Two Black Hawk helicopters were shot out of the sky in Somalia exactly 23 years ago in the Battle of Mogadishu, leading to the deaths of 18 Americans and thousands of Somalis.
Footage of the helicopters getting blown out of the air by RPGs didn’t exist, only memorialized through the accounts of those present via the film Black Hawk Down in 2001 — until just a few years ago, when CBS News uncovered never-before-seen footage of a chopper getting hit and spinning out of control.
Task Force Ranger, a joint group comprised of Army Rangers and Delta Force troops, was ordered to seize the top lieutenants of warlord Mohammed Farrah Aidid Oct. 3, 1993, after stalking Aidid for months.
The mission was theoretically simple. Delta Force operators would storm the building and Army Rangers would block the perimeter to prevent exits.
Intelligence pointed to a meeting of Aidid and his lieutenants near the Olympic Hotel, but shortly after the operation began, events took a turn for the worse.
After the U.S. ground convoy was loaded with captured warlord leaders, crowds of angry Somalis started to gather.
Rocket-propelled grenades took out two Black Hawk helicopters, forcing Task Force Ranger into a bloody rescue operation lasting approximately 17 hours and resulting in the deaths of 18 Americans. Dozens more Americans were wounded. The Somalis suffered hundreds — possibly thousands — of casualties.
WATCH: Black Hawk Down Helicopter Crash