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The Battle of Mogadishu: First Hand Accounts From the Men of Task Force Ranger

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“No matter how skilled the writer of nonfiction, you are always getting the story secondhand. Here’s a chance to go right to the source. . . . These men were there.” –MARK BOWDEN (from the Foreword) It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great “No matter how skilled the writer of nonfiction, you are always getting the story secondhand. Here’s a chance to go right to the source. . . . These men were there.” –MARK BOWDEN (from the Foreword) It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great nation. Now the 1993 battle for Mogadishu, Somalia–the incident that was the basis of the book and film Black Hawk Down–is remembered by the men who fought and survived it. Six of the best in our military recall their brutal experiences and brave contributions in these never-before-published, firstperson accounts. “Operation Gothic Serpent,” by Matt Eversmann: As a “chalk” leader, Eversmann was part of the first group of Rangers to “fast rope” from the Black Hawk helicopters. It was his chalk that suffered the first casualty of the battle. “Sua Sponte: Of Their Own Accord,” by Raleigh Cash: Responsible for controlling and directing fire support for the platoon, Cash entered the raging battle in the ground convoy sent to rescue his besieged brothers in arms. “Through My Eyes,” by Mike Kurth: One of only two African Americans in the battle, Kurth confronted his buddies’ deaths, realizing that “the only people whom I had let get anywhere near me since I was a child were gone.” “What Was Left Behind,” by John Belman: He roped into the biggest firefight of the battle and considers some of the mistakes that were made, such as using Black Hawk helicopters to provide sniper cover. “Be Careful What You Wish For,” by Tim Wilkinson: He was one of the Air Force pararescuemen or PJs–the highly trained specialists for whom “That Others May Live” is no catchphrase but a credo–and sums up his incomprehensible courage as “just holding up my end of the deal on a bad day.” “On Friendship and Firefights,” by Dan Schilling: As a combat controller, he was one of the original planners for the deployment of SOF forces to Mogadishu in the spring of 1993. During the battle, he survived the initial assault and carnage of the vehicle convoys only to return to the city to rescue his two closest friends, becoming, literally, “Last Out.” With America’s withdrawal from Somalia an oft-cited incitement to Osama bin Laden, it is imperative to revisit this seminal military mission and learn its lessons from the men who were there and, amazingly, are still here. From the Hardcover edition.


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“No matter how skilled the writer of nonfiction, you are always getting the story secondhand. Here’s a chance to go right to the source. . . . These men were there.” –MARK BOWDEN (from the Foreword) It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great “No matter how skilled the writer of nonfiction, you are always getting the story secondhand. Here’s a chance to go right to the source. . . . These men were there.” –MARK BOWDEN (from the Foreword) It started as a mission to capture a Somali warlord. It turned into a disastrous urban firefight and death-defying rescue operation that shocked the world and rattled a great nation. Now the 1993 battle for Mogadishu, Somalia–the incident that was the basis of the book and film Black Hawk Down–is remembered by the men who fought and survived it. Six of the best in our military recall their brutal experiences and brave contributions in these never-before-published, firstperson accounts. “Operation Gothic Serpent,” by Matt Eversmann: As a “chalk” leader, Eversmann was part of the first group of Rangers to “fast rope” from the Black Hawk helicopters. It was his chalk that suffered the first casualty of the battle. “Sua Sponte: Of Their Own Accord,” by Raleigh Cash: Responsible for controlling and directing fire support for the platoon, Cash entered the raging battle in the ground convoy sent to rescue his besieged brothers in arms. “Through My Eyes,” by Mike Kurth: One of only two African Americans in the battle, Kurth confronted his buddies’ deaths, realizing that “the only people whom I had let get anywhere near me since I was a child were gone.” “What Was Left Behind,” by John Belman: He roped into the biggest firefight of the battle and considers some of the mistakes that were made, such as using Black Hawk helicopters to provide sniper cover. “Be Careful What You Wish For,” by Tim Wilkinson: He was one of the Air Force pararescuemen or PJs–the highly trained specialists for whom “That Others May Live” is no catchphrase but a credo–and sums up his incomprehensible courage as “just holding up my end of the deal on a bad day.” “On Friendship and Firefights,” by Dan Schilling: As a combat controller, he was one of the original planners for the deployment of SOF forces to Mogadishu in the spring of 1993. During the battle, he survived the initial assault and carnage of the vehicle convoys only to return to the city to rescue his two closest friends, becoming, literally, “Last Out.” With America’s withdrawal from Somalia an oft-cited incitement to Osama bin Laden, it is imperative to revisit this seminal military mission and learn its lessons from the men who were there and, amazingly, are still here. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for The Battle of Mogadishu: First Hand Accounts From the Men of Task Force Ranger

