View Full Version : BlackHawk Down An American War Story

08-09-02, 11:00 AM
By Mark Bowden
November 16, 1997

Reliving a firefight:
Hail Mary, then hold on

The raid was barely under way, and already something had gone wrong. It was just the first in a series of worsening mishaps that would endanger this daring mission. For Eversmann, a five-year veteran from Natural Bridge, Va., leading men into combat for the first time, it was the beginning of the longest day of his life.

Just 13 minutes before, three miles away at the Ranger's base on the Mogadishu beach, Eversmann had said a Hail Mary at liftoff. He was curled into a seat between two helicopter crew chiefs, the knees of his long legs up around his shoulders. Before him, arrayed on both sides of the sleek UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, was Eversmann's Chalk, a dozen men in tan, desert camouflage fatigues. He had worried about the responsibility. Twelve men. He had prayed silently during Mass at the mess hall that morning. Now he added one more.

. . . Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen





11-16-04, 08:06 AM
Deadly Helicopter Crash Remembered
Associated Press
November 16, 2004

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - It was the deadliest single event for U.S. troops in Iraq: Two Black Hawk helicopters from the 101st Airborne Division collided and crashed, killing 17, apparently as a result of enemy fire.

On Monday to mark the anniversary of the Nov. 15, 2003, crash in Mosul, soldiers from an aviation unit dedicated a granite memorial at Fort Campbell in honor of six unit crewmembers killed that day.

"We fashioned this memorial out of the sorrow, respect, love and pride for our cherished comrades," said Lt. Col. Stephen Burns, commander of the 4th Battalion of the 101st Aviation Regiment.

Written on the front of the memorial is the battalion's motto: "Wings of the Eagles." Around it, six maple trees were planted in honor of those killed on the helicopter that was carrying soldiers from Talafar, Iraq, to Mosul for a rest break.

During the ceremony, soldier escorted family members of the six to the appropriate trees where they placed wreaths. The playing of taps followed.

"I will never forget the day of Nov. 15, 2003, nor will the men and women they served with," said Capt. Jeff Siino, former commander of the battalion's Bravo Company, which lost two soldiers in the crash.

Capt. Alicia Chivers, former commander of the battalion's Alpha Company, recalled that immediately after the crash some unit members busied themselves by preparing for a memorial service in Iraq. Others inventoried the belongings of those killed so they could be sent home. Four from Alpha Company were killed.

"We told a lot of stories and shed a lot of tears," Chivers said.

A crash investigation was conducted, but has not been released to the public, said Maj. Chris Belcher, spokesman for the 159th Aviation Brigade. A 101st brigade commander told The Associated Press in Iraq shortly after the crash that one of the helicopters appeared to have been hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The father of Sgt. John Russell, who was among those killed, said he was pleased by the effort to remember his son. But Dennis Russell, 55, a retired command sergeant major from Converse, Tenn., said the last year has been tough.

"You have your moments," he said. "You think you're over the grief, and then something will come along and trigger the memories, and you cry your eyes out."