William F. Garrison
is a retired Major General
of the United States Army
who was the commander of Operation Gothic Serpent
, the military operation launched in 1993 to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid
. Garrison was portrayed by Sam Shepard
in the film Black Hawk Down
, which was based on the events of the Battle of Mogadishu
Garrison enlisted in the Army in July, 1966 and was commissioned
as a 2nd Lieutenant
upon graduation from Officer Candidate School
the following year. He served two tours in Vietnam
, earning a Bronze Star
for valor and a Purple Heart
for wounds received in combat. While in Vietnam, he participated in the Phoenix Program
to strike at leadership personnel among the Viet Cong
After the war Garrison spent most of his career in special operations units, including the U.S. Army Intelligence Support Activity and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (also known as Delta Force). His last command was the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center. He is known for being the commander in charge of Task Force Ranger during Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia. Garrison retired from the Army on 3 August 1996, the day after Mohammed Farrah Aidid died, at the rank of Major General. Throughout his career, as he was promoted to Colonel, Brigadier General and Major General, Garrison was the youngest officer to hold those ranks.
Garrison is also said to have been in charge of the assistance force guiding the takedown of Pablo Escobar.
Garrison earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Pan American University and graduated with a Master of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University.