This week in U.S. military history: Marines in Nicaragua and Black Hawk Down

Smedley Butler

This week in U.S. military history:

Oct. 2-3, 1912: Marines assault Nicaraguan rebels under the command of Gen. Benjamin Zeledón defeat Nicaraguan rebels at Coyotepe and Barranca Hills, Nicaragua. Leatherneck magazine has more here and here.

Maj. Smedley D. Butler (future Major General), who commanded Third Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment during the assault on Coyotepe, would later earn two Medals of Honor – one during World War I and another during the occupation of Hayti. More about Butler here.

Oct. 3-4, 1993: Two U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters are shot down during an operation to capture Somali warlord Muhammad Farrah Aidid and his top lieutenants. U.S. forces fight through the night to rescue the downed crews, and a the Battle of Mogadishu would become the deadliest battle for the U.S. military since the Vietnam War.

18 American soldiers died and 73 were wounded, with estimates of dead Somali fighters ranging from several hundred to several thousand. Black Hawk pilot CW3 Mike Durant was captured, to be released 11 days later. Delta Force snipers MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shughart were awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously during the battle.

Oct. 7, 2001: The U.S. military launches retaliatory air and naval strikes against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Author: Chris Carter

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