Retired Army Ranger Lt. Colonel Danny R. McKnight, commander of the mission known to many as Black Hawk Down, has a book coming out soon that will reveal much more of the story and his role than those described in the book written by Mark Bowden and in the screenplay by Ken Nolan that led to the hit movie of the same name directed by Ridley Scott.
I have read the book and seen the movie twice. I have also spent time with a Black Hawk mechanic who was an advisor on the movie set and spent time with the downed pilot Mike Durant. I have also read the pilot’s book, In the Company of Heroes, which will keep you up nights. The book makes clear what a powerhouse group the Delta Force guys are. The guy featured as shooting pigs out of copters runs a security school today.
In retrospect the Delta operators and Rangers should not have been sent into that battle without the equipment necessary to fight effectively through an overnight contingency. The logistics and supply hassle of doing things right with a suitable margin of safety is always the best bet. It seems to me we owe at least such an effort to the troops engaged in a high-risk endeavor. In the book and the movie, our guys asked for an AC 130 gunship to come in for support and were given some jive that—in the end—proved fatal. Just such a mistake at central command following a request for backup from the Rangers resulted in Osama bin Laden escaping from Tora Bora. A CIA team led by Gary Berntsen (now running for Senate in New York) had bin Laden penned in, but in need of reinforcements, which ultimately were denied. Lots of lessons all around.
Throughout the battle in Somalia, though, Danny McKnight led the men the best anyone could have. Frontline leadership like that is the highlight of his forthcoming book. I will be reading Lt. Colonel Danny McKnight’s book upon release, and I suggest the same for you.
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