Randy Shughart in Film

Randy Shughart, portrayed by Johnny Strong in the 2001 film.

Sgt. First Class Randall 'Randy' David Shughart (August 13, 1958–October 3, 1993) is a posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor. At the time of his death, he was a non-commissioned officer in the United States Army's premiere special operations unit, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D), or "Delta Force." Together with Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions he performed during the Battle of Mogadishu in October 1993.

Randy Shughart was born on August 13, 1958 in Lincoln, Nebraska into an Air Force family. His father, Herbert Shughart, was stationed nearby. The Shughart’s moved to Newville, Pennsylvania after Herb left the Air Force, living on and tending a dairy farm. Randy joined the Army while attending Big Spring High School in Newville, entering upon graduation. After Basic Training, he successfully completed AIT (Advanced Individual Training), Airborne School, and was assigned to the decorated 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Infantry (Airborne), at Fort Lewis, Washington. The 2/75th is now part of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Several months later he completed a pre-ranger course (replaced by the Ranger Indoctrination Program in use today), was granted a slot to attend Ranger School and earned the coveted black and gold Ranger Tab. After leaving the Service and reenlisting again for the rangers, Shughart was later assigned to Special Forces and was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Shughart was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia with other Delta members in the summer of 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3, 1993, Shughart, as part of a three-man Delta Force sniper team including Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings, and team leader Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, participated in Operation Gothic Serpent, a joint-force assault mission to apprehend key advisers to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

During the assault, Super Six One, one of the Army's Blackhawk helicopters providing insertion and air support to the assault team, was shot down and had crashed in the city. The CSAR (Combat Search And Rescue) team was dispatched to the first crash site to secure it. Shortly after, Super Six Four was shot down as well. Ranger forces on the ground were not able to assist the downed helicopter crew of the second crash site as they were already engaged in heavy combat with Aidid's militia and were making their way to the first crash site.

Shughart, Hallings and Gordon, who were providing sniper cover from the air, wanted to be dropped at the second crash site in order to protect the four critically wounded crew, despite the fact that large numbers of armed, hostile Somalis were converging on the area.

As the sniper team leader, Gordon made a formal request to be inserted. Mission commanders denied the request, saying that the situation was already too dangerous for the three Delta snipers to effectively protect the Blackhawk crew from the ground. Command's position was that the snipers could be of more assistance by continuing to cover the site from the air. Gordon, however, concluded that there was no possibility the Blackhawk crew could survive on their own, and kept repeating his request until he finally received permission. Before they could be inserted, a crew chief on their Blackhawk was injured and Hallings had to take his place on the minigun, leaving only Shughart and Gordon to be sent in to defend Super Six Four's crew.

Once on the ground, the Delta snipers, armed with only their personal weapons and sidearms, had to fight their way to the location of the downed Blackhawk. By this time there were more Somalis arriving, intent on either capturing or killing the American servicemen. When they reached Super Six Four, Gordon and Shughart extracted the pilot, CWO Mike Durant and the other crew members from the aircraft, and established defensive positions around the crash site.

Despite heavy casualties inflicted against the Somalis, Gordon and Shughart were outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to withstand the onslaught as their ammunition depleted. It is believed that Gordon was first to be fatally wounded. Shortly after Shughart returned to the wreckage he was killed by Somali gunfire. The mob then overran the crash site, found Durant and captured him.[1]

There was some confusion in the aftermath of the action as who had been killed first. The official citation states that it was Shughart, but Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, the best-selling book about the October 1993 events, relates an account by Sergeant Paul Howe, another Delta operator participating in the battle. Howe said that he heard Shughart call for help on the radio and that the weapon handed to Durant was not the distinctive M14 used by Shughart. Durant already armed with his MP5 (standard-issue automatic weapon for helicopter pilots) which had jammed on him several times. Durant also had a sidearm which he never used. It is likely that Durant would have commented had it been an M14, as that weapon is very different from the CAR-15 Gordon had. Furthermore, Howe said that Gordon would never have given his own weapon to another soldier to use while he was still able to fight.[2]

In Black Hawk Down, Shughart was portrayed by actor Johnny Strong.

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