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Luke Phillips
Luke Phillips

Big Mountain Wake Up 1992 [UPDATED]

The United States Army has a long tradition of humanitarian relief. No such operation has proven as costly or shocking, however, as that undertaken in Somalia from August 1992 to March 1994. Greeted initially by Somalis happy to be saved from starvation, U.S. troops were slowly drawn into interclan power struggles and ill-defined &"nation-building" missions. The American people woke up one day in early October 1993 to news reports of dozens of our soldiers killed or wounded in fierce fighting in the streets of the capital city Mogadishu. These disturbing events of a decade ago have taken on increasing meaning after the horrific attacks of 11 September 2001.

Big Mountain Wake Up 1992


The Army began by assisting in relief operations in Somalia, but by December 1992 it was deeply engaged on the ground in Operation RESTORE HOPE in that chaotic African country. In the spring of the following year, the initial crisis of imminent starvation seemed to be over, and the U.S.-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF) turned over the mission to the United Nations, leaving only a small logistical, aviation, and quick reaction force behind to assist. The American public seemed to forget about Somalia. That sense of "mission accomplished" made the evens of 3-4 October 1993 more startling, as Americans reacted to the spectacle of dead U.S. soldiers being dragged through the streets by cheering Somali mobs-the very people Americans thought they had rescued from starvation.

Americans consider themselves to be a compassionate people, and the United States Army has a long tradition of humanitarian relief operations both within and outside the continental United States. Never has this humanitarian impulse proven more dangerous to follow than in 1992 when the United States intervened to arrest famine in the midst of an ongoing civil war in the east African country of Somalia. Ultimately hundreds of thousands were saved from starvation, but unintended involvement in Somali civil strife cost the lives of thirty American soldiers, four marines, and eight Air Force personnel and created the impression of chaos and disaster. How could a mission that had accomplished so much have ended in such unhappy circumstances?.

The Army's humanitarian relief efforts have generally been less complicated and more successful. Soldiers provided vital support to the stricken city of San Francisco in 1906 as it struggled to recover from the great earthquake and subsequent fires. National Guard units in communities across the nation frequently rush to the scene of communities hit by hurricanes, tornados, fires, or floods. In 1992, soldiers from the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, deployed to restore order and bring in supplies in the wake of Hurricane Andrew, which destroyed large sections of Miami, Florida. U.S. Army personnel have also been involved in many overseas disaster relief and humanitarian operations, generally as part of joint task forces. In Operation SEA ANGEL in 1991, American soldiers assisted relief efforts in Bangladesh as it recovered from a disastrous cyclone. During Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, also in 1991, U.S. Army special operations soldiers rescued almost 400,000 Kurds from imminent starvation in the mountains of northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey. The national impulse to intervene-to help-is a powerful one, and the U.S. military forces are uniquely suited to bringing to bear their skill, manpower, and logistical power anywhere in the world.

In response to the worsening famine, the United States decided to assist the relief efforts by airlifting food from nearby Kenya to remote airfields in the interior of Somalia for distribution, thus bypassing congested ports and reducing the need to send out easily looted convoys. For this purpose, the United States launched Operation PROVIDE RELIEF on 15 August 1992. The actual ground distribution continued to be accomplished by the international relief organizations already established in the country. PROVIDE RELIEF was thus a limited attempt to use U.S. expertise in logistics to help the relief effort without engaging American military forces on the ground.

The operation, code-named RESTORE HOPE, began on 8 December 1992 under the direction of a Unified Task Force, or UNITAF. The I Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, California, formed the bulk of the headquarters, with augmentation from all the services. Commanded by Marine Lt. Gen. Robert B. Johnston, UNITAF included U.S. and allied troops working together in one task force, but under U.S. and not UN direction. And, like all modern humanitarian operations, it was a joint, combined, and interagency effort. The role of the U.S. State Department was critical. Once Ambassador Robert B. Oakley was appointed as President Bush's special envoy to Somalia, he and General Johnston moved quickly to establish a close working relationship. Although the United Nations continued to play an important part in the politics within the country, especially in the delicate negotiations between rival Somali factions, its role was soon overshadowed by U.S. military and diplomatic power. Security Council Resolution 794, passed on 3 December, endorsed the U.S.-led operation and gave it its international flavor and legitimacy, but the UN simply lacked the logistics, command and control, or intelligence capabilities to undertake such a complex mission.

