Black Hawk Down

   

 

        Y'know what I think? Don't really matter what I think. Once that first bullet goes past  

              your head, politics and all that shit just goes right  out the window.

 

A mixed assault force of Delta operators, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) under the command of Maj. Gen. William Garrison was dropped by helicopters of the US Army's Special Operations Air Regiment (SOAR) deep into the capital city of Mogadishu's Bakaara Market, a stronghold of local warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid to capture two of his senior lieutenants,Omar Salid and Abdi Hasan Awale. The raid by the Delta operators was successful and the wanted persons were captured and taken into American custody. However, when Somali militia armed with RPGs downed two Black Hawk Helicopters, a 30 minute mission became a pitched battle between the American forces and Somali militia lasting almost 15 hours.

The code word to launch was "Irene." They were a formidable armada. The helicopter assault force included about 75 Rangers and 16 Delta troops in 17 helicopters. Idling at the airport was a convoy of 12 vehicles with soldiers who would ride three miles to the target building and escort the Somali prisoners and the assault team back to base. Most soldiers deduced that the battle would only take 30 minutes, and some neglected to bring canteens, and NVG, others opting to take out the ballistic ceramic plate in their body armor to reduced the weight carried around.

This movie follows the story of many soldiers during that fateful day. Staff Sgt. Matt Eversmann, who is commanding Ranger Chalk 4 for the first time as his platoon lieutenant was sent home due to illness and the guy who replaced him had suffered an epileptic seizure. However, minutes into the Operation, PFC Todd Blackburn slips and misses the rope as the Black Hawk banks to avoid an incoming RPG. Eversman is dismayed at a casualty this early into the Operation and frantically ropes down and administers first aid with the help of his Chalk's medic, Doc. Schmidt.

Meanwhile, Delta Operators storm the target building and capture all of the prisoners. Norm Hoot radios for extraction via the convoy, Uniform 64, led by Danny McKnight. Eversman and half of his Chalk carry Blackburn on a compact litter. Blackburn was eventually loaded into a humvee, with Sgt. Streuker driving the lead humvee. However, on their way back to base, the first fatality is claimed in the form of Sgt. Dominick Pilla as he is shot while manning the 50. cal of Streuker's humvee. He falls on the lap of SP4 Thomas, who is later badly shaken up and nearly ends up not joining them going back into the city.

Back in Mogadishu, Cliff Wolcott's Black Hawk, Super 6-1 is shot in the tail rotor by an RPG. It crash lands, killing both Wolcott and his co-pilot, Briley. One wounded Delta operator Staff Sergeant Daniel Busch crawls out of the chopper and defends it valiantly with his CAR-15, wounded several times but holding back militia until help arrives. Star 4-1, "a little bird" lands next to the crashed Black Hawk. The pilot defends the Little Bird with a submachine gun while his co-pilot Chief Warrant Officer Keith Jones escorts the wounded Delta operator back onto the Little Bird for immediate medivac.

Chalk 4, led by Eversman arrives on scene having witnessed the Black Hawk go down and proceed towards it on foot, leaving behind Twombly and Nelson to hold the defensive perimeter they were supposed to do initially. On the way there, they encounter several obstacles such as technicals and bullet wounds, namely Scott Galentine having his thumb blown off. Eversman's chalk and First Lt. Tom DiTomasso's chalk set up a defensive perimeter around Super 6-1 and wait for the SAR Bird to arrive and drop medics on scene.

The prisoners are loaded up into the convoy, which eventually moves out towards the crash site. Captain Steele lled a force of Rangers and Delta Operatives towards the crash site on foot. Along the way, they encounter heavy enemy resistance, during which several soldiers were wounded, some badly. Eventually, after taking many casualties, they decide to stronghold an empty building and wait for the convoy, which is lost, bullet ridden and beleaguered making its way through the streets of Mogadishu. Sergeant First Class Paul Howe (Sanderson) argues with Captain Steele that there are still men pinned down at the crash site and wants to take a small contingent on foot. After a heated argument, Steele agrees to let Sanderson take his Delta men, and Grimes, who is a member of Chalk 4 and was separated during the start.

