Limited Edition AA35908A
Aviation Archive Special Features: Sliding Door
In August 1993 the Joint Special Operations Command of the United States launched Operation Gothic Serpent. This was an initiative designed to remove warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid from power in Mogadishu. A raid to arrest two of his senior advisors was launched on the 3rd October. However, the raid was to go down in history as a failure. Not only did Aidid escape but the American troops became surrounded in the city, casualties were taken and two MH-60L Blackhawks were lost.
The mission was led by elements of the American Rangers and Delta Force, with some travelling into the city via armoured vehicles, while others were dropped from helicopters. The first MH60 to be lost was Super Six One, which was hit by a Rocket Propelled Grenade, and resulted in it crashing killing both pilots and left the crew severely wounded. The scene needed to be secured by two surviving Delta Force snipers.
While the rescue was being organized, a second MH60 was hit by an RPG. Super Six Four crashed shortly after 4pm with the pilot Michael Durant being injured but conscious, the rest of his crew were also severely injured. Two Delta Force snipers were then inserted to provide cover, holding off the baying Somali mob for over twenty minutes before being killed. For their actions, MSG Gordon and SFC Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first to be awarded since the Vietnam War. Durant was then badly beaten by the mob before being captured by Aidid’s militia.
By 6:30am the next morning the battle was over, UN forces with American assistance had rescued all of the besieged US troops, with only Durant remaining in captivity. He was released 11 days later. The action was a painful lesson for the United States, suffering a total of 18 men killed.
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