About SFC Shughart
Randall David “Randy” Shughart (August 13, 1958 – October 3, 1993) was a United States Army soldier of the special operations unit, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), also known as “Delta Force”.
Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.
Randy Shughart was born on August 13, 1958 in Lincoln, Nebraska into an U.S. Air Force family. After his father, Herbert Shughart, left the Air Force, the Shugharts moved to Newville, Pennsylvania to live and work on a dairy farm.
He joined the Army while attending Big Spring High School in Newville, entering upon graduation in 1976. After completing basic training, he successfully completed AIT (advanced individual training), Airborne School, and in 1978 was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Lewis, Washington. Several months later he completed a pre-ranger course (currently known as SURT, Small Unit Ranger Tactics), was granted a slot to attend Ranger School, graduated, and earned the Ranger Tab. He left active duty and went into the Army Reserve in June 1980.
In December 1983, Randy returned to active duty and the following year attended Special Forces training. He was assigned to “Delta Force” and was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in June 1986. He was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3, 1993 during Operation Gothic Serpent, an assault mission to apprehend advisers to Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The Black Hawk helicopter with the call sign Super Six One, was shot down in the city. A Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) team came to secure it. Then, a second Black Hawk helicopter, call sign Super Six Four, was shot down. Shughart, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings had been providing sniper cover from the air. Gary Gordon wanted to be inserted to secure the crash site and hostile Somalis were converging on the area. Mission commanders denied Gordon’s request twice, saying that the situation was too dangerous for the Delta snipers to protect the crew from the ground. Command’s position was that the snipers could be of more assistance by providing air cover. Gordon, however, repeated his request until he got permission. Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings stayed to provide cover. Shughart and Gordon were inserted approximately 100m from the crash site, armed with their sniper rifles and sidearms, and made their way to the downed Blackhawk. Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant was already defending the aircraft with an MP5 but was unable to move from his chair due to a crushed vertebra in his back and a compound fracture of his left femur. When they reached Super Six Four, they extracted Durant and the crew members from the crash and defended the aircraft.
It is believed that Gordon was first to be shot by the mob, which had surrounded the crash site. Shughart retrieved Gordon’s CAR-15 rifle and gave it to Durant to use. Shortly after, Shughart was killed, the site was overrun and Durant was taken hostage. According to Michael Durant’s book In the Company of Heroes, the Somalis counted 25 of their militia dead after the firefight. There was some confusion in the aftermath of the action as to who had been killed first. The official citation states that it was Shughart, but author Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, relates an account by Sergeant Paul Howe who heard Shughart call for help on the radio and that the weapon handed to Durant was not the distinctive M14 rifle used by Shughart. Furthermore, Howe said that Gordon would not have given his weapon to someone while he could still fight. Durant later admitted that he initially misidentified which man was killed first, but did not wish to change the official record.
Shughart is buried in Westminster Cemetery, Carlisle, PA.
His citation reads as follows:
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.
Presentation of the Medal of Honor by President Clinton
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 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.