By Christopher Miskimon

Lieutenant James Lechner, a member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, went to Somalia in 1993 as part of a U.S. task force deployed to restore order in that war-torn nation. The Rangers soon became involved in the capture of Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed. In October the unit is assigned to carry out a daylight raid to capture two of the warlord’s senior lieutenants. The group fast ropes from helicopters and enters the city via a ground convoy; they quickly achieve their initial objective but are soon beset by a quick response from hostile fighters. When one of the mission’s Black Hawk helicopters is shot down, the mission devolves into a bloody battle to rescue the helicopter’s crew and get the American force out of the heart of Mogadishu. Thousands of local fighters descend upon them intent on wiping out the U.S. force.

The author relays his firsthand account with detail, a professional’s analysis and the authenticity of someone who was there. Despite the odds, the Rangers stayed together and fought through despite the incredible odds against them. The author’s descriptions of the action are impressive and engaging. The book provides a new perspective on the famed “Black Hawk Down” incident made famous in books and film.

With My Shield: The Experiences of an Army Ranger in Somalia (James Lechner, Osprey Publishing, Oxford UK, 2023, maps, photographs, notes, bibliography, index, $32, HC)

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