This is story about two Delta Force members and their act of valor, for which they received Medal of Honor. Gary I. Gordon and David Shughart were members of 1SFOD-D or just short “Delta Force”, elite unit of US Army. In Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993, they gave their lives to protect four critically wounded downed helicopter crew members despite the fact that large numbers of armed, hostile Somalis were converging on the area. Mission commanders denied Gordon’s request, saying that the situation was already too dangerous for the three Delta snipers to effectively protect the Blackhawk crew from the ground. . .
Master Sergeant Gary Ivan Gordon
Master Sergeant Gary Ivan Gordon is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. At the time of his death, he was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army’s premiere special operations unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or “Delta Force”. Together with Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions he performed during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993
Gary Gordon was born August 30, 1960 in Lincoln, Maine and graduated from Mattanawcook Academy in 1978. He joined the U.S. Army that same year at age 18 and after serving with the 2nd Battalion of the 10th Special Forces Group he was chosen to join the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or “Delta Force”, as a sniper. Before deploying with his unit to Somalia he married his wife Carmen and together they had two children.
Sergeant First Class Randall David Shughart
Randall David Shughart was a soldier in the United States Army special operations unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or “Delta Force.” Shughart posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.
Shughart was born on August 13, 1958 in Lincoln, Nebraska into an Air Force family. After his father, Herbert Shughart, left the Air Force, the Shugharts moved to Newville, Pennsylvania to live and work on a dairy farm. Shughart joined the Army while attending Big Spring High School in Newville, entering upon graduation in 1976. After completing basic training, he successfully completed AIT (advanced individual training), Airborne School, and in 1978 was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment), at Fort Lewis, Washington. Several months later he completed a pre-ranger course (currently known as SURT, Small Unit Ranger Tactics), was granted a slot to attend Ranger School, graduated, and earned the Ranger Tab. Shughart left active duty and went into the Army Reserve in June 1980. In December 1983, Shughart returned to active duty and the following year attended Special Forces training. Shughart was assigned to “Delta Force” and was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in June 1986.
Combat and death in Somalia
On October 3, 1993 Gordon was Sniper Team Leader during Operation Gothic Serpent, a joint-force assault mission to apprehend key advisers to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. During the assault, Super Six One, one of the Army’s Black Hawk helicopters providing insertion and air support to the assault team, was shot down and crashed in the city. A Combat Search and Rescue team was dispatched to the first crash site to secure it and a short time later Super Six Four was shot down as well. Ranger forces on the ground were not able to assist the downed helicopter crew of the second crash site as they were already engaged in heavy combat with Aidid’s militia and making their way to the first crash site Gordon and his Delta Force sniper teammates Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart and Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings, who were providing sniper cover from the air, wanted to be dropped at the second crash site in order to protect the four critically wounded crew, despite the fact that large numbers of armed, hostile Somalis were converging on the area. Mission commanders denied Gordon’s request, saying that the situation was already too dangerous for the three Delta snipers to effectively protect the Blackhawk crew from the ground. Command’s position was that the snipers could be of more assistance by continuing to provide air cover. Gordon, however, concluded that there was no way the Black Hawk crew could survive on their own, and repeated his request twice until he finally received permission. Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings had assumed control of a minigun after a crew chief was injured and was not inserted with Shughart and Gordon.
Once on the ground, Gordon and Shughart, armed with only their personal weapons and sidearms, fought their way to the downed Blackhawk. By this time more Somalis were arriving who were intent on either capturing or killing the American servicemen. When they reached Super Six Four, Gordon and Shughart extracted the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant and the other crew members from the aircraft, and established defensive positions around the crash site. Despite having inflicted heavy casualties against the Somalis, the two Delta snipers were too outnumbered and outgunned. Their ammunition nearly depleted, Gordon and Shughart were killed by Somali gunfire. It is believed that Gordon was first to be killed. His teammate Shughart retrieved Gordon’s CAR-15 and gave it to Durant to use. Shortly after, Shughart was killed and Durant was taken alive. Immediately after the battle, the Somalis counted 25 of their own men dead with many more severely wounded.
They were the only soldiers participating in Operation Gothic Serpent to receive the military’s highest honor, and the first Medal of Honor recipients since the Vietnam War. Here is a song written about this mission Please enjoy . . . https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY-Rzeo3DxQ Warning – It is graphic