Globe native Ret. Army Col. Larry Perino was presented with the Silver Star Medal on October 1 in Fort Benning, Georgia. Perino was informed in July that the U.S. Army had reviewed the actions of more than 150 special operators involved in the Oct. 3, 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, commonly referred to as
“Black Hawk Down.” A determination was made by the review board that upgraded awards were in order for 60 of the soldiers involved. Col. Perino was originally awarded a Bronze Star for his heroic actions.
“I am beyond humbled and grateful to have been among those even considered for this upgrade,”
Perino told the Arizona Silver Belt. “The award ceremony at Fort Benning on October 1 was made more special because several other members who I fought with 28 years ago were on hand. They are alltrue heroes.”
The Oct. 3, 1993 Battle of Mogadishu or “Black Hawk Down” broke out as American special operators – primarily Rangers and other soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, or Delta Force – set out to capture two top lieutenants of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Aidid was responsible for attacks on the U.N. peacekeeping troops that
were working to end civil war in Somalia.
According to the Army, the assault force was inserted into the city by helicopter, and another element was to follow that group into the city in Humvees. Despite the attention the battle received many of its elements remain classified.
That U.S. force of less than 200 operators would find itself in a fight with some 10,000 to 12,000 well-armed Somali fighters. After the assault force nabbed Aidid’s aides, militants attacked the troops and
shot down two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with rocket-propelled grenades – something the Army had never seen before, officials said.
It set off a frantic mission to secure the locations of the downed Black Hawks and recover wounded and
fallen Americans. U.S. special operators would spend 18 hours running and fighting their way through the city’s streets, according to the Army.
Three of the four pilots in the downed Black Hawks would die, and the fourth was captured and later released. In all, 73 troops were injured in the battle. The book “Black Hawk Down” would be published in 1999 and in 2002 the movie brought the Battle of Mogadishu onto American screens.
Ret. Army Col. Larry Perino
Perino grew up in Globe, the youngest of eight kids. His mother was a registered nurse and his father, a former Marine and WWII veteran, was an electrical contractor who owned his own business. From a young age, Perino wanted to serve his country as a soldier, but he also wanted to attend college. After graduating from Globe High School in 1986, he was accepted into the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. When he graduated in 1990 Perino was commissioned in the Army as a second lieutenant. He spent most of his military career in infantry units; mainly with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He served as both a planner and a trainer. His career has also taken him to six different continents for deployments or training, to include 30 months in three separate hostile fire zones.
Today Perino works for the Navy Federal Credit Union and lives with his wife Leslie in Gulf Breeze, Florida.