrah Aidid. 3 as Ma-alinti Rangers. All of the men from Task Force Ranger and everyone else now based at the hangar turned out to salute him. Powell. who offered to hand the pilot right over. side goes.'' They regard it as a national victory. No one expected a large number of soldiers to get killed. All for the capture of Omar Salad and Mohammed Hassan Awale. a coincidence the general is said to note with a wink. an IV in his arm. Nobody did anything wrong militarily inMogadishu . THERE WAS A PARADE of sorts on the day Durant was released. all restraint on theU. dogs. in hiding. If a victory for either side. . http://www. added a final entry to the diary he kept during the mission. tanks.html there's going to be a fight with your people. but that's what will happen. men.com/abclit. Just look at the stuff coming in here now. cats. It was a day of joy and enormous relief. but also a day of sadness. all this pent-up anger is going to be released. Pfc. goats. it was certainly a Pyrrhic one. More than 500 Somalis dead and at least a thousand injured. . gunships . and he flew back toWashington . children. . Once the fighting starts. Eighteen Americans dead and 73 wounded. everything. who had approved sending Task Force Ranger toMogadishu . . Is 18 a large number? People didn't start noticing inVietnam until it was 500 a week. Oakley asked them to delay for a few hours to give him time to leave the country. said in an interview this year: "Bad things happen in war. many inMogadishu honor Oct. the day he was released. That would really be tragic for all of us. Most of the wounded men who fought with Durant had already been flown home by Oct. He was carried on a litter through hundreds of men in desert fatigues. The minute the guns start again. Clay Othic. This whole part of the city will be destroyed. code-named ``Yogi the Bear'' by the Americans. President Clinton would accept Oakley's plea on behalf of the Somalian leaders and order the release several weeks later of every Somali captured by Task Force Ranger. was killed in factional fighting in 1996. He wrote: "Sometimes you get the bear.'' To this day. They had a bad afternoon. 14. Sometimes the bear gets you!'' . He told them to turn Durant over to Howe. He died on the same day Garrison retired from the Army. two men who were as little known after the fight as they had been before it. He couldn't write with his right hand. camels. a turret gunner who had been shot in the right arm. the works. It had been the biggest firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War.S. clutching his unit's red beret. donkeys. Durant was the only member of his four-man crew and two Commando defenders to return.'' The Somalis delivered his message and "friendly advice'' to Aidid. Every man who fought was back home within a month. . women. but the price paid that day effectively endedAmerica 's mission toSomalia . American soldiers had fought valiantly and well. so he scratched out the words with his left hand. or "The Day of the Rangers.processtext. An aircraft carrier.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter.

com/abclit. For more information about ReaderWorks. Inc. please visit us on the Web at . produced by OverDrive.processtext.html Table of Contents CHAPTER 1: HAIL MARY. BLOOD-SPATTERED AND FRANTIC Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29 About this Title This eBook was created using ReaderWorks®Standard 2.0.Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter. http://www. THEN DOOM STAFF SGT CHAPTER 2: DAZED.

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