What do you remember about Black Hawk Down?

Deane Kimerer

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

This quiz will see how well you remember the 2001 movie, "Black Hawk Down," which is based on a book written by Mark Bowden about Mogadishu, Somalia, in East Africa.

What did the code word "Irene" mean?

This was the code to signal the US Army Rangers and Delta Force to start their mission. The "little birds," Blackhawk helicopters and humvees all timed their departure from the JOC to head toward the target point in Mogadishu.

What were Night Stalkers?

This nickname was given to these elite U.S. military men, due to their skill at completing their missions successfully at night.

When did the mission occur that the movie is based on?

The mission took a turn for the worse when Somali militia shot down two Black Hawk helicopters (at 1315 and 1640, per one source) after the Somali targets were captured. The Somali militia outnumbered the American special forces (Deltas and Rangers) by approximately 100. This turn of events caused the mission to go longer than the estimated initial time period, that was estimated to last 30-60 minutes maximum. The Army's 10th Mtn. Division was involved, too.

How many died, both on the U.S. and Somali sides, during this mission of two days?

19 out of 100-115 American Special Forces were killed, according to the movie. This number was higher than expected, due to the elite forces responding. The movie and most sources claim that 1,000 Somalis were killed in action, but Somali sources claimed 350-500. All three CWO pilots died in the two downed Black Hawks of Super 6-1 and Super 6-4, with only CWO Durant of Super 6-4 surviving. However, CWO Frank of Super 6-4 survived and lived for a short time, due to snipers Gordon and Shughart pulling him from the wreckage at the Super 6-4/#2 crash site.

What were the Deltas offered as they entered the safe zone of the Pakistani stadium?

It was surreal after walking a mile, due to Humvees being full of the injured and dead; the Deltas stared in disbelief at the Pakistani men offering them water from round trays they held as if they were all at a party!

Hoot (SFC Norm Gibson) said what to the looters at crash site #2?

Looters were sorting through the crash site when Hoot and other special forces arrived. Hoot said this phrase when he saw the looters in and around the Blackhawk helicopter at crash site #2. The helicopter was "secured" when they blew it up as Hoot and the Deltas jumped out of the way in the movie. In the chow line at base, Hoot was preparing to go back into the fight, despite not being asked to do so.

Who were the "skinnies" that the U.S. Special Forces referred to?

The Somalian militia were called "skinnies." They were extremely thin due to their starvation by Aidid.

What were "chalks" and what did they do in the movie?

A chalk is a group of soldiers that deploy together. There were four chalks in this mission. One set would go in and grab the targets in the building in the market Bakara area. One would set up a perimeter. One would fly above, waiting for extraction. One would be on the ground in Humvees to extract.

Which Special Forces volunteered to go to Crash Site #2, despite the danger?

These two elite Delta snipers volunteered to go to crash site #2 to help the crew. They fought as long as they could and even shared ammunition. Both snipers were killed, as was one of the pilots at the crash site. However, one pilot ended up being a POW from this crash site #2. They were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which was the first time since the Vietnam War that such an honor was bestowed.

How long was pilot Michael Durant held as a POW?

Michael Durant was saved by the heroic actions of two U.S. Delta snipers, Delta Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Delta Sgt. First Class Randy Shughart, who volunteered to go in to save them. Unfortunately, these two were not able to save Durant's other crew member or themselves. An angry mob of Somalia militia dragged one American soldier's body through the streets.

What was the estimated time for the mission in Fall 1993?

Some of the special forces left behind night vision goggles, estimating they'd be back soon. It was a daytime operation, so they didn't think they'd be gone long enough to need them later.

When did General Garrison retire from the U.S. Military?

General Garrison took full responsibility for the mission's outcome, even though the mission was carried out without all of the needed equipment or support from the American government. The Somalia targets were captured, but the mission wasn't a quick and easy extraction as predicted, due to the Somali militia's firepower, including RPGs, AK-47s and machine guns.

