Graphic Novel Features Delta Force Snipers

Graphic Novel Features Delta Force Snipers

Gordon and Shugart Medal of Honor graphic novel cover
Photo by: AUSA

Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randy Shughart, who gave their lives to save their fellow soldiers during the fierce Battle of Mogadishu, are the focus of the latest graphic novel in the Association of the U.S. Army’s series on recipients of the nation’s highest award for valor.

Medal of Honor: Gary Gordon & Randy Shughart tells of the two special operations soldiers’ actions during the October 1993 battle made famous by the book and subsequent movie, Black Hawk Down. During the battle, Gordon and Shughart volunteered to be inserted at the site of a downed helicopter to protect the pilots and crew.

“Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart asked not once, not twice, but three times to go on the mission that ultimately claimed their lives,” said Joseph Craig, director of AUSA’s Book Program. “I’m proud that we can share their story in this new graphic novel. As always, the creative team behind this project has produced an amazing portrait of courage and sacrifice.”

Medal of Honor: Gary Gordon & Randy Shughart is available here.

AUSA launched its Medal of Honor graphic novel series in October 2018. This is the 16th novel in the series. The digital graphic novels are available here.

In 1993, as a civil war raged in Somalia, U.S. troops, including Army Rangers and Delta Force operators, were sent to protect United Nations humanitarian aid efforts and crack down on the warlords who were seizing food rations before they could reach the local population, according to DoD.

On Oct. 3, 1993, American troops launched a mission over Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, to capture the notorious warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed. The daytime mission quickly went awry when two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by rocket-propelled grenades.

One of the helicopters, call sign Super 64, was piloted by Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mike Durant. His crew was critically wounded while Durant was trapped in the wreckage. Somali fighters started to gather from every direction, with only the fire from circling American helicopters keeping them at bay.

Gordon and Shughart, snipers with the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, also known as Delta Force, were in one of the gunships from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment up above. Learning that ground forces weren’t going to make it to the Super 64 crash site, Gordon and Shughart volunteered—three times—to go instead.

Dropped off 100 meters away, Gordon and Shughart fought their way through enemy gunfire and “a dense maze of shanties and shacks,” according to DoD. At the crash site, they quickly assessed Durant’s injuries and pulled him and his crew from the wreckage. 

Under constant fire, Gordon and Shughart picked off enemy fighters with deadly accuracy, holding off the horde as they waited for reinforcements.

The men continued to fight until only Gordon was left standing. His own rifle ammunition depleted, Gordon grabbed another weapon, checked on Durant and went back into the fight. 

A massive wave of automatic fire finally silenced the Delta resistance, and Durant, the sole survivor, was taken prisoner for 11 days. His co-pilot and the crew chiefs, CW4 Ray Frank and Staff Sgts. Tom Field and Bill Cleveland, were posthumously awarded the Silver Star for their actions under fire.

The full-scale battle continued for about 15 hours, into the early morning of Oct. 4. In all, 18 U.S. troops were killed and many more wounded, according to DoD.

Gordon and Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor during a May 23, 1994, ceremony at the White House.

“Gordon and Shughart knew their own chances of survival were extremely bleak,” President Bill Clinton said at the ceremony. “Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart died in the most courageous and selfless way any human being can act. They risked their lives without hesitation.”

Each AUSA graphic novel is created by a team of professional comic book veterans. The script for the graphic novel on Gordon and Shughart was written by Chuck Dixon, whose previous work includes Batman, The Punisher and The ’Nam.

Pencils, inks and the cover were by PJ Holden, who has worked on Judge Dredd, Battlefields and World of Tanks; colors were by Peter Pantazis, who previously worked on Justice League, Superman and Black Panther; and the lettering was by Troy Peteri, who has worked on Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men.