Most people probably think this battle was called Black Hawk Down, the name of the book that the movie is based on. In fact, it has a name - the First Battle of Mogadishu - to distinguish it from the NINE other battles for Mogadishu in the long civil war of Somalia. Living in a military town you hear things that aren't generally expressed and don't become common knowledge. The military was concerned when the Marines were pulled that all the heavy weapons, tanks and the like, were pulled with them. They were told that the UN had plenty and would provide them. The Somali's, along with a lot of other soon and potential enemies, believed that if you kill enough Americans they will leave. This is the lesson they got out of Vietnam. What Washington displayed in Somalia was a stunning ignorance of any of the lessons from Vietnam, tragically one of those lessons is that you can not direct every action of a war from Washington and we continue to miss that one.
The movie does an excellent job of showing how the military can go from mind numbing boredom to a desperate chaotic battle for survival in seconds. It also does an excellent job at pointing out that the first horrible moments dispel any gung-ho attitudes that anyone might have had before the first shots were fired. This battle was the first time most Americans had even heard of the Delta Force and the movie does a good job of pointing out how these mostly older men were something of a legend even to the brave Rangers and how they had a calming effect in the midst of the chaos. Gordon and Shugart are the names of the two Delta Force men who displayed the uncommon courage of entering a firefight they knew they could not survive in order to save a brother soldier.
There are important lessons that we can still learn from this battle. We should always make sure that everything our soldiers could need is in the hands of our own. We need to take the target off of our men and women, we do this by making sure of why we go where we go and that the cause is worth their blood.