6 Things You Probably Never Knew About Black Hawk Down

Entertainment
Screengrab via Sony Pictures

The 2001 blockbuster “Black Hawk Down” is a favorite among service members and veterans alike. Depicting the 1993 raid to capture Mohamed Farah Aidid and subsequent Battle of Mogadishu, “Black Hawk Down” provided a pro-soldier narrative, a look into what happens when a mission goes wrong, and some straight up awesome action scenes.


Here are six things you didn’t know about Black Hawk Down.

"Only the dead have seen an end to war."

The movie opens with a quote attributed to philosopher Plato. Gen. Douglas MacArthur first misquoted this phrase as being said by Plato, but it was actually written by George Santayana in his book, “The Life of Reason.”

Bonus: An earlier cut of the movie opened with a quote from poet T.S. Eliot, which said, “All our ignorance brings us closer to death.”

The fast rope scenes were real.

The Department of Defense actually gave the producers a platoon of Army Rangers to perform the fast rope scenes. They also flew real helicopters in most scenes, not using computer-generated imagery except for crash sequences.

The aircraft used during the filming were from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and most of the pilots were involved in the actual battle in 1993. Many of the Army Rangers in the film were actual Rangers, serving with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

The movie’s reception was influenced by 9/11.

Although this movie was released shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, the movie was actually completed long before. The outpouring of patriotism bolstered viewership, however. It also became one of the most culturally significant films released during George W. Bush’s term in office.

The movie was based on a book.

The movie is an adaptation of “Black Hawk Down,” a book by Mark Bowden, based on a series of articles he published in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The 29-part series focused on 100 characters, 39 of whom were featured in the movie.

The actors went to boot camp.

In order to maintain legitimacy, the actors playing Rangers participated in a crash, one-week Ranger-familiarization course at Fort Benning. The Delta Force actors took a two-week commando course from the 1st Special Warfare Training Group at Fort Bragg. Additionally, captured aviator Michael Durant spoke with Ron Eldard and the actors playing 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment helicopter pilots at Fort Campbell.

The characters wore personalized helmets.

The film features soldiers wearing helmets with their last names on them. Although this was not accurate, director Ridley Scott used this device to help the audience distinguish between the characters because "they all look the same once the uniforms are on."

The first grenade core was accidentally discovered on Nov. 28, 2018, by Virginia Department of Historic Resources staff examining relics recovered from the Betsy, a British ship scuttled during the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. The grenade's iron jacket had dissolved, but its core of black powder remained potent. Within a month or so, more than two dozen were found. (Virginia Department of Historic Resources via The Virginian-Pilot)

In an uh-oh episode of historic proportions, hand grenades from the last major battle of the Revolutionary War recently and repeatedly scrambled bomb squads in Virginia's capital city.

Wait – they had hand grenades in the Revolutionary War? Indeed. Hollow iron balls, filled with black powder, outfitted with a fuse, then lit and thrown.

And more than two dozen have been sitting in cardboard boxes at the Department of Historic Resources, undetected for 30 years.

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Jeremy Cuellar, left, and Kemia Hassel face life in prison if convicted of murdering Army Sgt. Tyrone Hassel III in Berrien County Dec. 31, 2018. (Courtesy of Berrien County Sheriff's Dept.)

BERRIEN COUNTY, MI -- The wife of an Army sergeant killed in December admitted that she planned his killing together with another man, communicating on Snapchat in an attempt to hide their communications, according to statements she made to police.

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A Coast Guard lieutenant arrested this week planned to "murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," according to a court filing requesting he be detained until his trial.

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(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton

At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.

Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.

They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.

What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.

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A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)

The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.

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