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Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart. (U.S. Army photo)
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Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart

Army Ranger Died Defending Black Hawk Crew in Somalia

"It takes a remarkable person to not just read a creed, or memorize a creed, but to live a creed," Stephanie Shughart said in accepting the Medal of Honor awarded posthumously to her husband. Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart lived -- and died -- by the Ranger creed: "I will not fail those with whom I serve."

The actions of Task Force Ranger on Oct. 3, 1993, are well chronicled in the book "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden. Task Force Ranger went into Somalia as part of a joint task force after militia leader Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed went underground. The force's mission was to oust two of Aideed's key lieutenants in the Habr Gidr clan.

As a member of Task Force Ranger's sniper team, Shughart provided critical and precise firing. After learning a Black Hawk helicopter had been downed, Shughart and his team leader, Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, volunteered without hesitation -- not once or twice, but three times -- to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel at the crash site. Under intense enemy fire, equipped with only their sniper rifles and pistols, Shughart and Gordon fought their way to the injured crew members and established a perimeter to protect them. Shughart continued protective firing until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded.

"Randall Shughart died in the most courageous and selfless way ... clearly above and beyond the call of duty," President Clinton said at Shughart's Medal of Honor presentation. Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, the pilot of the downed Black Hawk, said, "Without a doubt, I owe my life to these two men [Shughart and Gordon, who also was killed defending the Black Hawk crew] and their bravery."

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