The main challenge to the smooth flow of relief supplies continued to be the rivalry between feuding warlords, particularly between the forces of General Muhammed Farah Aideed of the Habr Gidr subclan and Ali Mahdi Mohamed of the Abgal subclan in Mogadishu. Aideed, previously a general in dictator Siad Barre's army and a former ambassador to India, now headed the Somali National Alliance (SNA) with pretensions to ruling the entire country. His opponent, Ali Mahdi, was a former businessman and farmer with little military experience and only an ad hoc militia. Their feud had led to open conflict from November 1991 to February 1992 and only added to the tragedy of Somalia by killing thousands of innocent Mogadishu citizens. Backed by overwhelming U.S. and allied power, Ambassador Oakley effectively established a cease-fire between the two forces as a precondition to establishing a military and relief presence in the interior of the country. However, it was not in the UN charter, nor in the U.S. mission guidance, to disarm or attack either faction. Ostensibly, the UNITAF forces were neutral and there only to ensure that relief supplies flowed. They achieved this mission by late December, as the port and the airport reopened and relief supplies began moving quickly ashore. Over 40,000 tons of grain were off-loaded by the end of December along with 6,668 vehicles and 96 helicopters for the military forces.

Company A, 2-14th Infantry, turned south off National and were ambushed. The soldiers moved quickly into the cover of nearby buildings. It would be four hours before they were rescued. The rest of the convoy continued up National and turned north on Shalalawi Street past the Olympic Hotel toward the first crash site. The 10th Mountain "Lightfighters" in the Malaysian armored personnel carriers broke through to the site at 0155 on 4 October. The combined Ranger-Special Forces-mountain infantry force worked until dawn to free the pilot's body, receiving grenade and small arms fire throughout the night. Close fire support by AH4 and AH-1 attack helicopters, in some instances firing 2.75-inch rockets, helped keep the enemy at bay during those long hours of darkness. Company A, 2-14th Infantry, less its second platoon, reached the second crash site, but no trace could be found of the lost soldiers and aviators. As dawn broke, all the casualties from the first site were loaded onto the armored personnel carriers; the remainder of the force moved rapidly on foot south along Shalalawi Street to National Street in what became known as the Mogadishu Mile.

In contrast, Chuang, consider the river. It starts as but a small stream in the distant mountains. Sometimes it flows slowly, sometimes quickly, but always it sails downward, taking the low ground as its course. It willingly permeates every crack in the earth and willingly embraces every crevice in the land, so humble is its nature. When we listen to the water, it can scarcely be heard. When we touch it, it can scarcely be felt, so gentle is its nature.

When the master stopped speaking, Lao-li looked out to the horizon, and as the sun set before him, it seemed to rise in his heart. Lao-li turned to the master, but the great one was gone. So the old Chinese tale ends. But it has been said that Lao-li returned to the mountain to live out his life. He became a great enlightened one.

From the 1970s up through the last decade or so, melting and heat expansion were contributing roughly equally to observed sea level rise. But the melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets has accelerated:

The saola was discovered in May 1992 during a joint survey carried out by the Ministry of Forestry of Vietnam and WWF in north-central Vietnam. The team found a skull with unusual long, straight horns in a hunter's home and knew it was something extraordinary. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years and one of the most spectacular zoological discoveries of the 20th century.

You have a huge range of widths to choose from when making a ski purchase, from 60-millimeter racing skis to 130-millimeter big-mountain sleds designed for extreme places like Alaska. After years of trending ever-wider, we have seen the market level off over the past few seasons in terms of ski waist width. That being said, the 2022-2023 models are almost unrecognizable compared to even 15 years ago. Below we examine the factors that play into your ski buying decision, including a look at width-related ski categories, new technologies that are helping make wide skis better for all-mountain use, and the importance of location and ability.


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