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Falcon Brigade: Combat and Command in Somalia and Haiti

Colonel Lawrence E. Casper, USA Ret.
Falcon Brigade: Combat and Command in Somalia and Haiti
ISBN: 978-1-55587-945-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-346-4
2001/277 pages/LC: 00-044171

"One would hope that Falcon Brigade would become widely read by the members of our transitioning military for the many lessons it has to offer, and especially by those decision-makers who send the armed forces into harm's way."—Scott R. DiMarco, Military Book Review

"If you like the book Black Hawk Down ... then you will find Larry Casper's Falcon Brigade equally compelling.... This book should be on the professional development reading list for every young officer and noncommissioned officer, regardless of branch or specialty.... [It] is a book you cannot put down, as each page brings the reader deeper into the fray of battle.... For those who want to understand the challenges facing today's Army in the post-Cold war era, works like this are a must."—Colonel George F. Oliver, Parameters

"[Falcon Brigade has] ‘must read' value for Army transition planners.... This excellent volume, with the author's real-world command experiences, contains vital lessons for every aspect of transformation."—Scott R. Gourley, Army Magazine

"Casper debunks the image of antiseptic intervention and reminds us that warfare continues to be a dirty and dangerous business for those involved.... Falcon Brigade is an essential book for those concerned with the nature of modern war."—Stephen A. Bourke, The Journal of Military History

"Precise and perceptive.... Casper's observations and conclusions are eminently worthy of study."—Norman R. Carpenter, Marine Corps Gazette

"Falcon Brigade is very strongly recommended ... for students of modern military operations. It vividly recounts two campaigns that both affected U.S. policy making and altered the basic nature of U.S. military involvement overseas."—The Midwest Book Review

"Casper provides a counterpoint to Black Hawk Down's front-line narrative of the Mogadishu fighting, and a useful reply to such works as Shacochis's Immaculate Invasion. He demonstrates the possibilities and the limitations inherent in the use of U.S. armed forces in such operations.."—Dennis Showalter

"Casper captures the heroics, challenges, innovations, and teamwork our soldiers and leaders experienced on two dangerous and sensitive operations—a must read."—Dick Cody, Major General, US Army

"Falcon Brigade is an accurate, frank, and often breathtaking account of the unit's professionalism, skill, and elan in the harsh streets of Mogadishu. I think Colonel Casper wrote this book for and about great soldiers. Every military leader should read it."—Thomas M. Montgomery, Lieutenant General, US Army, Ret.

"A fast-paced, hard-hitting, first-hand account of two recent expeditionary operations. Falcon Brigade is the perfect antidote to the Pentagon's notion that modern war is a matter of ‘servicing target arrays.' Full of lessons about leadership, ingenuity, and courage under fire, it is an excellent text for those called upon to deal with the ‘New World Disorder' and required reading for those who send young Americans into harm's way."—Bruce Gudmundsson


Col. Lawrence E. Casper (U.S. Army-Ret.) narrates the first documented account by a military officer of the harrowing US operations in Somalia and Haiti.

As commander of the Falcon Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, and the UN Quick Reaction Force (QRF), Casper experienced Operation Continue Hope first-hand. Falcon Brigade and Special Operations aviators shared the skies over Mogadishu on October 3, 1993, providing cover as the Quick Reaction Force fought block by block to reach the stranded troops and remove them to safety. Casper's candid account of Operation Continue Hope, and the brigade's continuing involvement in Somalia until the U.S. withdrawal from the war-torn region some five months later, showcases the leadership skills and courage necessary for troop survival under beleaguered circumstances.

Just six months after their return from Somalia, Casper and Falcon Brigade were on the flight deck of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower, preparing to air-assault 10th Mountain Division Lightfighters onto the shores of Haiti during Operation Uphold Democracy. Casper brings to life the frustrations and challenges the brigade soldiers experienced as they worked around the clock for thirty days, and he captures the untiring cooperation between soldiers and sailors as they joined together to ensure the success of the operation. His account concludes with the brigade's subsequent four-month involvement in Haiti.

Not only a telling and vivid history, Falcon Brigade is an insightful—and rare—discussion of what did and did not work, and what went on behind the scenes at the operational level.


Lawrence E. Casper has served in the U.S. Army as infantry and aviation company commander, attack helicopter battalion commander, and aviation brigade commander, among other command and staff assignments. He has served in the 2nd, 7th, 9th, 10th, and 25th Infantry Divisions and commanded the unit that conducted the operational test on the AH-64 Apache helicopter. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star.


  • Foreword.
  • U.S. Involvement in a Far Away Land.
  • The Beginning.
  • Worst Case Scenario.
  • Task Force Ranger.
  • Failed Attempt.
  • The Plan.
  • The Rescue.
  • "Mogadishu Mile."
  • Aftermath.
  • The Cavalry Arrives.
  • Preparing to Fight.
  • The Withdrawal.
  • Outcome.
  • Fort Drum, New York, April 1994.
  • The Alert.
  • Haiti.
  • The Plans.
  • Preparation.
  • The Go Ahead.
  • Setting Sail.
  • The Countdown.
  • The Assault, 19 September 1994.
  • The Occupation.
  • Aristide's Return.
  • Winding Down.
  • Mission Complete.
  • Observations.