This month marks the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu. Award-winning journalist Mark Bowden’s book Black Hawk Down—and the movie by the same name—made the story of that battle familiar to much of America and the world. The intense, urban fighting also had a lasting impact on US military thinking about special operations forces, urban warfare, terrorism, and more.
But what was it like to actually be involved in the fight? To understand what the US soldiers who were on the ground in Mogadishu in October 1993 experienced, MWI’s Maj. Jake Miraldi spoke to three people—Larry Perino, Lee VanArsdale, and Kyle Lamb, each of whom played a central role in the battle—for a two-episode series of The Spear that we originally released in 2018.
While the book and the movie would make that single mission famous, together these two episodes are an opportunity to hear what happened directly from our guests—three practitioners from the Army’s most elite combat units. In the first episode, they talk about the beginning of their deployment, previous missions aimed at their number one target—warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid—and his network, how this particular mission came about, and how everything happened once they launched. This episode takes listeners right up to the point when things really started to go badly—when a US helicopter went down, local militia fighters began to turn out in force, and the fight was on.
In the second episode, Perino, VanArsdale, and Lamb describe the battle itself. For listeners who have read Bowden’s book or seen the film, they offer unique perspectives and detail to the story of what happened. They also provide an opportunity to hear not just the story of the battle, but what they were thinking and feeling at key moments of the intense fight.
Image credit: CT Snow