EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — With the sun rising over the trees to the east of Camp Rudder, 6th Ranger Training Battalion Soldiers bowed their heads to remember Operation Gothic Serpent here Oct. 1.
It was part of a four-mile memorial run event called the Mogadishu Mile to honor the efforts and remember the fallen from the operation that took place Oct. 3-4 1993. The events surrounding that mission became the basis for the book and film “Black Hawk Down.”
The Mogadishu Mile refers to a route that was taken by Rangers and Delta Force Soldiers from a helicopter crash site to an appointed rally point during the Battle of Mogadishu on October 4, 1993. By the end, 18 American servicemembers died and 73 were wounded.
Prior to the run, Soldiers stood in rows and listened to Lt. Col. James Pritchett, 6th RTB commander, recount what happened during the mission. During the moment of silence, a Soldier would call out the name of a servicemember lost during the operation.
“I want you to think about what those guys went through that night,” said Pritchett. “Under an enemy barrage where the whole city was trying to kill you. You had one goal, to live and save your buddy. To me, that’s living the Ranger creed. That’s what we do and what set the tone for everything we’ve done since then. Those lessons learned were learned through blood on Oct. 3 and 4 in 1993.”
Story by Samuel King Jr.