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Operation Gothic Serpent was a military operation conducted by special operations forces of the United Statesmarker with the primary mission of capturing warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The operation took place in Somaliamarker, Africa from August to October 1993 and was supervised by the Joint Special Operations Command.

As part of the operation, the soldiers were deployed in a mission to arrest two of Aidid's lieutenants. The result of that mission - executed under the command of Gothic Serpent - became known as the Battle of Mogadishumarker, or "The Battle Of The Black Sea" to those who fought in it.

The battle is portrayed in the book Black Hawk Down, as well as the film of the same name.


In December of 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered the U.S. armed forces to join the United Nations in a joint operation known as Operation Restore Hope, with the primary mission of restoring order in Somalia The country was wracked by civil war and a severe famine as it was ruled by a number of warlords. Over the next several months, the situation deteriorated

In January 1993 newly elected President Bill Clinton took office.

In May 1993, all the parties involved in the civil war agreed to a disarmament conference proposed by Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the leading Somali warlord. The Somali National Alliance had been formed in June, 1992. This alliance consisted of warlords across the country, operating under the authority of Aidid, who declared himself President of Somalia. In addition to the alliance, a great number Somali civilians resented the international forces, leading many, including women and children, to take up arms and actively resist U.S. forces during fighting in Mogadishu. On June 5, 1993, one of the deadliest attacks on U.N. forces in Somalia occurred. 24 Pakistanimarker soldiers in the UN force were killed in an ambush in an area of Mogadishumarker, controlled by Aidid.

Any hope of a peaceful resolution of the conflict quickly vanished. The next day, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 837 calling for the arrest and trial of those responsible for the ambush. US warplanes and UN troops began a concentrated attack on Aidid's stronghold. Aidid remained defiant, and the violence between Somalis and UN troops escalated.

On August 22, Task Force Rangermarker was deployed to Somalia under the command of Maj. General William F. Garrison, commander of JSOC at the time. The force consisted of:

General situation

In Mogadishu, the task force occupied an old hangar and construction trailers under primitive conditions. The force even lacked on-site potable water and was subject to frequent mortar fire.

During the month of September, the force conducted several successful missions to arrest sympathizers of Aidid and to confiscate arms caches. The aircraft also made frequent flights over the city to desensitize the public to the presence of military aircraft and to familiarize themselves with the narrow streets and alleys of the city (see PSYOPs).

6 October Mortar Attack

Two days after the Battle of Mogadishu, Somali militia launched a mortar strike on a U.S. compound. One U.S. soldier, SFC Matt Rierson, was killed.



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