Operation Gothic Serpent

On 03 October 1993, Sniper Team Leader MSG Gordon was part of Operation Gothic Serpent, a mission to capture two leaders of Aidid’s clan that were at a residence in central Mogadishu. The mission consisted of 19 aircraft, 12 vehicles, and 160 men. From the beginning, the mission was plagued with mishaps. At the beginning of the mission, 15:42, one of the Rangers, PVT Todd Blackburn missed the rope while fast roping from the Black Hawk, Super 67, falling 70 feet to the ground and badly injuring his head, neck and back.

He was loaded onto one of the vehicles from the convoy, which arrived 10 minutes later, along with the two SNA leaders. There was some confusion between the assault teams and the convoy, as to who would contact whom first, after the SNA leaders were secured. This confusion lasted 20 minutes, by which time the city came alive with armed militiamen and civilians converging on the target area. Sergeant Dominick Pilla was the first US casualty, shocking the operation’s commanders, who hadn’t expected any casualties.