Veteran shares story of "Black Hawk Down" in Sarasota

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2013 10:19 pm | Updated: 4:11 pm, Fri Nov 8, 2013.

SARASOTA-- Over the last two decades, there have been many books and movies showcasing the Battle of Mogadishu, also known as "Black Hawk Down." Nobody, however, can tell the story better than someone who actually witnessed it.

Keni Thomas, a retired Army Ranger Staff Sergeant, fought in the battle that began October 3, 1993. Thomas and other soldiers were on the front line to capture a local warlord and his senior staff members. Thomas shared his story during a Legacy of Valor luncheon Thursday afternoon in Sarasota.

"Who would have thought that after twenty years, people would still be interested in the story," said Thomas. "My goal of the story is to make sure everyone in the audience understands leadership never meant being in charge. It's about the example you set."

18 U.S. soldiers died in Mogadishu during the battle and dozens more wounded. Thomas was on the ground when the first black hawk helicopter went down.

"There were about 130 of us running to this crash site, fighting off the city of Mogadishu," said Thomas.

Thomas fought for hours against thousands of armed militiamen and civilians.

"At some point of the battle, you come to peace with the fact that if I did here, I die here, but if I'm not going to let that happen to the guys around me," said Thomas.

Thomas is sharing his message as well in a new book titled "Get it on!" Today's lunch was put on by the Junior Leagues of Sarasota and Manatee county.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

Right Now

weather

Today

weather
80°
Details

Tomorrow

weather
84°
Details

Today

weather
82°
Details

Today

weather
82°
Details
Cool Today

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.