Two decades ago, I was a young soldier stationed at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center (LARMC) in Landstuhl, Germany. It was and is the largest American hospital outside of the United States. It’s the place you’ve seen on the news where service members have been evacuated to from places such as Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning of the War on Terror.
Somalia was the hot spot in the world while this young army medic was stationed at LARMC. I worked on the orthopedic ward, so most of our patients were there for procedures on shoulders, backs, and knees; however, we would get in a soldier or two every other day from the African nation. It didn’t seem like a big deal, but that would all change on October 3, 1993.
We were watching the news at work one day when a breaking report alerted us of an all-out battle in Somalia. During an operation aimed at capturing the leaders of the Habr Gidr clan, two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket propelled grenades and three others were damaged. The follow-on operation to secure and recover the crews of both helicopters was supposed to last no more than an hour, but that was not the case. The overnight battle resulted in deaths of 18 American service members with another 80 wounded. Additionally, one of the pilots of the downed aircraft, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, was taken into captivity where he would remain for 11 days. He was the only member of his crew to survive.
Officially, this was “The Battle of Mogadishu,” but if you read the book or saw the movie, you likely know it as Black Hawk Down.
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit http://www.jodyfuller.com.