  1. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Very interesting and informative book. Did the forces really have all the information and gear they needed?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, with the 82nd Airborne Division when this battle occurred. What shocked me at the time was how little we were told about it other than what we saw on TV. There was never any “lessons learned” that came out of it that made it down to the sergeant level. So, when Blackhawk Down was published I bought it immediately and read it in a week. I had already left the Army after eight years in the infantry because I realized that the Army was floundering. I remember wish I was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, with the 82nd Airborne Division when this battle occurred. What shocked me at the time was how little we were told about it other than what we saw on TV. There was never any “lessons learned” that came out of it that made it down to the sergeant level. So, when Blackhawk Down was published I bought it immediately and read it in a week. I had already left the Army after eight years in the infantry because I realized that the Army was floundering. I remember wishing that I had this book to drive home some of the lessons I get trying to drive home with my own troops in that you hope for the best, plan for the worst. The Battle of Mogadishu is an excellent book to read after Blackhawk Down. While BHD gives the reader the big picture of the battle, BoM drives it home with the personal narratives of those involved. This was their thoughts, feelings and reactions to an event that the US military never thought could happen. It drives home the idea that a unit doesn’t fight I battle for the greater glory of some idea or a flag. When the bullets start flying it’s the man to your left and right that matters. This is that firsthand account of those men that not only volunteered for the military but took it a step further to Special Operations.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book along with Black Hawk Down should be mandatory reading for the city of Minneapolis as they seem to be okay with it turning into another Mogadishu. The Somali people are vile and disgusting cretins. You will never change my mind. The behavior of these absolute BEASTLY ANIMALS actually makes me sick. What moving accounts these brave men give of the absolute hell they were put through by that disgusting city and the animals that occupy it. Dan shilling said it best in the last chapter, le This book along with Black Hawk Down should be mandatory reading for the city of Minneapolis as they seem to be okay with it turning into another Mogadishu. The Somali people are vile and disgusting cretins. You will never change my mind. The behavior of these absolute BEASTLY ANIMALS actually makes me sick. What moving accounts these brave men give of the absolute hell they were put through by that disgusting city and the animals that occupy it. Dan shilling said it best in the last chapter, let them all kill and starve each other. Just the absolute scum of the earth.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Claire Longley

    Amazing book shows the different views of what was happening really taking into account there views and feelings so glad someone recommended this to me. A tragic event that seems to be forgotten in history hopefully the works here and by black hawk down will make us remember the sacrifices made

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Excellent companion book to Bowden's Black Hawk Down. Six combat vets of Operation Gothic Serpent recount in their own words what they saw, did, and felt. Simply put, excellent.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Foote

    This book is about the Task forces rangers in the gulf war. This tells the story first hand about the experences that those men face in the battle of Mogadishu. The mission that the book talks about the popular movie "Blackhawk Down". There are many people in this book. Like Matt Eversmann and Dan Schilling. Which are the other of this book. They served during this period of time of Battle of Mogadishu. The mood of this book is sometimes sad becauses Matt and Dan's Friends die on this mission. This book is about the Task forces rangers in the gulf war. This tells the story first hand about the experences that those men face in the battle of Mogadishu. The mission that the book talks about the popular movie "Blackhawk Down". There are many people in this book. Like Matt Eversmann and Dan Schilling. Which are the other of this book. They served during this period of time of Battle of Mogadishu. The mood of this book is sometimes sad becauses Matt and Dan's Friends die on this mission. But then its happy and joyful because they get out safe. The theme of this book is war. A person who would like this book would be a person who likes to read about past war history of the United Staes. Also for people who like action and non-fiction books. This has non stop action. It feels like you are there with them on the mission.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jemma

