Four Black Hawks and 120 men set out on a mission (the link is the Pentagon’s video of the actual raid) they THOUGHT would take less than an hour. Delta Force commandos would capture Aidid’s lieutenants; Rangers would secure the perimeter; hovering Black Hawks would provide cover; and the captured Somalis would be taken back to base in a Humvee convoy.
Looking at the target area from the south, it is hard to even see the cross streets. They are narrow and especially confusing if they’re barricaded. On this day, many were barricaded.
America’s elite forces had participated in six prior operations since their arrival in Mog. Three had been at night; three had been in daylight. This mission, on October 3, was in daylight.
According to Mike Goodale, (pictured on the left), the men went in thinking they were invincible. That’s what soldiers are supposed to think. But this mission wasn’t exactly humanitarian. It was more like nation-building since U.S. troops were being sent in to capture Aidid’s top men. This time the Somalis, using antiquated guns and rocket-propelled grenades, would resist the U.S. soldiers.
Goodale was flying to the target scene aboard a Black Hawk dubbed "Super 64," piloted by Mike Durant. So were Jamie Smith and Raymond Frank. Goodale made it out alive. Smith and Frank didn't.
Everyone needed to descend 60-70 feet, on a rope, from the chopper to the street below. Somali crowds were already gathering in the vicinity. As he made his way down the rope, Ranger Shawn Nelson hoped the crowds wouldn’t shoot at him until he was on the street. For some reason, Todd Blackburn missed the rope altogether and fell the entire distance. He landed on his back, injured but alive.
Cliff Wolcott, at the controls of his “Super 61,” was an experienced Black Hawk pilot. But this was his last mission. A Somali, armed with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade), fired at the chopper and hit it in a vulnerable place. As we can hear, everyone was shocked when “61" went down:
We got a Black Hawk going down!!