The U.S. Army approved the upgrade of 60 Army special operators’ awards for their heroic actions during Operation Gothic Serpent—more commonly known as the Battle of Mogadishu or “Black Hawk Down.” Fifty-eight awards were upgraded to Silver Stars and two were upgraded to Distinguished Flying Crosses.
The upgrades are a result of the October 2020 directive from former Secretary of the Army, Ryan McCarthy, who directed the Senior Army Decorations Board to re-evaluate previously approved awards for valor.
The Silver Star Medal is the third-highest military combat award and is awarded in recognition of a valorous act performed during combat operations while under fire from enemy forces.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded in recognition of heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.
The upgraded awards will be presented later this year in separate commemoration ceremonies hosted by the units in which the Soldier served at the time of the mission.
Operation Gothic Serpent, led by U. S. Special Operations Forces during the Somali Civil War, took place in Mogadishu, Somalia, from August to October 1993. On the afternoon of Oct. 3, armed militants shot down two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, after which U.S. ground forces converged on the two downed aircraft to recover the personnel. The ensuing intense firefight resulted in the loss of 18 American Soldiers and remains an especially significant point in the history of the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Special Operations Command specifically.
2021 marks the 28th anniversary of Operation Gothic Serpent.