The 30-year anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, also known as Operation Gothic Serpent, is approaching.
“I believe this 30th year anniversary will highlight the need for business communities and veteran communities to continue rekindle that relationship and to just basically like I said, tell them you love them and thank you for your service,” retired Army Ranger John Burns said.
The battle was made into a book and movie commonly know as Black Hawk Down, and the soldiers will be gathering in Knoxville all together for the first time since that battle.
“They deserve to have a chance to just let their hair down, relax a little bit and get acquainted with the city of Knoxville who has extended the olive branch of peace to men who have spent their entire life focusing on fighting war,” said Burns.
During the Battle of Mogadishu, soldiers had to run what is now famously known as the Mogadishu Mile where they had to run through the streets of Somalia being shot at the entire time until they made it to a safe spot one mile away.
“There was a period where the wounded was loaded into vehicles and there wasn’t room for abled body men to actually get in the vehicles with them. They had to run literally down the streets of Somalia being fired at from 360 degrees and make it back,” said retired Army Ranger Jason Moore.
During the reunion weekend, community members will have a chance to honor those soldiers by running a Mogadishu Mile through the streets of Knoxville on Oct. 7.
“We are going to have a Mogadishu mile here during the event on the Saturday and we’re hoping to get the whole community out there. We’re going to have flybys with a squadron of helicopters, we’re going to have a bunch of guys actually running it who actually ran the first Mogadishu Mile in Somalia,” said Moore.
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