The convoy moving through the streets of Mogadishu is under heavy fire, with unreliable directions which leads to them around in circles. They suffer many casaulties, including one where a Delta operative (Tim Griz) has his legs blown off by an RPG and a driver of a truck (SPC Richard 'Alphabet' Kowalewski) has an unexploded RPG lodged inside his body. Eventually, the battered convoy is given the go-ahead to return to base.

Super 6-4, piloted by Mike Durrant is ordered to take up the holding pattern formerly taken up by Super 6-1. After getting into positions, his Black Hawk is also struck by an RPG. Initially, all systems look good, but then the tail rotor gives out and Super 6-4 goes down as well. Since most of the force is dealing with Super 6-1, and there was only one SAR bird as no one expected two Black Hawks to be shot down, no medivac was available for Super 6-4. Streuker's Humvees are ordered to go back to assist Super 6-4. However, they cannot get there in time and Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart, two Delta snipers aboard Super 6-2 request to be inserted and provide defense for the fallen crew until a larger rescue squad arrives. After having their request rejected several times, Command eventually agrees for the two of them to be inserted. Fighting their way to the downed chopper, they rescue an injured Mike Durant and then heroically defend the chopper against mighty odds, as both of them are mortally wounded. Gordon is killed first, as Shughart then hands Duran Gordon's carbine, telling him 'Gordy's gone man, I'll be outside. Good luck,' before leaving and subsequently being killed himself. The crash site is overrun and Durant is taken prisoner.

All is quiet for a while, with both sides reaching a stalemate. Streuker's Humvees are not able to find a way to the crash site due to roadblocks, so Hoot offers to take a small contingent to it on foot, much like Sanderson earlier. They arrive at the crash site and find it deserted, albeit some looters which are scared off by Hoot. They then set out to destroy the Black Hawk as it contains documents and equipment that is best kept out of Somali hands.

Meanwhile, Twombly and Nelson, the two Chalk 4 machine gunners, who were meant to return with the Humvees are lost, and as they desperately try to find the crash site they are reunited with Yurek. As they reach Eversman's position, Twombly's radio is shot and, in a bid to save his comrade, Cpl. Jamie Smith is shot and mortally wounded. He would bleed to death later, despite desperate attempts to save him.

Hoot and his men arrive at the scene and they regroup with Eversman while a rescue convoy is formed. After a while, the sounds of fighting can be heard in the distance and Hoot asks Eversman, 'Well, shall we?' Eversman, regaining his confidence, leads his team for valour and professionalism, even marking the target building with a strobe himself so the Little Birds can perform a minigun and rocket strafing run. Afterwards, someone shouts 'The convoy is here!' as indeed, a convoy of 10th mountain dividsion soldiers in Malaysian and Pakistani vehicles, along with the remnants of the lost convoy. They arrive to assist the beleagued soldiers, but it is not until early next morning before they are able to leave as it takes several hours to cut through the kevlar of the Black Hawk cockpit to retrieve Cliff Wolcott's body, as 'no man is left behind.' The APCs are full, so several of the leading characters must run the last mile on foot, also known as the Mogadishu Mile. They return without encountering significant resistance.

Back at the base, the soldiers collapse and the wounded are taken care of, while Eversman sees Hoot stock up on ammunition, and asks him whether he's going back out there or not. Hoot delivers his monologue and takes off, remarking that it's Monday and they had started a whole new week. The movie ends with Eversman speaking to Jamie Smith, promising to fulfill his final requests.

18 American soldiers and 1 Malaysian soldier were killed on the day covered, with a Delta, Matthew Rierson killed during a mortar attack on the base 2 days later. It is estimated that over a thousand Somali civilians and militia lost their lives. Aided was killed on August 2nd 1996during a battle with the rival militia . Major General Garrison retired the following day.....

 

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Movie Script

Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Ridley Scott
Written by Mark Bowden
Ken Nolan
Starring Josh Hartnett
Ewan McGregor
Tom Hardy
Tom Sizemore
William Fichtner
Eric Bana
Sam Shepard
Orlando Bloom
Ioan Gruffudd
Music by Hans Zimmer, Denez Prigent
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 28, 2001
Running time 144 min.
Language English
Budget $92 million

 

 

 

 

 

 

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