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Danny R. McKnight (born April 9, 1951) is a retired colonel in the United States Army. As a lieutenant colonel, he was the commanding officer of the 3rd Ranger Battalion and led the "Lost Convoy" during the Battle of Mogadishumarker on October 3, 1993. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor device for his actions during the battle. He retired from the Army in 2002 and works as a motivational speaker.

Early life

Born in Columbus, Georgiamarker, McKnight moved to Rockledge, Floridamarker in 1959. He attended Florida State Universitymarker and received a bachelor's degree in management in 1973. He was also a distinguished military graduate from the school's ROTC program.

Military career

Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry in the United States Army. During his career, he served in a variety of infantry assignments with conventional and Ranger units. Ranger assignments include service as company executive officer and instructor at the mountain phase of the Ranger course; regimental adjutant, 75th Ranger Regiment; S-3 (battalion operations officer), 3rd Ranger Battalion; executive officer, 3rd Ranger Battalion; executive officer, 75th Ranger Regiment; and commanding officer, 3rd Ranger Battalion.

Other assignments include service in Korea as a battalion adjutant and as aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division; aide-de-camp to the commandant of the United States Army Infantry School at Fort Benningmarker, Georgia; company commander, Company C, 1st Battalion, 58th Infantry, at Fort Benning; Assistant Professor of Military Science, ROTC Department, University of Floridamarker; and battalion commander of the 4th Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracksmarker, Hawaii.

Military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Airborne and Ranger Courses, the Air Command and Staff Collegemarker, and the U.S.marker Army War Collegemarker.

He saw combat during Operation Just Cause in 1989 and in Somalia in 1993.

Battle of Mogadishu

As a lieutenant colonel, McKnight took command of the 3rd Ranger Battalion on February 11, 1993 and led the battalion when it deployed elements to Somaliamarker as part of Task Force Ranger. During an operation in October 1993 to capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid's foreign minister, Omar Salad Elmi, and his top political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale, McKnight was in charge of the HMMWV and truck convoy ordered to bring up the rear of Task Force Rangermarker and Delta Forcemarker to evacuate the prisoners and soldiers. After an MH-60 Black Hawk providing air support was shot down by Somali insurgents, McKnight's convoy made several attempts to reach the crash site and evacuate the casualties and soldiers who had moved to secure the crash site on foot. Due to confusing conditions on the air and ground, and heavy casualties taken by the convoy (including McKnight, who was hit in the neck by a bullet), the convoy was unable to reach the crash site and had to return to Task Force Ranger's base with the prisoners and its own wounded and killed soldiers. Another evacuation convoy was organized with support from U.N. troops of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division and the Pakistani and Malaysian armies. Eventually, the reinforced convoy reached and evacuated the elements of Task Force Ranger who had held out against Somali insurgent forces for the entire night. Once the convoy returned to the Pakistani's base, McKnight allowed treatment of his wound.

After Somalia

McKnight commanded 3rd Ranger Battalion until July 1994, before attending the U.S.marker Army War Collegemarker at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. On graduation, he was assigned as senior active duty adviser to the 29th Infantry Division, a National Guard unit headquartered at Fort Belvoirmarker, Virginia.

Colonel McKnight's next assignments were with First United States Army at Fort Gillemmarker, Georgia. He served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Training for two years and as the Chief of Staff for nineteen months. He retired from active duty on January 1, 2002.

Filming of Black Hawk Down

In the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, McKnight was portrayed by actor Tom Sizemore. While McKnight and Sizemore never met personally, they had several telephone conversations during the filming and McKnight indicated that he was quite satisfied with Sizemore's performance and the movie as a whole.

Op: Irene Annual Airsoft Event

Col. McKnight, along with Master Sergeant Howard "Mad Max" Mullen, a former Ranger NCO, and Retired Special Forces Col. Paul Longgrear, participate in and support an annual Airsoft game which memorializes the Battle of Mogadishu.

Ranger Todd Blackburn, wounded by a fall from a helicopter during the battle, participated in Op: Irene VI.

Called Operation: Irene, this event is part of the Lion Claws Airsoft series produced by John Liu of Best of USA Marketing. The US Army and National Guard has also supported these events, thanks largely due to McKnight's endorsement.

Col. McKnight has been extremely supportive of the Airsoft hobby, stating that he feels it provides a tribute and honor to those who have served in the military.

See also


  1. Bowden, Mark (March 1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Atlantic Monthly Press. Berkeley, California (USA). ISBN 0-87113-738-0
  2. Article of McKnight's reaction to Black Hawk Down

Best of USA Marketing Speakers Bureau biography

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