William F. Garrison
This article has multiple issues. Please help to improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
William F. Garrison
|Born||27 June 1944|
Mineral Wells, Texas
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1966–1996|
|Commands held||John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center (1995–96)|
Joint Special Operations Command (1992–94)
Delta Force (1985–89)
1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment (1981–83)
|Awards||Defense Distinguished Service Medal|
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal (4)
William F. "Bill" Garrison (born 27 June 1944) is a retired major general of the United States Army who commanded United States forces during Operation Gothic Serpent, the military operation launched in 1993 to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.
Early life and education
Garrison was born in Mineral Wells, Texas, on 27 June 1944. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from University of Texas–Pan American. Garrison enlisted in the United States Army in 1966.
During the Vietnam War, Garrison participated in the Phoenix Program. According to Mark Bowden, Garrison "had served two tours in Vietnam, part of it helping to run the infamously brutal Phoenix Program, which ferreted out and killed Viet Cong village leaders."
From 1981 to 1983, Garrison commanded the 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry, 82d Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg. In 1982 he led an 808-man task force, TF 1/505, on the first six-month Sinai mission as part of the Multinational Force and Observers, serving as a buffer between Israel and Egypt, and was present when Israel handed over the Sinai to Egypt. Garrison spent most of his career in special operations units, including the Intelligence Support Activity as the commander of its operations squadron and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (also known as Delta Force) from 1985 to 1989. His last command was the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center.
Operation Gothic Serpent
Garrison commanded Task Force Ranger during Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, a military operation conducted in Mogadishu, Somalia, by an American-led coalition during the Somali Civil War in 1993. The primary objective of the operation was to capture Somali military officer Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who was wanted by the Unified Task Force after his attacks against United Nations troops in 1992. The operation took place from August to October 1993 and was supervised by the United States' Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
The mission ultimately culminated in what became known as the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu. The battle was a disaster for coalition troops and resulted in a major strategic victory for Somali National Alliance forces, with American, Malaysian and Pakistani forces suffering heavy losses.
Garrison took full responsibility for the tactical setbacks experienced in Operation Gothic Serpent, which effectively ended his military career.
Mark Bowden, the author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, described Garrison as a military ascetic. According to Bowden's description Garrison tirelessly worked to serve his country and would do anything for his soldiers. Some of Garrison's subordinates have also spoken publicly about their former commander. Staff Sergeant Dan Schilling, an Air Force Combat Controller who took part in Operation Gothic Serpent, shared his feelings about Garrison in the book:
I should pause here for a moment to say a few words about General Garrison. Many know his record and command history. I'm not the person to expound on his exploits; in fact I don't know the man very well. But I will say he is the finest general officer I have ever worked for and probably ever will. He understood his men and how we thought, what we wanted and needed, and understood the situation anywhere he was, immediately and completely. He is the finest leader an operator could ask for. It wasn't a shame that his career was derailed after our deployment; it was a criminal act committed by political cowards.— Dan Schilling, The Battle of Mogadishu: Firsthand Accounts From The Men of Task Force Ranger, Page 187
By September 1996, Garrison had retired at the rank of major general and settled into a ranch near the community of Hico, Texas.
|Combat Infantryman Badge|
|Defense Distinguished Service Medal||Legion of Merit||Bronze Star Medal with Valor device and three oak leaf clusters|
|Purple Heart||Defense Meritorious Service Medal||Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters|
|Air Medal||Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster||Army Good Conduct Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star||Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars||Humanitarian Service Medal|
|Army Service Ribbon||Army Overseas Service Ribbon||Multinational Force and Observers Medal|
|Vietnam Gallantry Cross with unidentified device(s)||Vietnam Staff Service Medal, 1st class||Vietnam Campaign Medal|
|Special Forces Tab||Master Parachutist Badge with JSOC background trimming|
In popular culture
- Garrison is portrayed by Sam Shepard in the film Black Hawk Down, which was based on the events of the Battle of Mogadishu.
- Bowden, Mark (1999). Black Hawk Down. New York: Grove Press. p. 23.
- Bowden, Mark (March 1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Atlantic Monthly Press. Berkeley, California (U.S.). ISBN 0-87113-738-0
- Boykin, William (Lt.Gen.) (2008). Never Surrender. Faith Words. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-446-58215-5.
- Eversmann, Matthew and Dan Schilling, eds. (2006). The Battle of Mogadishu: Firsthand Accounts From The Men of Task Force Ranger.
- Smith, Michael (2006). Killer Elite: The Inside Story of America's Most Secret Special Operations Team. Cassell. London. ISBN 0-304-36727-3 online presentation
- Wasdin, Howard E. (2011). Seal Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper. St. Martin's Press. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-312-69945-1.