|Born: August 13, 1958
Rank: Sergeant First
Class, U.S. Army
(Sniper Team Member)
Location of action: Mogadishu, Somalia
Date of action: October 3, 1993
Medal received from: President Bill Clinton,
May 1994 (posthumously)
Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished
himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October
1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army
Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu,
Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper
fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building
and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense
automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While
providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site,
Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that
ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site.
Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly
volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded
personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of
enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request
to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader
received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When
debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort
the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team
leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site.
Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First
Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small
arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze
of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew
members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and
the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter
which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable
Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range
rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers
while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant
First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he
depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions
saved the pilot's life. Sergeant First Class Shughart's extraordinary
heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest
standards of military service and reflect great credit upon
him, his unit and the United States Army.
Randall Shughart was born in Lincoln, Nebraska where his father
was stationed at Lincoln Air Force Base. After his father was
discharged, the family moved to Newville, Pennsylvania and Shughart
grew up on the family’s dairy farm. A graduate of Big
Spring High School in Newville, he had a brother and two sisters,
and worked hard tending the herd and farming. He enlisted in
the Army while still in school, and went to Ranger school at
Ft. Lewis in Washington after basic training. After qualifying
for Special Forces, he was transferred to Ft. Bragg, North Carolina
before being sent to Somalia.
"Without a doubt, I owe my life to these two men and their bravery," said Mike Durant, whose life was saved by the actions of SFC Shughart and MSG Gary Gordon. "Those guys came in when they had to know it was a losing battle," Durant said of the two men. "There was nobody else left to back them up. If they had not come in, I wouldn't have survived."
Read an except from
an interview with Michael Durant.
Watch a video clip of this story.