Upgraded Medals Recognize the Courage of Delta Force and Army Rangers During Battle of Mogadishu

Somalia had been a horrifying humanitarian disaster for almost two years by the time of the Battle for Mogadishu took place. The overthrow of a dictator and the subsequent chaos and struggles for power between rival rebel and tribal forces had turned the entire country into a Dante-esque nightmare for the Somali people. Starvation and death from marauding bands of rebels was a constant reality.   

The UN had launched aid programs, but the rebels were interdicting the supplies for themselves and selling them to buy more weapons, denying that aid to the people of Somalia. The U.S. military was sent in to help guard aid convoys, but it soon became clear that more troops would be needed. Efforts were also undertaken to capture and arrest the most powerful of the rebel leaders, one Mohamed Farrah Aidid, and his lieutenants. 

U.S. Marines search for a weapons cache in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu.
U.S. Marines search for a weapons cache in the Somali capital city of Mogadishu.

On October 3rd, 1993 a combined force of elite Delta Force and Army Rangers were assigned the mission to accomplish this effort. What happened that day became the fiercest urban battle since Hue City in Vietnam. The battle zone this time was the streets of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. The fighting was intense and desperate. Nineteen Americans would lose their lives that day and over 200 Somali fighters would pay the price as well as hundreds of civilians. 

A map of the conflict zone.
A map of the conflict zone.

The movie “Blackhawk Down” gave a powerful portrayal of the unbelievably dangerous and difficult situation surrounding the downing of a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter and the attempts to rescue American troops from that helicopter. The Somali rebels were first to the site. A news video captured the image of an American pilot’s body being dragged through the streets during the height of the battle. 

The Battle of Mogadishu started in the Baraka Market.
The Battle of Mogadishu started in the Baraka Market.

The Americans put up one hell of a fight over an intense, up close and personal 17 hours of day and nighttime clashes with the heavily armed rebels. Two Medals of Honor were eventually awarded, along with dozens of lesser awards for valor to those who fought in that battle.

The Battle of Mogadishu left cultural wounds that Somalians are now seeing heal with the end of a civil war.
The Battle of Mogadishu left cultural wounds that Somalians are now seeing heal with the end of a civil war.

Recently, almost 30 years after the Battle of Mogadishu, the U.S Military is upgrading those lesser medals to Silver Stars, the nation’s third highest medal for valor in combat, and two medals will be upgraded to Distinguished Flying Crosses for the pilots involved in the battle that day.

Members of Task Force Ranger under fire in Somalia.
Members of Task Force Ranger under fire in Somalia.

We are glad to see that the valor of those who fought that day, who were there to try to protect the Somali people from the deprivations and violence of the warring factions, are having their courage and dedication more accurately recognized by the military.

The Delta Force troops lived up to their motto that day, “De Oppresso Liber” (To Free the Oppressed). The Veterans Site wishes to express our thanks and our respect to those whose awards for valor that day are being upgraded.  We remember the 19 who fell that day and their Gold Star families as well.  

Learn more in the video below.

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