(CAÑON CITY, Colo.) — An Army Special Forces medic who retired as Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) is searching for six Gold Star Families of the veterans who served with him in Somalia nearly 30 years ago.

Courtesy of the Ricord’s; CW4 Ricord seen riding the Tribute Bike

Retired CW4 Ed Ricord was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, with American troops and the United Nations on a peacekeeping mission, known as Operation Restore Hope, which included famine relief efforts.

On Sept. 25, 1993, then Special Forces medic Sfc. Ricord, along with the 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force 2-14 UN Quick Reaction Company, rushed to a helicopter crash site on a search and rescue mission. A Black Hawk helicopter – call sign Courage 53 – had been shot down along with five crew members.

“We put the remains in a body bag… About that time it went sideways and upside down. We started taking fire from everywhere,” said Ricord.

An intense firefight ensued as soldiers defended the crash site from Somalian militiamen attacking with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire.

As quickly as the battle started, the mission to defend Courage 53 would also soon be forgotten and overshadowed by the Battle of Mogadishu that occurred on Oct. 3, 1993.

The famed Task Force Ranger and Delta Force battle of Oct. 3 would be notarized in the book and movie, Black Hawk Down. Those who served in Operation Gothic Serpent would also get medal upgrades in 2021, but the men of Task Force 2-14 never received any fanfare despite serving the same mission and braving the same dangers.

“The guys of Task Force 2-14 got no recognition,” said Ricord. “Forgotten Bastards… that is what we called each other when no one recognized us.”

The soldiers were lost in history, but not for long.

“I was specific. I wanted a 1993 [bike]… I looked all over the country… and so I found this bike just by chance…” said Ricord.

Ricord drove 250 miles to Grand Junction, Colorado, to pick up a 1993 Harley Davidson FLH Electric Glide Ultra Classic – a motorcycle he’d been searching for, for more than a year.

Once the bike was in his shop, Ricord never wasted a moment.

For the next six months, he took apart the motorcycle to recondition the parts. Individual pieces were powder coated, spray painted and wrapped. Upholstery work was perfected, and six names of those in Task Force 2-14 were embroidered before Ricord was ready to show the world.

“… All the work is done locally between Cañon City and Pueblo… I tried to keep all the work that I couldn’t do local,” said Ricord.

Ricord’s love and respect for his fellow soldiers can be seen in the small details that are embellished throughout the bike – right down to the hand-engraved unit mottos and the wrapping that now immortalizes Task Force 2-14.

“The camouflage is chocolate chip… it’s a six-color carving pattern and that’s what we wore in Somalia,” Ricord stated proudly.

Now, Ricord’s newfound mission is to locate Task Force 2-14 veterans and six Gold Star Family members to have them sign the bike on a special spot reserved just for them:

  • PVT David J. Conner
  • SGT Ferdinan C. Richardson
  • SGT Eugene Williams
  • PFC Matthew K. Anderson
  • SGT Cornell I. Houston
  • PFC James Henry Martin Jr.
  • Feb. 08, 1993
  • Sept. 25, 1993
  • Sept. 25, 1993
  • Sept. 25, 1993
  • Oct. 3, 1993
  • Oct. 3, 1993

The motorcycle rolled out on March 3 to get its first signature in Texas from a fellow Mogadishu veteran and will now travel the country in search of the remaining Gold Star Families.

Ricord and his wife, Laura, plan to collect signatures before presenting it to the Task Force at their 30th-anniversary reunion in October at Fort Drum, New York. He hopes to eventually donate the motorcycle to the 10th Mountain Division Museum.

Those with information about the Gold Star Families are asked to reach out to Ricord at mountaintracker1@gmail.com. For more information and updates about the tribute bike, visit the Facebook page.

“We’ll take it anywhere… we would like to bring it to them,” said Ricord. “But the six Gold Star Families that are on the back seat – they are the priority.”

The community is encouraged to come see the Tribute bike, which will be displayed at Home Depot located on Mackenzie Avenue in Cañon City on Saturday, April 15, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.