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Video: Mike Durant, Black Hawk pilot shot down in Somalia, joins Alabama Senate race

Mike Durant (U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command/Released)

Mike Durant, a former Army aviator who flew a Black Hawk helicopter that was shot down in Mogadishu, Somalia during the 1993 battle depicted in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down,” announced this week he is running for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s race for the U.S. Senate next year.

Durant moved to Alabama after his retirement from the Army and operates an engineering and service company he started that is based in Huntsville, according to his campaign. He will run for the seat that Sen. Richard Shelby is leaving after his retirement next year.

“President Trump showed us what’s possible when outsiders step forward and take on the insiders and the politicians,” Durant said in a press release. “I’ve spent my life either in service to my nation or focused on growing a successful business in Alabama. I’m not going to sit idly by while Joe Biden and the career politicians wreck the country I love. I’m signing up for one more tour of duty. I’m running for U.S. Senate.”

Durant joins a field of candidates for the Republican nomination that includes Congressman Mo Brooks of Huntsville, Katie Britt, former chief of staff for Shelby and former head of the Business Council of Alabama, and Lynda Blanchard, a businesswoman who served as ambassador to Slovenia in the Trump administration, and businesswoman Jessica Taylor.

Former President Trump has endorsed Brooks.

Durant’s campaign released a video announcing his candidacy.

On Oct. 3, 1993, Durant and his crew were shot down and attacked by a mob in Mogadishu during Operation Gothic Serpent, a mission to capture top commanders of a Somali warlord. Eighteen Americans died, including Durant’s crew — Ray Frank, Bill Cleveland, and Tommy Field — and 73 were injured. Master Sgt. Gary Gordon and Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart, who died that day, were awarded the Medal of Honor for their efforts to rescue Durant and his crew. Durant was held captive for 11 days.

After Durant retired from a 22-year Army career, he and his family moved to Alabama, where he started the company Pinnacle. It has grown to employ more than 500 people and 175 subcontractor employees who work in 16 locations supporting military operations, Durant’s campaign said.

Durant’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star with Valor device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, one with Valor device, the POW/MIA ribbon, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and others, according to his campaign.

Durant and his wife Lisa, who is also an Army aviator, live in Madison and six children, three grandchildren with a fourth on the way.

The primary is May 24.


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