25 years ago tomorrow, the United States military fought a battle that was small in scope, but vicious in it's intensity. The worst small unit infantry boots on the ground door kicking fight we had faced since Vietnam. And would be the worst we saw until the Marines went back into Fallujah in 2004.
A mission of relief had suffered from mission creep and became another failed attempt at nation building.
The thing about it, while 18 American and one UN Trooper died, the mission was a tactical success. A nasty warlord lost several of his top lieutenants. We killed anywhere from 200 to 2,000 hostiles. Hostiles that were in a small part trained by Al-Queda.
Courage reigned supreme that day. Two Delta guys made the ultimate sacrifice to save a downed pilot. A feat of military arms that, in my belief, propelled a generation of kids to try and emulate once they donned the uniform.
Speaking of uniforms, there is a little 2.99 tab that you pick up at the PX. You wear it above most tabs and below a couple of others. In some ways it's required if you're an Infantry guy. In other ways, it's a holdover of the Army's frontier past. Rangers Lead the Way. Be it againt the Indians, going up some well defended cliffs, liberating a group of POWs, or going way deep into indian country to gather intel, they all wore the same tab. Well, for the most part. It was a diamond in WWII.
In my foot locker, under some field gear and dirty ACUs that no longer fit, there is a dirty, ragged, dog eared pamphlet. A small hand book that talks of things such as how to set up a patrol base and battle drills. But the first couple of pages are the most important. One is a simple creed to live by. And the other is almost a warning to all whom would dear follow in the steps of Rogers, Darby, Lomell, Puckett, Othic, and Tillman:
"Not for the week or faint hearted"
Tomorrow, I'll probably drink a beer (or eight) and watch "Black Hawk Down".
A group of America's best went up against some of the world's worst and did so only to help feed the hungry.
And in the process held a fucking city with a a short rifle company and light air cover for a day and half against overwhelming odds until the objective was completed and all casualties that could be recovered were.
And Clinton turned chicken not long after. Because of course he did.
And a while later, that bastard warlord was murdered in his apartment. MG Garrison retired the next day.
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