Silver Star Awarded to Army Ranger Who Came to Aid of Fellow Troops During Battle of Mogadishu

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April 4, 2024
Retired Army Maj. Larry Moores in front of Gunslinger

More than three decades after his actions during the infamous Battle of Mogadishu, retired Army Maj. Larry Moores has been awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest award for acts of valor.

Moores was presented with the medal in a ceremony March 25 for his role in the fight as a young Army Ranger with 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, which included coming to the aid of other troops who were pinned down while under fire.

“Mr. Moores, I personally salute you for your tenacity, your toughness in a crucible combat, and your commitment to our Army, and your fellow soldiers,” Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, said while presenting the award. “Your actions in Somalia were for them, your brothers in arms, and are a living tribute to the Ranger Creed, which I know that you hold dearly.”

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Immortalized by the 2001 blockbuster movie “Black Hawk Down,” the real battle between U.S. troops and Somali militiamen occurred from Oct. 3 to Oct. 4, 1993.

Moores was assigned to Task Force Ranger, which had been deployed that summer to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and included Rangers, special operations troops and aviators.

What started as an overnight firefight between militiamen and U.S. forces quickly went south when two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were shot down while conducting a raid aimed at capturing two of Farrah Aidid’s lieutenants.

According to retired Army Col. Larry Perino, a fellow Ranger platoon leader who served alongside Moores during the battle, Moores played an active role in saving other service members’ lives that night.

“Larry is deserving because he chose to go back to that street to try and break us out,” Perino said at the ceremony, according to a statement from the Army. “Despite going out there and getting riddled with bullets time and time again and losing Rangers, he had the intestinal fortitude to lead his men to help us.”

Moores recalled the battle at the ceremony, saying, “We lost 18 [soldiers] in battle and had more than 70 Rangers wounded. That was a tough experience because we were overwhelmed, with the odds against us. But it was amazing to watch the young Rangers still execute under very difficult circumstances.”

For his service, Moores was inducted as a distinguished member of the 75th Ranger Regiment in 2005 and into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2017.

In 2021, the Army upgraded 60 awards for troops injured and killed in the battle, including 58 Silver Stars and two Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroism displayed during “aerial flight.”

Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, both Delta operators, were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for attempting to protect one of the downed Black Hawk pilots, Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant, as Somalis closed in around them.

Although more than 30 years has passed since the infamous battle, the U.S. has maintained a tumultuous presence in Somalia.

Between 2019 and 2021, the U.S. drew back its physical presence in the African country. The following year, then-U.S. Africa Command commanding officer Gen. Stephen Townsend told lawmakers that the drawdown was a mistake, citing the need for a continued counterterrorism force, which the U.S. maintains to this day.

“In East Africa, al-Qaida’s al-Shabab remains the greatest threat to U.S. persons and interests in the region as well as the homeland, while undermining peace, security and political progress in Somalia,” Townsend told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a 2022 hearing. “If left unchecked, al-Shabab will soon expand beyond Somalia’s borders and become an even greater threat to regional stability and American interests.”

Most recently, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a resolution in April 2023 to the House floor that would have required the U.S. withdraw entirely from its counterterrorism efforts in Somalia. The resolution was shot down in a 102-321 vote.

Just shy of 500 troops — mostly special operations personnel — made up the U.S. military’s remaining presence in Somalia as of June 2023.

— Rachel Nostrant is a Marine Corps veteran and freelance journalist, with work published in Reuters, New York Magazine, Military Times and more.

Related: Army Upgrades 60 Awards for ‘Black Hawk Down’ Battle

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