Golden Dragons remember, pay homage to fallen comrades by running Mogadishu Mile
October 13, 2011
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), recently conducted a battalion run on Fort Drum to commemorate the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Equipped in full body armor with weapons and led by Lt. Col. Sean Bernabe, 2-14 Infantry commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Ashmead, battalion senior enlisted adviser; Col. Dennis Sullivan, 2nd BCT commander; and Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, brigade command sergeant major, Soldiers completed a one-mile run around Fort Drum last week to simulate the run previous Golden Dragons had to do in Somalia while under enemy fire.
The battle of Mogadishu took place Oct 4, 1993, involving Special Forces Soldiers and Rangers in support of Task Force Ranger to take wanted targets into custody. As soon as the mission began, groups of armed Somalis began swarming the area from all over Mogadishu. U.S. forces fought through the Somalis and captured approximately 23 of their targets.
American forces went to the aid of a U.S. helicopter that was shot down by Somalis during the raid. Armed Somalis immediately began to move towards the crash site. Once the convoy was ready, it moved out to support the downed U.S. Black Hawk helicopter. While en route to the crash site, the convoy took heavy fire and sustained numerous casualties.
During the rescue mission to save the helicopter's crew, a second U.S. helicopter was shot down by Somali forces. Members of the convoy converged on the second downed helicopter. Soldiers from 2-14 Infantry were dispatched as a quick reaction force to support the U.S. forces.
The 2-14 QRF was involved in heavy enemy fire while trying to get to the second crash site. Soldiers would eventually make it to their comrades, after intense battles and numerous casualties.
Having sustained several casualties and running low on ammunition and medical supplies, convoy and 2-14 QRF Soldiers returned to base, while other U.S. forces remained in enemy territory.
After several more hours of firefights, the remaining U.S. forces moved on foot. Low on food, ammunition and water, they began their movement through the city. The Soldiers ran for approximately a mile while taking heavy gunfire before reaching the rendezvous point set up by U.S. and Pakistani forces.
The 2-14 Infantry had 29 Soldiers wounded and one killed. Estimates of Somali forces lost were 300 killed and more than 700 wounded.
This historic event is now known as the Mogadishu Mile. Soldiers from 2-14 Infantry fought in a sustained firefight for some six and a half hours, making it the longest carried out by U.S. forces since Vietnam.
Along the route on Fort Drum, the group of Soldiers stopped once to hear Golden Dragon leaders speak about the events of the Mogadishu Mile and their significance to 2-14 Infantry today. The group also stopped at division headquarters for a moment of silence in honor of the lost Soldiers who fought at Mogadishu.
The remembrance run ended with Ashmead calling forward the battalion's youngest member, Pfc. Jacob Drollinger from A Company. Ashmead and Drollinger placed a wreath on the memorial behind the battalion headquarters, saluted and paid their respects.
"I challenge you as Golden Dragons, to ask yourselves while we complete this run if you are mentally and physically ready, like the Golden Dragons had to ask themselves on that day," Bernabe said. "If you begin to feel tired or hurt, I challenge you to dig in deep in yourself and let out that warrior we all depend on."