Who did General Garrison meet with, after shooting his convoy's engine?

Atto was a Somali ally of Aidid, who supplied Aidid with firearms. Women and children used these firearms against U.S. ground forces and helicopters. Atto claimed there was only one vehicle and no convoy when he was captured.

Who wrote "Blackhawk Down"?

Mark Bowden utilized tapes, records and flight logs from individuals at the mission who leaked them; the Pentagon didn't release them. Delta Rangers assisted with the film. Mark is a correspondent for "The Atlantic," and he has written other books with high honors. He is a graduate of Loyola University Maryland. He has been a professor at his alma mater and the University of Delaware.

Who fell out of the Black Hawk helicopter in the movie?

Inquirer.philly.com reported that First Class Todd Blackburn, who was 18 at the time, fell out of the helicopter with Chalk 4 because he missed the rope when the men were roping down out of the Black Hawk UH-60. In the movie, however, the pilot's maneuver made the UH-60 slant when an RPG came flying toward it, and then Blackburn is shown falling out. It is reported that the fall didn't kill him.

What was said on speaker from a helicopter after Mike Durant was captured from the crash site?

In the movie, Mike was surrounded by Somali militia, plus armed and unarmed civilians at his helicopter crash site. He was pistol whipped and taken alive.

Who were the targets to capture?

Abdi was the defense minister and Omar was a top political advisor to the senior leadership under warlord Aidid. Osama Bin Laden claimed to have helped Aidid and his cause by supplying weapons, etc.; however, there is no evidence to support this claim.

What did the U.S. intelligence source place on top of his vehicle and why was it there? Extra points if you remember his code name!

This undercover Somalia male put his car's hood up as the signal to the U.S. special forces that this was the correct location. He went to the wrong area at first, not wanting to be in front of the correct building where the targets were located, out of fear of being recognized. However, U.S. General Garrison said no payment until he moved to the target. Awaleh (in Aidid's leadership) claimed that they knew of all U.S. intel sources. This source's code name was Lincoln.

Was the main market area full of weapons and militia?

Many Somali men were seen with RPGs on their backs, as well as other males carrying AK-47 rifles, with some shooting them off in the air.

When Hoot got out of the Humvee, what did he and his squad head toward?

Durant's crash site couldn't be reached easily by ground forces, due to the roadblocks (burning tires and wrecked vehicles) and RPGs, which already proved to be deadly to two Black Hawks and dangerous to others who managed to survive. Hoot didn't hesitate in volunteering to go back out to save the injured and in some cases, dying U.S. special forces who were surrounded by Somali militia near the crash site. In the chow line back in the safe zone of their compound, Eversmann (Josh Harnett) asked Hoot (Eric Bana) why he was going back out and he replied, "There are still men out there. It's about the men next to you. That's it. That's all it is."

Which weapon shot down two helicopter Black Hawk UH-60s?

The ammunition used by the Somali militia was supposedly supplied for the most part by Mr. Atto. He's the man seen meeting with U.S. General Garrison at the beginning of the movie.

Who said this during Durant's captivity: "In Somalia, killing is negotiation"?

He is shown talking to Durant in an interrogation, but not in a violent way. It is said that Firimbi, a warlord, actually paid the ransom set for Durant.

Did the secretary of state deny equipment, etc.?

According to Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, the items that were denied by the U.S. Secretary of State were: armor, an aircraft carrier and an AC-130 gun ship.

Who were the four pilots of the two downed Black Hawk UH-60s, called Super 61 and Super 64?

The Super 61 pilots died on impact. Both Super 64 pilots were alive on impact. Snipers Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart on Super 62 tried to rescue the Super 64 pilots, but both were killed in the rescue attempt. CWO Raymond Frank was killed by Somali militia. Pilot Durant is the only one who survived. Durant graduated from flight school in 1983, was part of the 160th Delta Special Operations Delta Regiment as a flight lead and simulation Officer. He retired in 2001 and is the CEO of Pinnacle Solutions which specializes in aviation simulations.

