One of the real-life officers, who survived the battle, was Lieutenant Rick Rescorla, who is the main figure on the cover of General Moore's book, on which the movie was based. A biography of Mr. Rescorla's very interesting life was published in the mid 2000s, called "Heart of Lion". He died in the 9/11 attacks, while employed as Head of Security for Morgan Stanley, while making sure all of the company's employees had gotten out of the World Trade Center (they had).
Although many of the names are never really seen, or said, throughout the movie, very careful attention was paid to ensure every member of the company was represented properly in the film. For every person that was a member of the company in real-life, there was an actor on-screen, most of whom resembled the actual soldiers themselves.
Keni Thomas, who acted as a Military Advisor, Technical Advisor, and an extra in this film, fought in Mogadishu with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment in 1993, the battle depicted in Black Hawk Down (2001).
A total of three soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for the battle represented in this film. Joseph Marm, Jr. received his shortly after the battle, Ed Freeman on July 16, 2001, and Bruce P. Crandall on February 26, 2007.
The A-6 Intruder footage was originally shot for Flight of the Intruder (1991). This was necessary because the A-6 had been retired several years before this film was made, and so none were available to use in the movie.
Machine gunner Specialist Bill Beck returned home, and became a greeting card artist with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri. Approximately forty years later, he was awarded the Silver Star for his service in Vietnam.
Most of the rifles used in the film are actually the M16A1, identifiable by the forward assist on the left side of the rifle. The M16A1 was not introduced until 1967, but was likely used in place of the historically accurate M16 in the film, because the latter would have been nearly impossible for the films' armorers to acquire, in the numbers necessary, for the film.
In the shot of the hospital nursery, early in the movie, one of the babies is named Papac, hand printed on a card attached to the bassinet. Michael Papac is the armorer for this film, and given the massive scale of the arms and ammunition needed for filming, he played a central role in creating this movie. In fact, in the credits, he is listed as Master Armorer, and three assistants are credited as "Weapons Armorers". It is doubtful that any other movie has ever needed, and credited, four armorers. Naming the baby Papac so prominently, was a well deserved tribute to his contributions.
The barracks, out of which the soldiers file, before loading the buses, belong to A co 1/507 Parachute Infantry Regiment (Airborne School), and are just across the street from the scene where they load the buses.
During the last year of production, Sound Engineer Steve Bartkowicz consulted the Frederick Military Academy Alumni Webmaster, Richard W. Abrams (uncredited), to determine which French bugle call would have been played during the opening massacre sequence. For historical accuracy, Abrams was also called upon, to determine if the bugle call would have remained the same today as in the year of the massacre. The bugle call was found on a French military website, and forwarded to Bartkowicz.
The ammunition pouches, used by many of the actors in the movie, were the "short" version, designed to accommodate the twenty round M-16 magazines. These pouches, however, were not issued until 1968, three years after the film is set. Before this film was made, the short style pouches were common, and readily available. But, because the props department bought so many for filming, they are now very rare collectibles on the surplus market.
A theatrical re-release on September 20, 2002 in Arizona saw the world premiere of Randall Wallace's "Sonic Whole Overhead Sound" format, in which the cinema's audio system features a new ceiling speaker channel to convey height information. The mix was created by Mark P. Stoeckinger, in association with Dolby Labs and Todd-AO/Soundelux.
Mel Gibson, who portrayed Colonel Moore in this film, is also famous for his role as Detective Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon film franchise. In Lethal Weapon (1987), the Battle of Ia Drang is mentioned. Riggs' partner, Roger Murtaugh, states that he escaped being seriously wounded or killed in action while serving there, only because his friend took a bayonet in the lungs for him.
When Second Lieutenant Henry Herrick Marc Blucas is fatally wounded, and giving his final orders, his pupils are small as he is looking up into the bright sky. When he dies, they can be seen to fully dilate over the course of a few seconds, as would happen in real-life.