Two GIs killed in Somalia awarded Medals of Honor

May 24, 1994|By Newsday

WASHINGTON -- Two members of the secret U.S. Delta Force team were awarded posthumous Medals of Honor by a subdued President Clinton, who handed the nation's highest award for valor to the widows of Army Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart.

"Gordon and Shughart were real American heroes," said Mr. Clinton of the two Special Forces snipers who died defending the crew of an Army helicopter shot down during a fierce firefight in Somalia Oct. 3. They were the first Medals of Honor to be awarded for service since the Vietnam War.

Sixteen other U.S. soldiers -- mainly Army Rangers -- were killed and more than 70 wounded during an abortive mission to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid. Mr. Clinton ended the covert operation and announced a U.S. withdrawal after the battle, which killed 300 Somalis and wounded 700.

At one point yesterday, the White House ceremony was taken over by Gordon's children, 6-year-old Ian and 3-year-old Brittany. They left the audience of Cabinet officials and generals to sit with their mother, Carmen, who was seated behind Mr. Clinton with Stephanie Shughart.

As Carmen Gordon, of Lincoln, Maine, wiped away tears, her children fingered the glass-encased medal draped from a bright blue ribbon dotted with tiny white stars.

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