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In The Company of Heroes (a letter from a widow to a former P.O.W.)
Amazon.com ^ | May 8, 2003 | CWO4 (retired) Michael J. Durant

Posted on 06/29/2003 6:40:24 PM PDT by Stuckathome

12 November 1993

Dear Mike,

I know that Wednesday evening was as difficult for you as it was for each of us. You will never know how much it meant for me to see you face to face and give you a hug. There are so many things I would like to tell you and ask you but I don't want to cause you any more pain or suffering. When I thanked you for giving Randy's death a purpose I meant it. It is not meant to detract from the bravery or heroism of others that died, however, I can look at you and talk to you and see that his efforts were not in vain. Perhaps your wife can explain to you what I'm sure she too experienced during those days. When you are a wife in this situation the global and political picture pales and you concentrate only on the one you love and what his immediate isolated situation is. Many people may not understand my feelings and indeed it is difficult to express them accurately. But I am going to try to express them to you. I want you to know that because of your bravery and refusal to give up while captured I can sleep at night. Your refusal to be defeated and give up was as brave an act as Randy's. Had you given up I would have never known for sure exactly what happened to him. I can live with the fact of knowing he died to save another man rather than had he died from a random bullet shot from a hidden source. If you knew Randy you would know that he was a very quite and unselfish man. He always put others first and therefore it is fitting and appropriate that he died the way he did. Randy truly loved what he did and had God given him the choice of how to die I know in my heart he would have chosen to go down just as he did. I also know that had Randy been injured in a helicopter you would have piloted a helicopter in to save him no matter how dangerous the situation was. I don't ever want you to question why you lived and Randy and the others with you did not. You lived to come back and give me some peace of mind to what would have been an otherwise unexplainable situation. You are a living reminder and testament of what the Delta soldiers and those that work with them are all about. The squadron can look to you and know that the beliefs they have and the oath they swear to are valid. Randy and Gordy were not alone when they tried to rescue you. They carried a lot of insight, knowledge, and strength from each mate they had ever worked with inside of them. I want you to enjoy your life and be happy. Look back with pride not sorrow. Just as Randy fought to save you, you fought and did not give up, perhaps not knowing you were fighting to save me... from a tortured mind and heart.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Shughart


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Free Republic; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS:
I recently purchased this book at a local bookstore, it came out a few months ago, and it is a great one to read. It's a semi autobiography of CWO4 (retired) Michael J. Durant, the helicopter pilot that was shot down over Somalia in 1993 and received world wide attention as a P.O.W. Mr. Durant has repeatedly stated that he owed his life to the unselfish bravery of the two Delta Force operatives that came to his aid (http://www.marinescoutsniper.com/shughartgordon.html). I might add that the two Delta operatives were denied twice in their request to aid Durant, but were finally given the go ahead after their third request. Surely they knew that they were going into a desperate situation and that they would not come out alive, but that is what true heroism and sacrifice is all about, something these 20 million dollar celebrities and sports athletes today have no clue about.

Towards the end of the book, after he is released from captivity and adjusting towards civilian life, Mr. Durant recalls meeting with the two widows of the Delta operatives. One of them gave him a letter, and above is the letter which Mr. Durant so graciously shares with his readers. It is a most moving and extraordinary piece of writing.

1 posted on 06/29/2003 6:40:24 PM PDT by Stuckathome
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To: Stuckathome
In the mornings
And at the going down of the sun

We will remember them
2 posted on 06/29/2003 6:47:47 PM PDT by Blue Leader
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To: Stuckathome
I bought this book for my son and have not read it yet....my hubby was lucky enough to meet Mike Durant and have him autograph Black Hawk Down for our son too.
3 posted on 06/29/2003 6:55:21 PM PDT by mystery-ak (The War is not over for me until my hubby's boots hit U.S. soil.)
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To: Stuckathome
God Bless Our Troops and Our Vets, may we always remember what they have done for our freedom.
4 posted on 06/29/2003 7:51:01 PM PDT by photogirl (Go faster, or get out of my way...)
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To: photogirl
An excellent book - gives more of the inside story of the Battle of Mogadishu from the perspective of the 160th SOAR. Also, delves into some other 160th stuff you may not have heard about. Not to sound like I'm on the wrong side, but it is clear the blame for the outrageous events of October 3-4, 1993, can be laid (no real surprise here) at the feet of the occupant of the Oval Office in 1993, rather than the Somalis. In fact, were it not for Aidid, and his knowledge of political gamesmanship, and a couple of Somalis who tended to him, Michael Durant would be dead. There is no doubt about that.
5 posted on 06/30/2003 1:08:58 PM PDT by astounded
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To: Stuckathome
The Widow, Stephanie Shugart, was married to Congressional Medal of Honor winner Randy Shugart. Her husband is a legend.

God bless her.



Courtesy: http://www.cmohs.org/recipients/somalia_citation.htm


Gary I. Gordon & Randall D. Shughart

FULL
MEDAL OF HONOR
CITATION

Place: Mogadishu, Somalia
Date: Oct. 3, 1993
Rank and organization: Gordon- Master Sergeant, Shughart- Sergeant First Class,
both U.S. Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger




The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

MASTER SERGEANT
GARY I. GORDON

UNITED STATES ARMY


Rank and organization: Master Sergeant, U.S. Army. Place and date: 3 October 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia. Entered service at: ----- Born: Lincoln, Maine. Citation: Master Sergeant Gordon, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as Sniper Team Leader, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Master Sergeant Gordon's sniper team provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. When Master Sergeant Gordon learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and another sniper unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After his third request to be inserted, Master Sergeant Gordon received permission to perform his volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Master Sergeant Gordon was inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon and his fellow sniper, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Master Sergeant Gordon immediately pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Master Sergeant Gordon used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until he depleted his ammunition. Master Sergeant Gordon then went back to the wreckage, recovering some of the crew's weapons and ammunition. Despite the fact that he was critically low on ammunition, he provided some of it to the dazed pilot and then radioed for help. Master Sergeant Gordon continued to travel the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. After his team member was fatally wounded and his own rifle ammunition exhausted, Master Sergeant Gordon returned to the wreckage, recovering a rifle with the last five rounds of ammunition and gave it to the pilot with the words, "good luck." Then, armed only with his pistol, Master Sergeant Gordon continued to fight until he was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. Master Sergeant Gordon's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army.

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS
RANDALL D. SHUGHART

UNITED STATES ARMY

Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army. Place and date: 3 October 1993, Mogadishu, Somalia. Entered service at: ----- Born: Newville, Pennsylvania. Citation: Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life. Sergeant First Class Shughart's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit and the United States Army

6 posted on 07/01/2003 5:24:44 AM PDT by judicial meanz
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