October 04, 1993 as we gathered in our team rooms for morning PT, a man from our headquarters element came from room to room instructing everyone to move upstairs to our Squadron Classroom. The TV screen to the front of the room came on and a news reel played showing the wounded Michael Durant from the downed Black Hawk Super 61 as he made benign statements about the US Task Force Ranger involvement in Mogadishu.

Views of skinny black children were seen bouncing up and down where they stood on the blades of Durant’s ruined aircraft. The scene shifted to Somali militia dragging the noosed bodies of Durant’s flight crew nude through the streets. At the end of the news reel the TV was switched off as all gaze shifted to Major John Quincy Adams, our squadron commander seated to the front of the classroom, clutching a single sheet of paper.

John Adams read aloud a list of the men killed in action during the pitched Battle of the Black Sea, in capital city Mogadishu, Somalia the previous night. He announced the names of Gary Gordon and Randy Shugart, the two men missing from the C Squadron three troop (snipers). He finally read a staggering list of the many wounded and their essential condition. In the list were names of brothers from my own Selection and Assessment class.

John Adams concluded by saying: “Report time back to squadron is 2200hrs; we deploy to Mogadishu Somalia by way of Cairo Egypt tonight… dismissed.” The squadron silently stood and filed out of the classroom with a smattering of mumbles and and short whispers. I entered the team room, stunned, follow by Sam.

“Well the shit definitely is on… what are we going to do, Sam?”

“Well, today is swim day. Let’s go swim some laps.” Sam encouraged.

The laps were much longer than usual, they just really dragged on. For the remainder of the day at the Unit we packed and prepped as we had done hundreds of time, with no noticeable change in demeanor.

At 2200hrs that eve we assembled, shaved our heads as if for a D-Day drop into St. Mere Elise, and loaded out. We boarded a C-5A Galaxy and roared off for north Africa. We landed at the Mogadishu airport and exited the aircraft only to be hearded directly to an in-progress memorial ceremony that Task Force Ranger was holding for the dead. General William Garrison spoke magnificently. Delta CSM Mel Wick followed with an equally powerful set of reverent and poignant statements.