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.

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On Oct. 3, 1993, a contingent of U.S. special operations forces deployed consisting of soldiers from the Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta and 75 Ranger Regiment, launched what was supposed to be a relatively simple mission: enter the Somali capital of Mogadishu and capture a handful of warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid's top stooges.

The resulting raid, known as the Battle of Mogadishu, was a complete disaster— and everything went sideways with the downing of a MH-60 A/L Black Hawk helicopter that would forever immortalize the mission in American culture as "Black Hawk Down."

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The new year is right around the corner.

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A still from 'Black Hawk Down' (Sony Pictures)

FORT DRUM — A fierce battle involving Fort Drum soldiers in Somalia began on Oct. 3, 1993, with a radio transmission — “black hawk down."

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Army photo by Staff Sgt. Marcus Fichtl)

A Navy SEAL was killed and two other U.S. service members were wounded in Somalia on May 5 when they came under attack by members of al Shabab, a Somali-based militant group aligned with al Qaeda, The New York Times reports.

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Just Jared/Warrior (2011)

If there’s one thing actor Tom Hardy does well, it’s go to war — or, at least, acting like he’s going to war. From his role as Twombly in "Black Hawk Down" to his upcoming performances in “Dunkirk” and Navy SEAL TV series “War Party,” Hardy’s put himself through the ringer to accurately capture what it's like to throw yourself headfirst into battle.

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