Try 1 month for 99¢

CODY (AP) - For 11 days Michael Durant's emotions swung like a pendulum.

But throughout his ordeal as a prisoner of war, Durant, a pilot and lone survivor of a helicopter crash that's the focus of the movie "Blackhawk Down," relied on instinct and training.

"I applied the techniques I was taught," said Durant, 41, who was in Cody for the Special Operations public display and Warrior Foundation banquet Saturday at the Riley Arena. "The Code of Conduct (protocol for American POWs) came into play."

Durant, a retired chief warrant officer who spent more than 20 years in the Army, suffered a broken femur and nose in the crash in Somalia on Oct. 3, 1993. In the battle, two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters were shot down.

"I thought I was going to die in the crash," he said.

Eighteen Americans and hundreds of Somalians died, but Durant survived, only to be arrested by Arabic-speaking soldiers who knew little or no English. Utilizing what he learned during Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school at Fort Bragg, N.C, and relying on common sense, Durant withstood the grueling captivity.

He knew some Italian, and realized a soldier holding him could speak a bit of Spanish. Thus they were able to communicate on a limited basis because of the crossover of the languages.

Durant said he also shunned what some military trainers refer to as the "John Wayne standard" made popular in post-World War II movies that depict POWs "defying their captors."

"That kind of behavior greatly reduces your rate of survival," said Durant, whose decorations include the Distinguished and Meritorious Service medals, Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart. "Your life is hanging in the balance. The last thing you want to do is spit in their face."

Durant said he also would "remain quiet" when his Muslim holders prayed.

"I showed respect when they did that, and they actually did the same for me," he said

A pilot with more than 3,700 flight hours, Durant recently wrote the book "In the Company of Heroes," which depicts the full story of the crash and his captivity.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

"I craved communication," he said. "That's the whole psychological theory behind solitary confinement."

Durant's release came after negotiations between American and Somali diplomats. His ransom after one day was arranged by Somalian clan leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who held Durant for 10 days and eventually released him. He was interrogated several times during that period.

Special Operations forces endure extreme training exercises to prepare for such situations, according to Special Ops literature. Durant and various Army, Air Force and Navy units will display their equipment and capabilities at the banquet in Cody.

The banquet will benefit the Warrior Foundation, which provides college scholarships for the children of Special Ops soldiers who die in the line of duty.

Durant will autograph 50 copies of his book for $50 each during Saturday's public display. Proceeds from the banquet and book signing will benefit the foundation.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
0
0
0
0

Load comments