Book review: blackhawk down

October 3, 1993 was a stunning day for the US Special Ops community and the country. While many of the details of that firefight in Mogadishu did not come to light for years, there is no denying the impact it had on the Rangers and Delta Force soldiers, but for the entire army. I remember hearing an impassioned plea from one of our Staff Sergeants begging to deploy. His words continue to echo long after: Damn it, sir. We don’t even need to get off the boat. Just anchor my cannon to the deck and let me start firing.

I felt his frustrations. My unit was originally ordered to deploy with the 10th Mountain Division but the XVIII Airborne Corps commanding officer decided sending 155mm howitzers into Somalia was a bad idea. So we sat, and we waited. Then disaster struck. A pair of Blackhawks shot down, 18 Rangers and Delta Boys killed, close to 100 wounded. It sounds horrific, but considering the over 1000 dead and wounded Somali’s it was just a matter of who died most.

Blackhawk down in a unique perspective since the military never consolidated reports and the author has no experience with the military. He lays out the facts as told through the men on the ground. There is no shame in discussing what went wrong, the courage of the wounded, and even the plight of many Somali’s during that day. For anyone who thinks there is glory or glamor in war, you are wrong. This is gut wrenching, visceral, and sobering. But it is definitely worth the read.

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