SFC Randall "Randy" D. Shughart

Unit: 1st Special Forces - Delta Force
Age: 35
Home Town: Newville, PA
Died On: 10/03/1993

Lincoln, Nebraska born SFC Randall D. Shughart was raised on a modest dairy farm in Newville, Pa. And his mother says he did his daily chores there with a zeal uncommon among most youngsters. “Every day he did it, without complaint,” says his mother, Lois Shughart, from her home in Blain, Pa. “He and his brothers had to get up early and work milking cows, working in the fields, plowing the land, mowing and baling the hay .” But Randall Shughart loved every minute of it. His passion for farming was rivaled only by his interest in the Army.

“He was always reading books about soldiers and important Army generals,” his mother says. At 17, Randall Shughart enlisted in the Army in 1975 under the Delayed Entry Program while he was still a student at Newville's Big Spring High School. But after three years of active duty, he decided to get out, join the Reserves and try his hand at running the farm with his father. But his mother says that didn't work. “We needed a bigger farm to justify two men running it, so Randy went back in the service. But he would have come back to it eventually. It was his life.” But Randall Shughart never got a chance to return to dairy farming.

Shughart was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3, 1993 during Operation Gothic Serpent, an assault mission to apprehend advisers to Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Super Six One, was shot down in the city. A Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) team came to secure it. Then, Super Six Four was shot down. He was killed during his successful effort to save the life of a downed pilot, an action for which he will be awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. He was 35, and had been married to Stephanie Shughart for less than two years.

“I always encouraged him in his Army things,” says Lois Shughart. “What happened in Somalia was something I knew could happen, but he always assured me that he and his unit were so well trained and so very careful, that it wasn't likely.”

She keeps her son's Purple Heart in a knick-knack cabinet with some other things. Then there's the other awards he received during his 14 years of active duty: the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star, two Army Achievement Medals. He also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Ranger and Special Forces tab.

But when she thinks about her second-to-the-oldest child, Lois Shughart doesn't remember a well-trained soldier in green. She remembers a little boy with brown hair, running around on a farm with his brother and two sisters. A little boy happy to milk cows and mow the hay. A little boy with his nose buried in a book. Her voice breaks as she tries to sum up his life in a couple of words. “He liked animals . He was always nice and friendly to people. He was just a good boy.”

Medal of Honor 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.