Local News

'Black Hawk Down' Has Ties To Fort Bragg

Posted January 11, 2002

— Less than 10 years ago, a U.S. peacekeeping operation turned deadly for American troops in Somalia. The heroic story of the Special Operations soldiers who took part in the mission will soon be on the big screen.

"Leave No Man Behind," is part of the creed for members of the military. The movie, "

Black Hawk Down

," shows the courage of soldiers who lived that phrase.

"Ridley Scott, the director, and Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer, wanted to make this as realistic as possible. Because of that philosophy, that's the main reason we gave so much support to this," said Special Operations soldier Maj. Tom McCollum, who served as a technical advisor for the film.

"Black Hawk Down" is based on the best-selling book by Mark Bowden. The movie tells the true story of Oct. 3, 1993. A planned one-hour mission to capture Somalian warlords turned into a 15-hour ordeal, when the enemy shot down Black Hawk helicopters and surrounded U.S. troops.

The Rangers and Delta Force troops had to fight for their lives until a rescue convoy could get them out. Eighteen soldiers died. McCollum said it is a story that needs to be told for the victims and their families.

"We got the people we were going after, that's what people need to realize, but we did it [at] a high cost to the American population and our military," he said.

The soldiers killed in the incident were memorialized at Fort Bragg far before the thought of making the movie. Their names will forever be remembered at the U.S. Army Special Operations Headquarters.

Fort Bragg played a role in the making of the movie. Some of the actors went there to be trained by members of the 7th Special Forces Group. Also, in the movie, many of the pilots at the controls in the movie and Rangers in the battle scenes are actual soldiers.

Maj. Gary Kolb attended the premiere with those soldiers who lived to tell about it.

"It tells a great story of soldiers who are well-trained and how they can overcome extreme odds under extreme condition and how they can come together to serve their country," he said.

Kolb said it is a very violent movie, but he believes the graphic scenes are necessary to get a real feeling of what it was like for the soldiers.

One of the soldiers who died in the operation lived in the Sandhills. A monument in Southern Pines honors Master Sgt. Gary Gordon for his brave actions.

"Black Hawk Down" opens nationwide Jan. 18.

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