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Shughart (T-AKR-295)


First U.S. Navy ship named in honor of Sergeant First Class Randall David Randall David Shughart -- born on 13 August 1958 in Lincoln, Neb. – who attended Big Spring High School and enlisted in the Army soon after graduation in 1976. After completing basic training, he successfully completed AIT (advanced individual training), Airborne School, and in 1978 was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Lewis, Wash. Several months later he completed Small Unit Ranger Tactics (SURT), was granted a position in Ranger School, graduated and earned the Ranger Tab.

Shughart left active duty for the Army Reserve in June 1980, but returned in December 1983 and the following year attended Special Forces training. He was assigned to Delta Force and was transferred to Fort Bragg, N.C. in June 1986. As a Delta Force operator, he advanced to Assistant Team Sergeant.

Shughart was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia with other Delta members in the summer of 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger during Operation Gothic Serpent, a joint-force assault mission to apprehend key advisers to Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. During the assault, two Sikorski UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters (Super Six One and Super Six Four) were providing insertion and air support to the assault team and were shot down and crashed in the city.

On 3 October 1993 Shughart’s sniper team was providing fire from the lead helicopter during the assault and at the two helicopter crash sites while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fire from Aidid’s militia. When he learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the second crash site, he and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon volunteered to be inserted in order to protect four critically wounded men despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy combatants closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Shughart received permission to perform the mission.

When debris and enemy ground fire at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, they were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only a sniper rifle and a pistol and under intense small arms fire from the enemy, they fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft and then established a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position.

He then used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers until depleting his ammunition and being fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot's life.

Randall David Shughart, interred at Westminster Cemetery in Carlisle, Pa., was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his actions near Mogadishu on 3 October 1993.

(T-AKR-295: displacement 32,589; length 909'; beam 106'; draft 35'; speed 24 knots; complement 30 civilian and 5 active duty; class Shughart)

Built as the Danish Laura Maersk in 1980; the ship was assigned to the Military Sealift Command (MSC) as Shughart (T-AKR-295) on 7 May 1996. She was converted at National Steel & Shipbuilding Company., San Diego, Ca.; launched on 8 February 1997; sponsored by Mrs. Stephanie Shughart, widow of the late Sgt. 1st Class Shughart; and entered non-commissioned U.S. Navy service with MSC with a primarily civilian crew.

A non-combatant Large, Medium-Speed, Roll-on/Roll-off (LMSR) vessel, Shughart and other ships of her class are used to pre-position tanks, trucks, various wheeled vehicles and supplies needed to support an army heavy brigade. She is assigned to the Atlantic surge force and is maintained in Ready Operational Status 4.

Detailed history pending.

Paul J. Marcello

13 January 2016

Published: Thu Jan 14 10:47:53 EST 2016