Blythewood war hero recounts combat

Blythewood resident James Lecher, center, recounted his combat experiences as an Army Ranger during the Blythewood Historical Society’s Veterans’ Day event. Also participating in the program are, from left, former mayor, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Keith Bailey, Mayor J. Michael Ross, Lecher, Jim McLean and WWII veteran Moses Kelly. | Barbara Ball

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood resident James Lecher, a former Army Ranger and an American hero, was guest speaker at the Blythewood Historical society’s Veteran’s Day program Sunday afternoon.

Now retired from the Army, Lecher recounted to guests at the program his experience in Mogadishu, Somalia with Task Force Ranger that was made famous by the book and movie ‘Blackhawk Down.’ Lecher showed a video of the actual combat as he related the events he lived through.

The goal of the videoed US forces’ assault on a building in Mogadishu, Lecher explained, was to capture, under horrific conditions, the 17 top lieutenants of the Somalian warlord, General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid.

Lecher said the mission was successful in that all 17 lieutenants were captured.

“But eighteen aviators from our task force – Delta operators and rangers – were killed that day,” Lecher said.  He was wounded.

“Unfortunately, our generation, those of us who fought in combat, could go on and on about the number of friends we’ve lost. And I honor them today.”

Lecher’s key leadership role during successful operations in the city of Ramadi, Iran, are retold in the books, ‘A Chance in Hell’ and ‘A Soldier’s Dream’ and the movie ‘American Sniper.’