The Battle of Mogadishu-Fort Novosel remembers 30 years later

By Brittany Trumbull, Fort Novosel Public AffairsOctober 10, 2023

CW4(R) Michael Durant leads PT with USAACE and Fort Novosel Soldiers during PT with the Fallen, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – CW4(R) Michael Durant leads PT with USAACE and Fort Novosel Soldiers during PT with the Fallen, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Fort Novosel Noncommissioned Officers Academy team 'Juggernauts', winners of the Iron Squad Challenge, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 5, 2023.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Fort Novosel Noncommissioned Officers Academy team 'Juggernauts', winners of the Iron Squad Challenge, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 5, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL
Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, commanding general of the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Novosel, awards medals to the winners of the Iron Squad Challenge, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, commanding general of the United States Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Novosel, awards medals to the winners of the Iron Squad Challenge, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL
An Iron Squad carries a litter during the Iron Squad Challenge at Fort Novosel,  an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 5, 2023.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – An Iron Squad carries a litter during the Iron Squad Challenge at Fort Novosel, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 5, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL
CW4(R) Michael Durant completes PT with the Fallen with a large group of USAACE and Fort Novosel Soldiers, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – CW4(R) Michael Durant completes PT with the Fallen with a large group of USAACE and Fort Novosel Soldiers, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL
CW4(R) Michael Durant speaks during the Remembrance ceremony of the Battle of Mogadishu,  an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – CW4(R) Michael Durant speaks during the Remembrance ceremony of the Battle of Mogadishu, an event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu on October 6, 2023. (Photo Credit: Brittany Trumbull) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT NOVOSEL, Ala. -Fort Novosel held a week of remembrance to honor the fallen of the Battle of Mogadishu and their efforts in Somalia in 1993.

Included in the events were the Iron Squad Challenge hosted by the Noncommissioned Officer Academy on Oct. 5, PT with the Fallen and a Remembrance Ceremony on Oct. 6, and concluded with the Mogadishu Mile 5k hosted by Fort Novosel Family and MWR. CW4(R) Michael Durant was the special guest for the events on Oct. 6. On October 3, 1993, while piloting a MH-60 Blackhawk in Mogadishu, Somalia, he was shot down and held captive by hostile forces for 11 days.

Thursday’s Iron Squad Challenge was filled with several challenging events, including a 1.5-mile litter carry, 160 T Pushups, 375 rowers, 15 rounds of a 25-meter 90 lb. sled drag, 30 leg tucks, 30 pull-ups, traverse bars, NCOA Obstacle course, 19 burpees and a victory lap around the academy. Six teams of five competed early Thursday morning but taking home the win with a time of 46 minutes and 35 seconds was the ‘Juggernauts’ NCOA team for the third year in a row.

PT with the Fallen took place Friday morning along the two-mile air assault track on Fort Novosel. Stations were set up along the route, each one with a unique exercise in honor of fallen heroes. A highlight to many taking on this challenging physical feat was having Durant, a decorated army aviator, lead the way. What began as a handful of service members in PTs moving between stations in the early morning hours, ended with a sea of black and gold working hard toward one common goal, remembrance.

Later that afternoon, the Army Aviation Museum held a ceremony in honor of the 30th anniversary. After awarding the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medals for the Iron Squad challenge, Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Novosel commanding general, made the opening remarks.

“It is fitting that we are here in our shrine of those that have gone before us with the machines that carried them there.” McCurry said. “Today we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the battle of Mogadishu and remember the soldiers that gave the last full measure by making the ultimate sacrifice.”

Durant followed, giving his inspirational remarks. “When I walked on to this facility forty years ago, which is scary enough, I never thought I’d be called upon to share remarks or my thoughts in front of audiences. What I aspired to do was make it through flight school and be a W1. And here we are decades later and what was in store for me was a little more significant than that.”

Durant explained how he took the values and community aspects that were so crucial to Army Aviation and applied them to business and creating culture within the workplace, telling the story of how culture played a part in what took place on October 3, 1993.

“That is absolute commitment to each other. The actions of the ground force, the action of the aviators. Dan Jollota who is a very, good friend of mine. One of the things that still chokes me up is that the next day after spending 18 hours trying to find us, was told to land. He walked away with tears streaming down his face. If you’ve seen the movie, he is the voice calling out - Mike we won’t leave without you.” Durant continued, “I guess that was the final underscore to me about how committed everyone was to make sure that all of my crew, Randy and Gary and myself, would be returned home. You know, you know it, but to hear Dan call out that he will not leave without you is pretty moving and still affects me today.”

Durant thanked the audience for their remembrance events throughout the week at Fort Novosel. “I would like to say thank you for keeping this legacy alive. There were lessons there on a personal level, a tactical level, operational level, strategic level that pay tremendous dividends already and if we maintain the focus on them and continue to build on what we already know, we will be successful with our new aircraft and new tactics with a new threat.”

Durant ended by saying, “The real key is to capture the lessons and actually make the change. Do something different.“

The audience stood reverently during a reading of the names and bell ring for each of the fallen of the battle, a three-volley salute, and the playing of Taps.

Fort Novosel will never forget.