Mogadishu Mile

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The Mogadishu Mile refers to a route that was run by United States Army Rangers and Delta Force soldiers from a helicopter crash site to an appointed rally point held by the 10th Mountain Division on National Street during the Battle of Mogadishu on October 4, 1993. The Americans involved were part of Task Force Ranger, an attempt to seize two lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Originally they were supposed to take cover by running alongside a convoy of Humvees and armored personnel carriers, however when the convoy failed to understand the vehicles were needed for cover, they left them and the soldiers were forced to run without support and with very little ammunition.

It is often believed that the soldiers involved in the Mogadishu Mile had to run all the way to the Mogadiscio Stadium, as it was shown in the 2001 film Black Hawk Down. However, in that scene the filmmakers took artistic license and dramatized the event, departing from the original Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War book by Mark Bowden. In the film, the Mogadishu Mile ends with about a dozen soldiers entering the Mogadiscio Stadium having run all the way through the city. In the book, it ends with soldiers reaching a rendezvous point on National Street (in opposite direction to the stadium):

"As he approached the intersection of Hawlwadig Road and National Street, about five blocks south of the Olympic Hotel, he saw a tank and the line of APCs and Humvees and a mass of men in desert battle dress. He ran until he collapsed, with joy"[1]

Not only the Rangers and Delta Force soldiers made the Mogadishu Mile, but also soldiers from U.S. 10th Mountain Division alongside them:

"We didn't ride off the crash site. We didn't run out. We walked expediently in a tactical formation for about a mile to get to an awaiting convoy."[2]

On the whole, the film version where the convoy leaves the soldiers running through the city alone does not correspond to the real event:

"No one ran out of the city. The Mog mile was to a rally point where the Pakistani tanks and the vehicles from 10th Mountain were, waiting to take the men of TFR out to the Pakistani stadium."[3]

"These APCs were headed back about 800 meters to a strongpoint where reserve element has stayed behind with the tanks, and the plan was to move the wounded via the vehicles and the healthy by foot back to the strongpoint. That's exactly what happened. That, in all it's non-dramatic form, is the so-called "Mogadishu mile"..."[4]

The Mogadishu Mile began at 05:42 and ended when all the troops exfiltrated to the rendezvous point and were loaded into APCs and Humvees, reaching either the Pakistani Stadium or the Airport by 06:30. During the run, the convoy and in particular the soldiers on foot were attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire, wounding several soldiers including Sgt. Ramaglia.[5] Many soldiers experienced sleep deprivation and dehydration.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bowden, Mark, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Signet, 2001 - p.350
  2. ^ "The Mogadishu Mile". Black Hawk Down 93 discussion forum (registration required)
  3. ^ "Question for Belman or anyone else who ran out of the City". Black Hawk Down 93 discussion forum (registration required)
  4. ^ Col. Lee A. Van Arsdale. "Audio Commentary by Task Force Rangers". Black Hawk Down 3-Disk Deluxe Edition
  5. ^ Bowden, Mark, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, Signet, 2001 - p.288