Fort Polk Guardian 10-05-2018

FORT POLK, La. — Wars are fought on the battlefield but the lo- cation of that battlefield changes with time. Armies have engaged each other on beaches, in jungles, through deserts and over moun- tains. The operational environment faced by today’s Army includes an urban element — fighting in cities. That’s why the Army decided to build a training village at the Joint Readiness Training Center in the 1990s. In honor of that facility and the two fallen heroes that are its namesake, a memorial ceremony was held at the Shughart-Gordon MOUT (military operation on urban terrain) site Oct. 3 — the anniver- sary of Shughart and Gordon’s ulti- mate sacrifice. Named for heroes The Shughart-Gordon MOUT site was named for Medal of Honor re- cipients Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon, for their actions on Oct. 3, 1993. Shughart and Gordon served as snipers within the United States Army Special Operations Com- mand with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. During the mission they provided precision fires from the lead helicopter during an assault and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to in- tense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. They vol- unteered to insert into a crash site to assist the downed pilots knowing they faced an overwhelming force and reinforcements were unlikely. Both men were killed by enemy forces, fighting until they were out of ammunition. One Soldier that served with Shughart and Gordon is retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Randolph W. Jones. He is a master aviator, served in Vietnam and Kuwait in addition to Mogadishu, and was se- lected as the 1993 MacDonald-Dou- glas-Hughes Aviator of the Year for the 160th Special Operations Avia- tion Regiment. Jones accepted an in- vitation to speak at the memorial ceremony held at the MOUT site Oct. 3 and offered his recollections of his comrades-in-arms. “It’s a hard day to smile, but a wonderful day to be an American,” he said. “During times of need in this great nation, there have been men like Randy and Gary that have stood in the way of harm for their fellow man. I was truly lucky on that mission day — we were 148 strong. Eighteen were killed in the skirmish, and we lost another Sol- dier shortly thereafter. There were 78 Purple Hearts. The odds that day, from my viewpoint, were at least 100 to one, and these Soldiers didn’t back up one foot. “There were 41 Silver Stars (awarded) for that (battle), several bronze stars and two Medals of Honor (for Shughart and Gordon). The substantiation of those awards was well founded. The reward of those awards is that we are all here today, in America, free to do what WARRIOR SPIRIT FORGING THE JRTC & FORT POLK GUARDIAN THE Home of Heroes @ Fort Polk, LA Oct. 5, 2018 Vol. 46, No. 40 Inside the Guardian 3/10 Ready Now .......... 3 DENTAC travels ........... 6 Corvias plans ........... 12 Weekend weather Today Saturday Sunday 91 86 86 71 20% 50% 50% 72 71 Rain chance Rain chance Rain chance After many years, we're presenting a new banner on the Guardian's front page -- one more in keeping with the Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk. The banner was designed by Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Frank, JRTC and Fort Polk JRTC commemorates 25 years since actions of Shughart, Gordon By JEAN DUBIEL Guardian staff writer Please see Heroes , page 5 Retired Chief Warrant Officer 5 Randolph W. Jones talks about the sacrifice of Medal of Honor recipients Sgt. 1st Class Randall D. Shughart and Master Sgt. Gary I. Gordon during a memorial cere- mony held in their honor Oct. 3 — the date both men were killed in action in Somalia — at the JRTC training facility that bears their name. JEAN DUBIEL / GUARDIAN