FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Thirty years ago two Black Hawk helicopters went down in Mogadishu, Somalia.
A crash on October 3, 1993, later went on to be known as the infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident, all of which happened during the Battle of Mogadishu.
But not all know that the 10th Mountain Division was highly involved.
When the Battle of Mogadishu began, the 10th Mountain Division headquarters were deployed to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope. During this time, the Division’s 2-14 Infantry Battalion, along with Charlie Company, 1-87 IN Battalion, were assigned as quick-reaction forces.
” There was an element of 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry regiment that was part of the Quick Reaction Force Task Force 2-14 that went in to rescue the downed pilots and others there in Mogadishu,” Lieutenant Colonel Chris Turner, current commander of 1-87 Infantry Regiment explained.
One of these soldiers was John Suprynowicz, who was enlisted as a private first class at the time. He visited Fort Drum on the 30th Anniversary and shared his experiences.
“One day we’re doing our classic training. You have to train like you would expect,” Suprynowicz explained. “Good young soldiers leaning forward in the foxhole, we get a call that a 40-man element is going to be stood up for the first time. We were going to be kind of like a recon element with the Humvees. Which was unique and a light fighter element.”
“[We had] a lot of combat action daily,” he added. “And then just culminated with the October 3rd firefight, as most people now as Black Hawk Down.”
Former PFC Suprynowicz has continued his career in the Army and is now Lieutenant Colonel Suprynowicz. He commands Fort Moore in Georgia.
But because these 10th Mountain Division efforts were once lost in history, LTC Suprynowicz has worked with the Division to honor nearly 30 veterans who fought in the battle of Mogadishu.
Many of them reunited at Fort Drum during the 30th anniversary and some marched with active-duty soldiers serving in 1-87 IN.
“It’s cathartic and a number of different things,” LTC Suprynowicz expressed. “The ability, the camaraderie that’s built up by just sitting around and recognizing you know who people are today was unique. How you can actually go back 30 years and put yourself back as a young soldier within seconds.”
All an example, he said, of how the heroes of yesterday shape the soldiers of today.
“They’re standing on the shoulders of giants right those soldiers who are before us just like before me and the historic lineage of not only this battalion but this entire division,” LTC Suprynowicz said.
“The battle of Mogadishu was just one major milestone of this battalion that continues to be the bedrock of this organization’s history that we’ll never forget,” LTC Turner added.