Retired commander speaks to local squadron


Col. Danny McKnight, left, is shown with Gainesville squadron member Howard Noble. McKnight was the commander during the battle in Mogadishu, depicted by actor Tom Sizemore in the movie "Black Hawk Down".

SPECIAL TO THE SUN
Published: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 3:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 1, 2004 at 12:00 a.m.
Col. Danny McKnight, Commander Task Force Ranger ground convoy, recently spoke to the U.S. Power Squadron District 23 N-Club at a breakfast hosted by the Gainesville squadron.
McKnight was the ground forces commander during the battle in Mogadishu, depicted by actor Tom Sizemore in the movie "Black Hawk Down." McKnight spoke about his experiences in Somalia and how accurately the movie portrayed them.
The movie is the story of Oct. 3, 1993 and how a group of elite U.S. soldiers were sent into Mogadishu to abduct two key members or warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid's staff. Participating in the mission were the Rangers, under McKnight's command, along with covert Delta Force soldiers and members of the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment), who pilot the Black Hawk helicopters.
McKnight emphasized to the group the importance of leaving no man behind - how the Army becomes your family. The men and women of the army have to depend on each other in any situation and that unites them with a bond that few can understand.
Col. McKnight, who is now retired, is a sought-after speaker on subjects not limited to his experience in Mogadishu, but also on leadership, management and homeland security. He has been decorated with many awards, including the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star.
The Gainesville Sail and Power Squadron is one of approximately 450 squadrons of the U.S. Power Squadron, a non-profit boating organization. It is a fraternal organization whose members promote nautical safety by participating in a variety of enjoyable activities. There are around 100 members from Gainesville who are actively involved in boating.
In addition to monthly meetings which offer interesting programs, the group also participates in cruises, potluck dinners and a variety of other special events.
The Gainesville Sail and Power Squadron meets the fourth Thursday of every month. Call Mike McKinney at 495-2454.

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