FORT BRAGG, NC – “Black Hawk Down,” for many Americans, brings to mind the intense 17-hour battle that took place October 1993, in the dusty streets of Mogadishu between U.S. Special Operations Forces and Somali militiamen, loyal to Mohamed Farrah Aidid, a rogue paramilitary clan leader of the United Somalia Congress.
What few Americans realize is the massive humanitarian aid effort U.S. service members were engaged in within the war-torn and starving nation prior to that fateful event.
U.S. Army Special Operations Forces were intricately involved in providing humanitarian aid and security assistance immediately following the ousting of the Somali government.
In the late 1980s civil war was raging between the legitimate Somali government and multiple political paramilitary organizations throughout the nation. The government was ultimately overthrown in January 1991. Opposition groups subsequently began competing for influence in the power vacuum that followed.