Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher, the former platoon sergeant who flew into Somalia for the mission that would become known for the “Black Hawk Down” battle, died of a heart condition on Oct. 13. He was 52.
The decorated veteran’s death was announced on the 3rd Infantry Division’s Facebook page.
“You know, I don’t say this lightly, but Bob is probably one of, probably the best soldier I ever served with, retired Col. Greg Gadson told Army Times. “That man really cared about soldiers.”
During the course of his military career, Sgt. Maj. Gallagher received two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars, and a Silver Star. The Silver star was earned during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Stars and Stripes reported Thursday.
He counted the mission in Somalia as the most memorable, for positive and negative reasons.
“The best day and the worst day of my life was when I served in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3, 1993, as a part of Task Force Ranger,” he told the Army’s AW2 blog in 2010. “It was the worst day, because we lost 18 soldiers and 84 others, including myself, were wounded. It was the best day of my life because it showed the incredible performance of our warriors in long-protracted battle under extraordinary circumstances in an urban environment.
“Throughout it all, the warriors that fought that day performed in a manner that was consistent with the values of our nation, and I was very proud of that,” he said.
A memorial ceremony will take place Oct. 31 at Fort Benning in Georgia. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.