By Pfc. Jacob R. MahaffeyOctober 14, 2010
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, conducted a battalion run in the 2nd Brigade area Oct. 4 in commemoration of events that took place 17 years earlier in Somalia.
Equipped in full body armor with weapons, 2-14 Infantry Soldiers completed a one-mile run around the 2nd Brigade area, stopping at four stations along the way. At each station, a Soldier read a brief history of the events that happened during the battle of Mogadishu.
On Oct.4, 1993, U.S. Special Forces Soldiers and Rangers conducted a mission in support of Task Force Ranger to take wanted targets into custody in Mogadishu, Somalia. 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. Blackhawk 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.
Convoy and 2-14 QRF Soldiers decided to return to base, having sustained several casualties and running low on ammunition and medical supplies, while other U.S. forces remained in enemy territory.
After several more hours of firefights, the remaining U.S. forces opted to move 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. This is what is now known as the Mogadishu Mile.
"As we run down the road in our combat gear, as you feel yourself get tired, as your legs get weak, arms get weak, your back gets a little sore, ask yourself, 'are you ready, are you ready to do what our predecessors did on that day''" said Lt. Col. Sean Bernabe, 2-14 Infantry commander.
Spc. Tyrel Miller, a Soldier from 2-14 Infantry, completed his second Mogadishu Mile event. When Miller first joined 2-14, he was not aware of the unit history. He said the event was very motivational and showed lots of teamwork within the unit.
"I was glad I got to run for a cause like that; it was very inspiring and motivating," Miller said.
Task Force Ranger suffered 78 casualties. The 2-14 Infantry had 29 Soldiers wounded and one killed. Estimates of Somali forces lost were 300 killed and more than 700 wounded.
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.
"You never know what mission is coming, but what I do know (is we need to) work hard every day and make ourselves combat fit," Bernabe said. "Then I know, we, we the Golden Dragons of now, will be ready."