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Randall ShughartRandall Shughart

Born: August 13, 1958
Lincoln, Nebraska

War: Somalia

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)

Official Citation:
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 position.

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.

Of Note:
"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.

©2003 GWETA