History can be stranger than fiction

veteran’s corner

Tom Krabbenhoft

The 28th anniversary of the” Battle of Mogadishu” has passed 3-4 October 1993. If you’ve ever watched the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, you know how the battle played out. The film is regarded as one of the most accurate war films of all time. Why? 1. Communications- our radio abilities were entering a brand new era. Being able to transmit, receive and higher HQs across the globe ability to monitor and record communications had never been better. 2. Recent review- immediate after action review of everyone there all the way to the top General Garrison. 3. All the players were still alive for fact gathering.

The movie shows how superb and well trained US Infantry units are. US casualties were 18 KIA and 73 injured. Deaths among Somalis ranged between 315-2000, depending on who you ask, and untold injured.


A couple of take-aways.

Owning the night and air will make any opponent suffer huge casualties. Les Aspin SECDEF resigned shortly after. The Army asked for armor in Somalia which he denied. Tanks and Bradley’s could’ve breached and rescued US troops and saved casualties on both sides. Give the generals what they need. Clinton announced a complete withdrawal shortly after. Osama Bin Laden was emboldened by America’s lack of war stamina.

Involvement in Somalia began under “Operation Gothic Serpent”. It was intended to help the starving population as UN provisions were being hoarded and not handed out.

The culprit behind this was Mohamed Farrah Aidid. He was the most powerful warlord in Somalia at the time. His forces attacked and killed 19 peacekeepers distributing food. This led the US to bring together a large UN coalition.


Here is where history becomes stranger than fiction.

Aidid was alleged to have four wives. One possibly two lived in the US at the same time he was wanted by the US and fighting US forces.

Another wife, Khadiga Gurhan applied for and was granted refugee status in Canada. Her and her four young children applied for asylum there. In 1992 she left Canada by herself and returned to Africa for 5 months, meeting her husband. At the time she was collecting welfare from the Canadian government.

Hussein Farrah Aidid was the son of Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. He immigrated to the US when he was 16 years old. He graduated from Covina HS in California. Not too long after high school he joined the Marines. He served from 87-95. He was in the first Gulf War, and took part in operation “Restore Hope.” Restore Hope involved peacekeeping in Somalia, same place his Father was the chief warlord. He was the only Marine that spoke Somali.

His father Mohamed was killed due to complications from a gunshot wound in 1996. Hussein the son was elected by several tribes to succeed his father’s place. He answered the call and returned to Somalia. He held this position until 2007. Presently at 59, he is in the US building a warchest and gathering support for a Somalia presidential run.

The truth can be strange.


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