Unit: 160th Special Operations Regiment
Home Town: Peoria, AZ
Died On: 10/04/1993
SSG William D. Cleveland Jr. was just the sort of guy you'd want as your crew chief on an MH-60 special operations Black Hawk helicopter: experienced, competent and totally reliable.
During his roughly 16 years in the Army, these qualities had helped Cleveland rise to the position of section sergeant in 1st platoon, D Company, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Fort Campbell, Ky. Cleveland, "Bill" to his friends, was the crew chief on the second Black Hawk shot down during the Oct. 3 firefight in Mogadishu, Somalia, and was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for his actions during the battle. Only CW2 Michael Durant survived the crash.
He is remembered by his colleagues as a man who could always be counted on both personally and professionally.
"Before he'd leave to go home, if I'd given him a task to do, he'd get it done, and there were no short cuts about it,"says SFC Gregory Cogman, his platoon sergeant.
Like the model NCO he was, Cleveland was always there for his troops. "You could always ask him for anything," Cogman says. "There wasn't anything that he wouldn't do for any of the guys in the platoon, even if it was on his own time."
For example, when one of the platoon's soldiers needed some trees cutting down in his yard, Cleveland brought over his own chainsaw and truck one weekend and did the job himself, according to Cogman. "No charge, no nothing, no questions asked," Cogman said. "He never said no to anybody."