    This actually gives you a first hand account of the war in Somalia. I mean, i know Bowden's story did, but this was written by the soldiers who actually were there. I believe that this book is an amazing story of the war, the soldiers' personal lives and how they responded to crazy events. For instance, when Sgt. Eversmann had seen Blackburn fall from the black hawk after an RPG almost hit them, he had panicked, his first time leading a chalk and he already had a possible K.I.A. He also panicked This actually gives you a first hand account of the war in Somalia. I mean, i know Bowden's story did, but this was written by the soldiers who actually were there. I believe that this book is an amazing story of the war, the soldiers' personal lives and how they responded to crazy events. For instance, when Sgt. Eversmann had seen Blackburn fall from the black hawk after an RPG almost hit them, he had panicked, his first time leading a chalk and he already had a possible K.I.A. He also panicked when calling for help from Steele and he had told him to calm down, only then did he realise he was acting like a crazy idiot. Overall a great read. You men are a inspiration to everyone. Sincerely, A 15 year old girl, soon to be in the Marines, i hope. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Really interesting to read different perspectives on this battle. These personal narratives answered some questions left by the book "Black Hawk Down." Not as cohesive as the Mark Bowden version but filled in a lot of holes. I liked Dan Schillings account the best mainly because it explained the convoy issues and experiences very well. I think for many people it seems to be the most confusing aspect of the entire event and probably generates the most questions. For me the convoy has always been Really interesting to read different perspectives on this battle. These personal narratives answered some questions left by the book "Black Hawk Down." Not as cohesive as the Mark Bowden version but filled in a lot of holes. I liked Dan Schillings account the best mainly because it explained the convoy issues and experiences very well. I think for many people it seems to be the most confusing aspect of the entire event and probably generates the most questions. For me the convoy has always been my second biggest curiosity.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne Ward

    The men that served in The Battle of Mogadishu went to hell and back in a twenty four hour window. Their first hand accounts as stand alone pieces are poignant and hard hitting. As a compilation the book could have been stronger if it had included pieces from multiple chalks, CSAR, and Delta Force. Four Stars: Eye opening accounts of the Battle of Mogadishu. Stronger diversity among the pieces could have made this book a five star read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    This was a great read - read and was amazed by Bowden's Blackhawk Down, this was a great look into the individual experiences of a number of soldiers and airmen involved in the battle. Reading these accounts really brings to life the chaos of a pitched battle, and how tough it is to make difficult decisions under extreme pressure with no right course of action or particularly good alternatives. Am thinking about reading Blackhawk Down again after reading these accounts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    My signed copy remains on the desk as a reminder of having a "bad day". The co-author, Dan Schilling, became a friend in the years following this horrific battle. His perspectives and insights are at once intriguing and frightening. Really good book for those that might find themselves in close quarters fighting. Well done.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I found many aspects of this book interesting, especially in regards to technology and modern military strategy. However, the authors weren't very good writers and their "style", kind of wore me down.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Chung

    A very candid real account of what happened in Mogadishu. Because the movie Blackhawk Down is very stylized, there is a need for people to read what really happened and what it was like for people with first hand expetience.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Awesome!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    If you've read Black Hawk down, then you should read this book. It's personal accounts of what happened from the men who were THERE.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kafkasfriend

    Koch P; Hermann K Assault at Mogadishu Corgi 1977

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    This book was very good. It is interesting to hear about war through a real soldiers eyes. One of my faves!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ifor

    Great book, read it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julian Tan

    As a collection of stories about that particular event, it achieved its purpose. As a cohesive historical documentary, it was less than successful.

  20. 4 out of 5

    C.W. Reynolds

  21. 5 out of 5

    thevikingdude

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle L

  23. 4 out of 5

    corey nichols

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  25. 4 out of 5

    David Judd

  26. 5 out of 5

    Adam Cheeseman

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jack Jonon

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ted

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Burke

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tom Batalias

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