Was there a third helicopter that was shot by an RPG?

This third helicopter was a rescue unit. It was hit by an RPG while men were on the rope, but the helicopter was able to make it back safely to the JOC.

Who said this: "We've lost the initiative"?

Garrison said this, because, even though the first crash was dealt with properly, the second crash was dealt with in a hurried fashion as it unfolded. Captain Craig Nixon was next to him as he said it. Task Ranger Force didn't have all they needed in the mission to respond to these crashes, due to the refusal of requests from General Garrison by upper-level U.S. government officials.

Who gave Delta Master Sergeant Gary Gordon's weapon to Pilot CWO Michael Durant?

Delta sniper Shughart from Super 62 gave the weapon to Durant, after Gordon was killed by the Somalia mob of about 150 at the crash site. Durant had an MP-5 before that point, but he had run out of ammo. Durant had a knife and a pistol, but he didn't draw either one.

Who was on his hands and knees cleaning up blood in the JOC operating room?

This scene took place during the aftermath of the helicopters being shot down and after the key figures were captured from the building near the Bakara market and the hotel. So many men were killed or injured.

Why were tires and vehicles being burned in the streets?

Cluttered piles of tires and wrecked vehicles were burned in the streets as the Black Hawk MH/UH-60 and Little Bird "Killer Egg" MH-6 light helicopters were flying into the mission in Mogadishu's hostile territory near the market, Bakara. The patterns of U.S. flight exercises had been memorized by the Somali militia. The U.S. ground forces were ambushed with these street fires, causing immediate casualties upon their arrival that early afternoon.

How far away was the JOC compound from the crash sites?

The Pakistani stadium was one mile from the hostile territory and on the other side of the Black Sea, which was the area of the mission and the downed Black Hawk helicopters near the Olympic Hotel and Bakara Market. The stadium was closer than the JOC compound, and, since some men had to walk that last mile, due to so many wounded and dead in the Humvee convoys, it was a better option.

Medals were awarded to the widows of which fallen men?

These two snipers were the first to receive this medal since Vietnam. They had volunteered to go to the second crash site of Super 6-4 to help their fellow Special Forces who were badly injured. They had been denied twice, due to the risk involved. Gordon and Shughart pulled the crew out, including Ray Frank, and they returned to the crash site twice to retrieve more ammo, saving the pilot Durant and the crew. Durant's co-pilot, Frank, was killed by the angry mob, however.

Why was the Somali militia firing on the unarmed civilians in the opening scene of the movie?

This scene involved a machine gun stationed on top of a Somalia Humvee that was fired by Somalia militia personnel into the crowd. The victims had been waiting for rice.

Were some items left behind at base camp/JOC, due to the mission occurring in the daytime?

Some thought that it would be a fast operation - less than an hour - so they left some items behind that were crucial for a night operation, such as night goggles (NODs). Water was left behind in some cases, as it was believed the mission would take only 30-60 minutes, but it continued into the next day, October 4, 1993.

What was the target's nickname?

This nickname, Elvis, was in reference to Aidid, who was near the Olympic Hotel meeting with top-level advisors in his Habr Gidr clan. He had a $25,000 price tag, set by the U.S. government and U.N. for his capture, after his regime killed 24 Pakistani peacekeepers. The mission went from providing aid/food to the Somali civilians, who already had 300,000 dead, to suddenly a manhunt for Aidid and his top leaders so future peacekeepers wouldn't be targeted. Not all military leaders agreed with this change of the humanitarian mission.

Could the Little Birds land in Mogadishu streets, even though the Black Hawks couldn't?

The narrow streets made landing impossible for the Black Hawk UH-60 helicopters, so they had to hover at low heights, which created a dangerous situation for the Deltas and Rangers who were fast-roping out. Rooftops were possible but not used for the Black Hawks to land, because that maneuver left them too vulnerable to enemy fire. Little Birds worked out well, with their sideboards holding the special forces.

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