The Battle of Mogadishu - Book Review
The Battle of Mogadishu : First Hand Accounts From the Men of Task Force
Edited by Matthew Eversman and Daniel Shilling.
Published by Presido Press, August 2004
This book compiles first-hand accounts from members of Task Force
Ranger during the Battle of Mogadishu. Unlike previous volumes is not a
chronological or detailed over-view of the engagement. Instead, the editors
and narratives relate their experiences within a personal focus. Principle
contributors include Army Ranger Eversman, AF Pararescueman Wilikinson, and
AF CCT Shilling.
Each account is told in the storytellers own words and
perspective, which creates an uneven, yet authentic writing style. The
editors wisely did not "stylize" the writing of each contributor. Some
pieces are very well written, while others are less polished. These are
soldiers, not professional writers.
The result is an unique insight of what goes though the head of a war
fighter in combat. The perceptions, reactions, emotions, decisions, can be
unique for each man; yet there are binding themes expressed throughout.
Some of those universal elements that resonated for this reviewer, gleaned
from the cumulative themes of the narrators:
1. Teamwork is paramount.
2. When task-saturated, and operating near maximum, training will carry you
forward, if training doctrine is sound and well practiced.
3. The most simple, mundane task, is very difficult to execute, when one is
under direct fire.
4. Fear is natural. Morale can be transitory. Developing a personal
fear/morale/battle stress coping mechanism is critical.
I was especially interested in the combat stress coping methods, since each
contributor doesn't flatly state, "This is how I deal with combat stress".
It's more of a sub-text that one, "reads between the lines". Coping skills
included tight focus on task, desire not to "let the team down", and gallows
humor. Each contributor does offer , "What I learned that Day" insights, which once again has both central and unique themes among the Storytellers.
Some narratives offer operational critiques, which may provide interest to
readers seeking historical detail. However, I found exceptional value in the telling impact that intense action had upon these men. They were tested,
and discovered or re-affirmed things about themselves.
They were kind enough to share very personal experinces. And, I thank them
for their words, and their service.