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‘Black Hawk Down’ Hero Talks Leadership at EFSC

October 14, 2014 - Retired Army Col. Danny McKnight, whose heroism was featured in the film “Black Hawk Down,” will bring his message of leadership to Eastern Florida State College during two lectures in November.

McKnight, a decorated former Army Ranger whose combat experience includes Panama and Somalia, will discuss “Successful Leadership on the Tough Days” at the Simpkins Business Seminar for Entrepreneurial Development.

Danny McKnight

He will speak on two days:

• Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. at the King Center for the Performing Arts Center on the Melbourne Campus

• Nov. 13 at 11 a.m. in the Simpkins Fine Arts Center on the Cocoa Campus

Both events are free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public.

McKnight was commanding a battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in 1993 during operations against warlords in Mogadishu, Somalia.

He was part of Special Forces raid to capture a warlord that sparked a fierce battle and subsequent rescue of U.S. troops, resulting in the deaths of at least 1,000 Somali fighters and 19 American soldiers.

McKnight was repeatedly wounded and received the Bronze Star for Valor. Two soldiers who also took part in the raid were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

His actions were described in the book “Black Hawk Down” and featured in the 2001 Academy Award-nominated movie of the same name.

McKnight left the Army following a distinguished career that lasted nearly 30 years and now lectures on leadership, management and homeland security.

He is a 1971 graduate of Brevard Community College, now known as EFSC. He was a Distinguished Military Graduate from Florida State University in 1973, where he earned a B.S. Degree in Management. In 1985, McKnight earned his Master's Degree in Higher Education from the University of Florida while teaching Military Science.

“Danny McKnight is a true American hero whose experience on and off the battlefield can provide valuable lessons to students embarking on their careers and anyone in a position of leadership,” said college President Dr. Jim Richey.

“This is a unique opportunity to hear him in person and I encourage our students and others in the community to attend.”

The Simpkins Seminars are named after Bernard Simpkins, a former member of the Eastern Florida State College Board of Trustees who established an endowment to create the sessions that have brought some of the nation’s top business leaders to the college.

The endowment also started the college’s Business Entrepreneurship Program, which was named the best emerging program in the nation in 2010 by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship.