CBS obtains unique footage of the famous Black Hawk going down in Mogadishu 20 years ago

CBS has obtained an incredible footage showing the “Super 61”, one of the helicopters downed during the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, taken by one of the Special Forces operators aboard Little Bird helicopter. T

he Battle of Mogadishu was a part of the infamous Operation Gothic Serpent that aimed at capturing the Mogadishu Warlord, Mohammed Farrah Aidid.

The mission that lead to Battle of Mogadishu known also as Battle of the Black Sea aimed at capturing the leadership of the Aidid’s organization. On Sept. 21, 1993 Aidid financial leader, Osman Ali Atto was captured by Delta Force.

That battle was one of the main milestones in the field of Special Forces tactics applied in the urban warfare. Many mistakes were made and many lessons learnt.

As mentioned in the CBS material after the Somalian crisis no US soldier goes to fight without NVG (Night Vision Gogles) or water supply. The operation that was to last just a few minutes dramatically extended to over 17,5 hours.

During the first few hours of the mission Super 61 Black Hawk was shot down by the rebels. Later the second bird, Super 64 was shot down as well.

Super 64 crew, Image Credit: Jean Sasson

This time Delta Force’s Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart volunteered heroically to secure the crash site.  The Somalis killed Gordon and Shughart, taking Durant, the pilot, a hostage. Both Shughart and Gordon received posthumous Medal of Honor.

The remaining Delta operators and US Rangers fought their way to the crash site. They were eventually rescued by the US Army 10th Mountain Division with the help of the UN forces consisting of Pakistani and Malaysian soldiers.

When it comes to the video it is unclear which unit’s soldier shot it, as large part of the Somali operation is still classified.  It features the moment of shooting down of Super 61. It was shot from the surveilance Little Bird that coordinated the operation. The thing that is worth noting is the distance the chopper flew from the place it was hit.

The CBS journalists state a thesis that Mogadishu was a defining battle for 160th SOAR (Special Operations Air Force Regiment). Moreover it is claimed that it was back in 1993 when the US forces have met Al Qaeda in battle. There is another interesting claim, that it was the 1993 battle that made the US and UN go back to the isolation policy with a smaller extent of involvement in the local conflicts.

Former US Army intelligence officer David Snelson with his wife, Alisha Ryu, have lived in Mogadishu for the past three years.

They decided to recover as much of Super 61 as they could, as they learned about a construction site being planned there. Snelson told CBS:

“Above anything else, you think about the men…what they went through. We didn’t do this for anybody else but them. I’ll get [the Super 61’s remains] home.”

The recovered remains,  including the rotor blade and foot pedals, are now presented in the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, N.C.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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About Jacek Siminski 237 Articles
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of DefensePhoto.com. Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.