SUPER 62 represents my personal story of Gratitude and commemorates the pilots and crew of Army Special Operations Blackhawk helicopter call sign Super 62, one of four struck by rockets in the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993.
After I manned the mini-gun to replace a crew chief shot through the hand, Super 62 took a rocket-propelled grenade through the floor. The round, with a bright flash and deafening overpressure, passed through my leg – severing it – and then impacted into the upper engine compartment. I’ll never forget the violent shaking of the airframe. I thought, like the two aircraft shot down before us, we were going to crash into the ground.
The aircraft struggled to maintain lift and continued to shake: it felt and sounded like we would drop from the sky at any second. However, due to the courage, experience, and training of the pilots and crew from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, they managed to limp the damaged Super 62 back to the port for a hard landing. Rescued by another 160th pilot. I was transported to a combat support hospital where I received critical life-saving care by strained but courageous medical personnel.
Super 62’s pilots and crew survived the battle and are just one example of Task Force Ranger’s heroism during what was the longest firefight since Vietnam. While 18 men were lost that day, what we will never know is how many lived thanks to the brave decisive actions of our 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. I certainly know of one!
MY HEART IS FILLED WITH GRATITUDE FOR THE MEN WHO FLEW THAT DAY: their courage gave me a second chance at life. To honor them, please join me to Raise the American Spirit.