Michael Durant spent 11 days in enemy hands in Somalia, not knowing what would happen to him or if he’d make it through alive.
“You can’t even describe it,” Durant said of being a prisoner of war. “You thought you were going to die.”
A special operations soldier with the U.S. Army, Durant piloted one of five Black Hawk helicopters during a 1993 mission resulting in the death of five soldiers and injuries to 74 more, later becoming the subject of the Ridley Scott film “Black Hawk Down.”
Durant’s helicopter was one of two shot down in the Battle of Mogadishu. He and the crew were badly injured. He remembers sustaining a broken vertebra and a broken nose. He was later captured and held for 11 days before being rescued.
For about a year after retiring from the Army in 2001, Durant used the experience to inspire others through speeches focusing on perseverance, survival and leadership.
The Huntsville businessman, who doesn’t participate in as many speaking engagements as he used to, will be the featured speaker at the Police Chief’s Gala on Thursday, Oct. 25, to support the Mobile Law Enforcement Foundation, organizer John R. Weichman said.
The theme of the gala is “In the Company of Heroes,” according to a statement from the Mobile Police Department. The event will feature food and live music, and will be held at Fort Whiting stat 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at local Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank locations, or by calling Weichman at 251-208-1947.
The Mobile Law Enforcement Foundation helps the MPD deal with unbudgeted needs, including officers injured or killed in the line of duty. More information is available at mobilepd.org/foundation.