Friday, October 26, 2012

"In The Company of Heroes"^

"I cherish the memory of a question my grandson asked me the other day, when he said, 'Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?' And Grandpa said, 'No, but I served in the company of heroes.'"*

Master Sergeant Gary Gordon
Gary Gordon
On October 3rd, 1993, American Rangers, Delta Force operatives and SEAL Team 6 members descended on a safe house in Mogadishu, Somalia. Their target was members of a warlord's command staff. In the course of the operation two helicopters were shot down. One of them,  a Blackhawk called "Super Six-Four" commanded by Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, crashed in a hostile part of the city. She was descended upon by a crowd in the hundreds, many of them armed.

Two Delta operatives, Sergeant First Class Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart volunteered to be inserted by helicopter to "secure the crash site." Plainly, their chances of survival while wildly outnumbered were exceedingly small. Several times their request was denied, Finally.... Both were killed defending the downed helicopter and crew, but CWO Durant was taken prisoner and survived. Gordon and Shughart were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Shughart as a Sergeant First Class
Randy Shughart
On September 11, 2012, armed teams of an Al Qaeda cell attacked members of the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Calling for help, those inside were (apparently) denied assistance. By whom and for what reason has yet to be determined. Two former SEALS, CIA security contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, responded anyway and were able to effect an evacuation, including recovering the body of Sean Smith. Some time later both were killed.

The politics really don't matter at this moment. What matters is remembering Gordon, Shughart, Woods and Doherty as heroes. In the highest traditions of the American armed forces, going above and beyond the call of duty, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty took on an impossible task, in complete disregard of their own safety.

These are Americans whose names should be household words.

*Major Dick Winters, US Army (ret.) recalling a newsletter written by Sgt, Mike Ranney, US Army (ret.), Band of Brothers, 2001

^In the Company of Heroes, Durant, Michael J., Signet Publishing, 2006


  1. Great blog, Dad. Both men are heroes of mine. And interestingly enough, Gordon is a Mainer and buried here in Lincoln, ME.

  2. At some point, I'd love to go there and pay respects.