…..Setting: 5 hour firefight for C CO. In Mogadishu, Somalia PRIOR TO Oct. 3, 1993…..names changed in excerpt…….
September 25, 1993.
As Carr continued to cover their flank with the M60, the fighting intensified.
“RPG! RPG!” Sgt. Boult yelled as his team began suppressing a partially opened doorway in which stood an approximately 12-year-old boy with an RPG.
The boy fired, but fired short, and was promptly killed.
Now, as Poncho had feared, his team began taking heavy fire at their 10 and 1 o’clock positions, with the 1 o’clock being the most vulnerable. To their 1 o’clock, a 3 story building erupted with fire coming from each floor, causing the fire teams to return 40mm grenades in volume into the building, while the squad’s machine guns ripped each floor apart.
Spc. Archibald yelled out that he was running low on ammo as the cobra gunships tore through the buildings around them in an attempt to cover the soldiers exposed on the ground. SSG Rossman was able to eventually secure another 200 M-60 rounds from 1st sergeant Doody just as several explosions ripped around Poncho’s Humvee.
Poncho saw his gunner retrieving something from the Humvee. Believing the gunner needed his help, Poncho got up to assist him. Just as Rossman got to the site, several additional explosions rocked the group again as they took a volley from RPG’s, followed by automatic gunfire. As SSG Rossman got to the team, Poncho fell back into the street, seemingly unconscious. Rossman yelled for Poncho, believing that the explosions had knocked him unconscious, but to no avail.
As Rossman grabbed Poncho, he noticed a small one-inch hole in the left side of his neck. At first, there was no blood. But within just a few seconds, the wound began pulsating, covering Rossman with Poncho’s blood as it shot several feet into the air from the wound. Rossman immediately yelled for the medic, Hannerhoff. After several more minutes and no medic arriving to dress Poncho’s wounds, Rossman continued to save Poncho as best he could, using Poncho’s field dressing and applying pressure to the wound. Long then ran through heavy fire to get a medic.
As SFC Ricard arrived at their position in leu of the medic, Poncho was still conscious and able to speak.
“What do we have here?” SFC Ricard asked the pair..
“I need to get the fuck out of here…” Poncho replied as he choked on his own blood from the wound in his neck.
“We’re working on it buddy.” SFC Ricard calmly replied as he took over treating Poncho’s wound from SSG Rossman.
As Rossman started to assess the situation of the rest of his squad, Archibald yelled out that he had been hit as SGT Boult pulled Archibald out of the turret where he had been manning the machine gun which was now conspicuously silenced. Ssg. Rossman noticed a bullet hole that had ripped through the windshield of the Humvee and had initially thought Arch had been gut-shot, but it turned out to be his leg.
Ssg. Rossman jumped into the turret to man the M-60, finding it difficult to operate with his hands slick with the blood of his soldiers. From the waist down he was soaked in blood, and his hands and wrists were as well.
As the battle raged on, 1st Sergeant Doody and Ssg. Rossman coordinated several 40mm strikes at a sniper position, using HE and CS rounds. The gunships also took turns ripping through the enemy positions in the surrounding buildings.
Excerpt from “Blood on the Altar”, a chapter in “Behind the Gun”