I was a 24 year old squad leader and placed my nine men in two Humvees. We led a ten vehicle ground convoy into the city. The job of the convoy was to retrieve the Rangers and Special Operations Forces who had been dropped by helicopter onto the road and in the surrounding alleys of the target building. We were to return them and their prisoners to our base.
The operation went exactly as planned with one exception; a Ranger, Todd Blackburn, in a Black Hawk helicopter, missed the slide rope and fell 70 feet to the ground. He hit head first and our medics felt he would not survive unless he received immediate special medical care. As soon as I arrived at the target building, my commander called and told me to take Todd back to our base at the airport.
We loaded him into a Humvee and with my two vehicles around him we began to make our way back to the airfield. Mogadishu is about seven by two miles in size and one and a half million people had gathered there from all over Somalia to be fed.