On October 3, 1993, US special operations forces launched a mission in Mogadishu. It was part of Operation Gothic Serpent, which was aimed at capturing Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The mission was intended to be of a short duration. But things changed when, shortly after members of Task Force Ranger launched from their base, fighters on the ground began firing on US aircraft. The battle that ensued—which would later become the subject of journalist Mark Bowden’s book, Black Hawk Down, and subsequently a film of the same name—lasted well into the next day.
In this episode of the Modern War Institute Podcast, three participants that battle—retired Colonel Larry Perino, retired Colonel Lee VanArsdale, and retired Master Sergeant Kyle Lamb—recall what it was like to be a part of the events that unfolded thirty years ago this week years ago in the Somali capital. They describe how they adapted when a short mission turned into an intense fight, and discuss the specific leadership principles that were critical that day and remain so on the modern battlefield.
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