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About Mike Kurth | Our Next Interviewee on "Dare to be Bold"

Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States by population, is home to numerous influential people and institutions. However, there is one place in particular that stands out amongst the crowd. Located just a few blocks away from Minute Maid Park, Lucky’s Pub is one of the most frequented sports bars in Houston landing its number one spot in the hearts of many die-hard sports fans. As the manager of Lucky’s Pub, Mike Kurth is not only known for his work at the esteemed pub, but he is also known through one of the most gut-wrenching war films of the early 2000’s, Black Hawk Down. Kurth was one of the real-life Task Force Rangers who fought in the Battle of Mogadishu on October 3rd and 4th of 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

For our eighth episode of “Dare to be Bold,” we had the extreme privilege of speaking with this Texas native. According to the book, The Battle of Mogadishu Firsthand Accounts from the Men of Task Force Ranger, Mike Kurth was a radio and telephone operator. “His assigned duty was to carry the portable radios and provide communication between the command center at the airfield and the Rangers operating in the city. Often required to do multiple tasks at once Specialist Kurth was the critical link between leaders on the ground and arguably one of the most important members of the combat unit.” [1]

Throughout the 1980’s Somalia was faced with an extreme drought that caused famine, spawned the collapse of their government, and prompted warlords to overtake the country. In 1992, the 1st Marine Division, a few Special Forces and Combat Controllers arrived in efforts to provide relief. Their initiative was met with success. However, Somalia still faced utter chaos. There was no government infrastructure, and opposing warlords were fighting for control of the country. Then, On June 5th, 1993 twenty-four Pakistani peacekeepers were ambushed and murdered during a routine inspection of weapon storage facilities. Warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid instigated the ambush utilizing his loyal militiamen. This prompted the United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution to capture the people responsible for the ambush.

The United States Special Operations Command formed a task force which was a group composed of Army, Navy and Air Force special operation personnel. On August 23rd, 1993 Task Force Ranger made camp at the airport in Mogadishu in efforts to help the United Nations Security Council. Though the plan was straight forward, the execution was extremely tricky. Mogadishu was home to over a million people. “At the time of the Task Force Ranger’s arrival, the average Somali had ten years’ combat experience.” [1]

 

On Sunday, October 3, 1993, the men of Task Force Ranger received orders to carry out what was supposed to be a thirty minute mission to capture Aidid and several of his lieutenants while they were meeting in a neighborhood known as the Black Sea in the heart of Mogadishu. The events that followed went down in history as “the deadliest firefight U.S. forces have faced since Vietnam.” [2]

Kurth stayed in the military until November of 1996. He then moved back to Houston and enrolled in the University of Houston to study Hotel and Restaurant Management, eventually leading him to Lucky’s Pub. When we asked him how he recovered, we learned that the process was not a short and easy road. “When I got out and back into the civilian world, trying to acclimate myself to civilian-thinking after coming out of Ranger regiment was a big switch…. It was probably ten years before I was comfortable being happy in life and okay with success and not feeling bad about it…. every time something was going great and something was going good, I felt like I did not deserve this and I should not be here. Survivor's remorse is a battle, a very big battle.” Over time, Kurth began to work towards happiness. “I finally said, ‘Hey, if you were up there, you would want them to live their life and you would be pissed off if they were not. You need to live your life the way you want to live it.’ I was kind of floating along through life and not really setting any goals or aspirations, and then it was like, ‘Okay, well I just need to be happy.’”

 

Kurth’s account of the battle is chilling, but what shines through his horrific account is his pride and pure love for the United States and his profound connection to his comrades. Kurth explains, “I would not want to serve with any other unit. You volunteer to go into the army, then you volunteer for Airborne School, then you volunteer for RIP. [RIP was] a three week assessment course back in the day, [and] is much longer and a lot more intense today. Then you get to Ranger Regiment.” Ranger Regiment holds a very rigorous process, so the members want to be there, train very hard, and fight with purpose. “It was probably one of the best experiences of my life being part of that group.”

 

"Dare to be Bold" Episode 8 is now available on Youtube and Soundcloud. For more information about Mike Kurth and the Battle of Mogadishu we strongly encourage you to read the book The Battle of Mogadishu: Firsthand Accounts from the Men of Task Force Ranger.

WATCH ON YOUTUBE:

SOURCES:

Eversmann, Matt, and Dan Schilling. The Battle of Mogadishu: Firsthand Accounts from the Men of Task Force Ranger. Ballantine Books, 2004.

  1. Staff, NPR. “What A Downed Black Hawk In Somalia Taught America.” NPR, NPR, 5 Oct. 2013, www.npr.org/2013/10/05/229561805/what-a-downed-black-hawk-in-somalia-taught-america.