Our sister squadron was deployed and fully engaged in Mogadishu, Somalia. My own squadron was in full-bore planning to replace or reinforce should the need arise. Armed with accurate and up-to-date intelligence from the in-country squadron, we developed courses of action to better deploy against and neutralize the Muhammad Farrah Aidid regime.

We committed three weeks to planning and executing live rehearsals against very realistic opposing forces (OpFor) role players, thanks to the efforts of our unit operations cell and the dedication and enthusiasm of our support personnel. The specific contingencies gleaned from our in-country squadron were as follows:

  • The target subject (principal) is traveling on foot, with protective forces in tow.
  • Principal is holed up in a building/structure.
  • Principal is on the move in a single vehicle or convoy.

On this day at our unit compound, helicopters from the revered TF-160 Special Operations Air Regiment, the Night Stalkers, absolutely jammed our helicopter landing zone (HLZ). We wedged ourselves into our assigned MH-60 Black Hawk helos, hooked into MH-6 Little Birds, collected our situational awareness, and waited for command to launch.

We had a company of Rangers from the vaunted 75th Ranger Regiment with us. They deployed to stay with us the entire three weeks if necessary, to plan and rehearse with us. These same Rangers deployed with us to Mogadishu when the time came.