On this day: October 3rd.

The Battle of Mogadishu — 1993

Perhaps the most infamous battle in modern special operations history, the Battle of Mogadishu struck the U.S. military and government off-balance as it still marveled at itself following the made-for-TV Persian Gulf War and the fall of the Soviet Union. As a single event, the battle probably led to more changes in army and SOF operations than any other. The battle, stretching from October 3 to October 4 1993, left 19 American service members killed in action, 73 wounded, and one a prisoner of war. Multiple awarded-winning books were written on the battle, the most famous of which, Black Hawk Down, was made into a Hollywood film, further cementing the event into legend in the American psyche.

The battle had an immediate chilling effect on American foreign policy in Africa and abroad, with American citizens furious over images showing dead Americans being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu in the aftermath. In JSOC and the wider special operations world, the Mogadishu event dominated training until the outbreak of the Global War on Terror in 2001. One critical observer of the battle, Osama bin Laden, took particular interest after noting that once they took a few casualties, “the Americans ran away.”