FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Oct. 13, 2016) -- Soldiers assigned to 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment "Golden Dragons," alongside veterans and their Family Members, commemorated the 23nd anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, with a two-mile run and wreath-laying ceremony Thursday on Fort Drum.

"Golden Dragons, you look awesome this morning, and it's great to see you dressed for combat and in your element," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Gwinn, 2-14 Infantry commander. "I'd also like to thank the guests, Family and friends of the Golden Dragons who showed up this morning, and most importantly, our Mogadishu veterans."

Also in attendance were Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, representing their 3rd Platoon, C Company, who supported Task Force Mountain during the rescue mission.

"As we depart on the run this morning in the cool air of the North Country, I think of those who have gone before us in a hot and distant land and freely gave of themselves to save the lives of their fellow Soldiers," Gwinn said.

Closing the geographical distance to rejoin his former unit was Louis Cruz, who traveled with his son from New Jersey.

"I'm excited for this reunion with old friends," Cruz said. "To see the unit and just recognizing it (the Battle of Mogadishu) -- (it's about) keeping a tradition and reminding these Soldiers why their training is so tough. It's for a moment like that."

Cruz explained that over the years, many have made the trip to remember their fallen, but more often it's the few who represent the whole.

"It's important to me, because it pays tribute to the guys who can't make it," Cruz said. "I'm so proud of the military, this unit and what we accomplished that night to save other people."

The deployment to Mogadishu, Somalia, was in support of Operation Restore Hope, a U.S.-led, U.N.-sanctioned multinational force mission designed to establish a safe environment for conducting humanitarian operations.

Unified under the name Task Force Mountain, the unit was composed of Soldiers assigned to the 1st and 2nd Brigades, 10th Mountain Division (LI), who assumed the responsibly of securing supply routes used to deliver food and water to the local population.

Mid-deployment, Operation Gothic Serpent was given the green light, where elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and members of SEAL Team 4 conducted a mission to capture high-ranking Somali militant leaders responsible for regional civil unrest.

Rangers were met with heavy resistance as they attempted an air insertion into the city by UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters that subsequently resulted in the loss of two aircraft. This was the beginning of a two-day battle that left 18 U.S. Soldiers killed in action and another 73 wounded in action.

The Battle of Mogadishu occurred Oct. 3-4, 1993. Soldiers of 2-14 Infantry were part of the task force that went into the heart of Mogadishu to rescue the pilots of the two Black Hawk helicopters who were shot down by Somali militia.

At the end of the battle, while evacuating the city, the Soldiers realized there was not enough room in the vehicles for everyone. Several Soldiers had to run on foot to the link-up point approximately one mile away. This dash to safety became known as the Mogadishu Mile.