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In a raid, a task force of Delta Force soldiers, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment attempt capturing two of Mohammed Farah Aidid's senior subordinates in the Bakaara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu. The mission is led by Maj Gen William Garrison, and was supposed to take no more than 1 hour. The extraction by the Delta team is successful, but the Somali militia, armed with RPGs, shoot down two Black Hawk helicopters, and the resulting rescue extends the mission to over 22 hours. There were in total 123 American soldiers sent into Mogadishu.
The film follows many characters through build-up, the assault and rescue. It shows how Staff Sergeant Matt Eversmann was placed in charge of Ranger Chalk Four, before portraying the raid and successful extraction of the wanted persons, and shows the first injury, as PFC Todd Blackburn falls from a helicopter as it maneuvers to avoid an RPG. This is the beginning of the indication that the troops are overwhelmed by the volume of enemy militia, and builds up to the two helicopter crashes: Super Six-One piloted by Cliff "Elvis" Wolcott, and Super Six-Four piloted by Mike Durant. Durant is taken prisoner after the two Delta snipers who requested to be inserted near the crash site of Super Six-Four are killed while defending him.
The film also follows two Chalk Four machine gunners who are supposed to return with the extraction team, but miss the humvees as they leave, and get lost. One of them is deafened by machine-gun fire, but they eventually make their way back to Eversmann. Cpl Jamie Smith attempts to rescue one of them, whose ammo bag was shot and exploded, but Smith gets shot too, and eventually bleeds to death.
The film begins to reach its conclusion as the U.S. forces regain control with strafing runs by Little Bird helicopters, and a convoy of troops from the 10th Mountain Division, along with other United Nations forces, arrives to extract the wounded. Back at the base, Norman "Hoot" Hooten begins to restock on ammunition, preparing to go back out on the next mission, and Eversmann tells a dead Jamie Smith that he will fulfill his dying wish.
The film ends with text informing the viewer that 19 Americans and approximately 1000 Somalis died in the conflict, after Mike Durant's release, Mohamed Farrah Aidid died and General Garrison took full responsible for the raid and resigned in 1996.
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