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Home > USASOC > UNS > 131001-01



Logisticians help aircraft damaged in battle of Mogadishu find homes

by Maj. Emily Potter
USASOAC Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – (USASOC News Service Oct. 1, 2013) - Soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) G-4 section recently worked logistical issues to help bring three aircraft damaged in the battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, to their permanent resting place.

They facilitated the disposition of these aircraft in time for Oct. 3, the 20th anniversary of the battle, coinciding with a special exhibit opening at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum (ASOM) in Fayetteville, N.C.

Artifacts from Super 61, the UH-60L made famous in the movie "Blackhawk Down", were recovered by a civilian company in Somalia earlier this year. When the company ran into issues with transportation and customs while trying to return these items to the United States military, the command asked the USAOAC Logistics Offfice (G4) to assist.

Sgt. Maj. Mike McClenahan said that although “this was an out of the ordinary, high visibility request; we supported it with the same efforts and professionalism that we do with any task.”

They started working with civilian attorneys, shipping companies and customs officials in Mombasa, Kenya, where the equipment was held in transient.

“It is very unusual to transfer ownership of something like this from civilians to the military," McClenahan said. " We had to make everything very transparent and prove to Kenyan customs officials that we were not doing anything nefarious.”

Within a month, the artifacts of Super 61 were delivered to the ASOM for display in their exhibit honoring Task Force Ranger and the Battle of Mogadishu. 

Concurrently, another civilian organization in Somalia recovered the mini-gun from Super 64, another UH-60L lost in the battle. When it was returned to the U.S. military, Staff Sgt. Dustin Smith added the weapon to the property book and brought it to the museum for the exhibit. First, he had to work with the Army Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM) to de-mil the weapon, which was still operable after sitting in the desert for 20 years. 

Smith said he is looking forward to seeing the weapon on display at the exhibit.

“I physically helped with it. I feel very fortunate to be involved with this significant event,” he said.

A third aircraft from the battle found a home at the Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Ala. According to Roger Nickel, part of the Aviation Maintenance Support Branch, “Super 68 sustained significant damage in Mogadishu from small arms fire and a hit from a rocket propelled grenade, but with a limited maintenance crew, they got it back into the battle and continued to fight.”

The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne) continued to fly Super 68 for the past 20 years, but it reached the end of its life cycle as they transition the UH-60 K and L models to M models. Nickel said the history of this particular aircraft played a factor in why it went to the museum.

McClenahan explained the operations as a team effort, and that “this is an emotional event for a lot of people, knowing that Soldiers gave their lives in these, it means a lot to the families and the community. Our goal was to accomplish the logistical piece in a respectful, professional manner.”