At the event to commemorate the 20th anniversary, 34 teams of two, or “Ranger Buddies”, gathered in the early morning hours for friendly competition. Teams first accomplished 18 push-ups before sprinting 200 meters to the firing range where they were required to engage four different targets, with each team member taking two shots at each. Participants then completed a 5K run to the SOF Memorial outside the SOCOM headquarters.
“The purpose of the event was to get members of SOCOM to come together and pay tribute and remember those that were lost during the first Battle of Mogadishu, 3 to 4 October 1993,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Zirbel, Military Information Support Operations, Operations Non-Commissioned Officer and co-event organizer.” We wanted to challenge the participants with a good physical event, and then reflect on sacrifices made by our brothers-in-arms.”
The event was highlighted with some remarks from SOCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Chris Faris, a Special Operator who participated in the battle 20 years ago.
“As a veteran of this conflict, seeing everybody here, thank you so much for honoring our fallen, because that’s what this was all about,” said Faris.
Faris stated that Oct. 3 is always a hard day for him -- a day that he remembers in honor of all the men that paid the last full measure a service member can.
“Thank you all for doing this, I’m very humbled, I’m very moved,” Faris said. “Last night we [Faris with his wife Lisa] walked up here to the SOF Memorial, where I had a chance to talk to all my friends up here on the wall. Everybody that fought, and gave that last full measure to the man on their left and their right, thank you for remembering them and never letting them ever, ever be forgotten.”
Having a veteran from Task Force Ranger on hand added a significant impact on this special event.
“Having such a highly respected leader such as CSM Faris volunteer his time to come speak at the Memorial, meant the world to those not only involved in the planning, but the participants as well,” said Zirbel. “His powerful words reinforced the intent of the event, which was to honor the fallen and never forget that we fight for the man or woman to our left and our right.”
The ceremony concluded with the reading of the names of the fallen in the Battle of Mogadishu:
Master Sgt. Gary Gordon – Medal of Honor recipient
Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart – Medal of Honor recipient
Staff Sgt. Daniel Busch
Sgt. 1st Class Earl Fillmore
Sgt. 1st Class Matt Rierson*
Master Sgt. Tim Martin
Corporal Jamie Smith
Specialist James Cavaco
Sgt. Casey Joyce
Private 1st Class Richard Kowalewski
Sgt. Dominick Pilla
Sgt. Lorenzo Ruiz
Staff Sgt. William Cleveland
Staff Sgt. Thomas Field
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Raymond Frank
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Clifton “Elvis” Wolcott
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Donovan “Bull” Briley
Sgt. Cornell Houston
Pfc. James Martin Jr.
*Killed in a mortar attack two days after the battle