Twenty-six years ago, U.S. Forces from Task Force Ranger set out to capture the Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed in the Somali city of Mogadishu.
That day would be remembered years later for the downing of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the intense urban struggle that followed, coined “Battle of Mogadishu,” which inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
In commemoration of the 26th anniversary of the battle, the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) shared in a Facebook post video from the downing of the U.S. helicopters.
Initially, U.S. participation in Somalia began as an attempt to support U.N. peacekeeping efforts in the Restore Hope Project. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the U.N. support to Somalis suffering from famine started in 1992.
The U.S. forces were ready to intervene when Aideed started attacking the U.N. peacekeepers. The plan was to arrest two of Aideed’s lieutenants and gather leaders from the Somali Habar Gidir clan, according to the Smithsonian. Rangers decided to helicopter in and deploy from quick-ropes to surround a three-story building in Mogadishu where militant clan leaders would be gathered.
A ground convoy was ready to take the Rangers and their prisoners back. The plan called for the use of 19 aircraft, 12 tanks, and about 160 troops in total; but what was supposed to be a simple “snatch-and-grab” operation became an 18-hour firefight through Mogadishu’s urban center.
Somali crowds gathered in the spectacle in the opening minutes of the operation but soon became aggressive.
Two of the Black Hawk helicopters were brought down by the ground fire and U.S. forces jumped to action to rescue those helicopter crews.
Eventually, Michael Durant, one of the pilots, was captured by fighters from Somalia and held in prison for 11 days.