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Delta Force veteran from 'Black Hawk Down' dies at 64
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.
Among the survivors was McMahon, a 1972 Durand High School graduate who served in the U.S. Army for nearly three decades.
Friends and family along with fellow soldiers and veterans on Saturday will lay McMahon to rest at St. Mary Catholic Cemetery in Durand. He died Nov. 5 at age 64, according to his obituary, which did not reference a cause of death.
A McCorkle Funeral Home director said family members did not wish to comment.
The obituary says that McMahon served 16 years in the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment and then later as a member of the elite Delta Force. He retired in 2002 with the rank of sergeant-major. He went on to work as a defense contractor overseas and in the United States. And since 2013, worked as a special operations instructor at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
McMahon was aboard one of two Black Hawk helicopters brought down by rocket-propelled grenades during Operation Gothic Serpent. What began as a humanitarian mission to feed the hungry being starved by Somali warlords in Africa became a combat operation after U.S. soldiers were attacked in August 1993 by forces directed by one of the warlords, Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid, according to "Black Hawk Down" and other sources.
McMahon was one of 99 elite soldiers who were part of Task Force Ranger, consisting of Rangers, Delta Force and others, sent to capture lieutenants of Aidid's Habr Gidr militia. They were ambushed and found themselves "surrounded and trapped in an ancient African city fighting for their lives," Bowden wrote.
A mission that was supposed to last an hour turned into a ferocious 15-hour battle for survival in a hostile city. In addition to the soldiers who were killed, 73 were wounded, a pilot was captured and held captive for 11 days and the U.S. was horrified by television images of angry mobs abusing the bodies of American soldiers.
McMahon, who continued to fight until reinforcements arrived, was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for valor, according to his obituary.
"The Battle of the Black Sea was perceived outside the special operations community as a failure. It was not, at least in strictly military terms," Bowden wrote in the epilogue of his book. "It was a complex, difficult and dangerous assignment, and despite terrible setbacks and losses, and against overwhelming odds, the mission was accomplished."
©2019 Rockford Register Star, Ill. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"