25 years ago pilot O’grady was shot down over Bosnia.

June 2, 1995, the skies over Republic of Srpska in Bosnia was shot down by American F-16 fighter. Pilot Scott O’grady was able to eject and a few days hiding in the woods until he was rescued by Marines of the United States. His adventures were reflected in popular culture. While there is a version that the American actually surrendered to the Bosnian Serbs and after a week was issued and not saved in a special operation.

aviation is almost never used by the participating countries of the Bosnian war. According to the UN security Council resolution 816, by providing a no-fly zone over the territory of the conflict were engaged in the air forces of NATO. Since April 1993, the aircraft of the Alliance had the authority to take “all necessary and proportionate to the specific circumstances and nature of the flight of steps”.

So, on February 28, 1994, in the skies over Banja Luka occurred only during the war, air combat in which fighter jets the United States air force shot down four attack aircraft of the air force of Republika Srpska, attacked a military factory in the Novi Travnik. the aircraft of the Bosnian Serbs was not the anti-aircraft guns, and a little speed wouldn’t let go from supersonic fighters.

June 2, 1995, there were notable incident. Two fighter-bomber F-16 U.S. air force took off from bases in Italian Aviano for routine patrolling of the airspace over Bosnia. Pilots reason it was not known what on earth the Bosnian Serbs installed and securely disguised Soviet anti-aircraft missile air defense systems “Cube”. Waylaid when the American planes will be coming into straight defeat, the gunners fired two homing missiles. Captain Bob Wright was lucky — the shot went wide.

the Hit had in the belly of the F-16, piloted by 29-year-old captain Scott O’grady. The fighter broke apart in the air, but the pilot managed to eject. He landed safely near the town of derventa on the territory controlled by the Bosnian Serbs. From that moment began the amazing adventures O’grady, about which he later wrote two books. In addition, his story was filmed. The movie “behind enemy lines” Director John Moore, however, did not like neither to the hero nor the film critics. The audience noted anti-Serb character of the movie and its blatant provocation.

Sam O’grady described the minutes before the attack: “Through the canopy I carefully looked into the sky, trying to see any signs of missiles. Anti-aircraft guided missile of class “air-land” leaves a trail of white smoke. This smoke is the only way the pilotand to make a visual identification. After launching the rocket, the smoke disappears. She then flies to the target quietly and almost two times faster than my F-16. Not seeing anything in the sky, I again looked at the display of my warning system about threats. A moment later, tripped the second alarm. Information about anti-aircraft guns underneath me came up with spy satellites. However due the poor performance of the radio I couldn’t get the message.”

“I knew that the missile could be launched, — said the pilot. A second later, bright red flash lit up the sky. The missile missed. My heart furiously pounded. I knew that anti-aircraft complex usually has a doublet. Most likely, another rocket was already in the air and flew right at me. I realized that I needed to maneuver to avoid being hit. But there was no time. What I heard almost tore my eardrums. Then followed blow. There was a fire, intense heat spread through the cabin. With all its modern electronics and supersonic speed of the F-16 is not perfect in terms of protective qualities. The missile struck one of the fuel tanks and cut the plane into two parts. The nose and cockpit had broken away. I fell on the Ground.”

within minutes after landing, he pulled a 13-pound bag with survival kit attached under the pilot’s chair and hid. O’grady smeared dirt on the face and, when the Serbian military, lay face down. American does not hurry to report your coordinates, because he feared that this information would be intercepted. Downed pilots often give their location to the enemy, when it is too early to seek help. So for the next six days he was hiding in the Bosnian forests, eating leaves, grass and bugs. Using a sponge, O’grady was collected in plastic bags rain water.

it was Believed that Serbian patrols combing the area in search of a skydiver and intend to kill him after the discovery. The chief of staff of the Bosnian Serb army Ratko mladić, however, denied such suspicions. In July 1995, he stated in an interview: “we had no reason to detain this pilot. We had enough that his plane which could destroy the Serbian civilian targets, were shot down. The us pilot was not necessary.”

Only on the fourth day, the pilot began to transmit signals with their coordinates. The rescue operation began on 8 June. It involved 40 military aircraft and helicopters with 51 Marines on Board. O’grady lit a signal flare. Early in the morning, the American pilots saw a column of yellow smoke rising from the trees. Of landed the helicopter under the command of major William Tbutton landed 20 fighters. As soon as he made a landing a second car, O’grady came out of his hiding place and ran to the nation, not waiting for their release. After landing the Marines from the first helicopter were quickly absorbed and showed a readiness to take off. Ground part of the operation lasted no more than seven minutes.

Among a large number of sources, telling about the operation, known material “Marines rescue downed pilot” authored by Dale Cooper. It is the memory of marine Sergeant Scott Feister, who jumped from a second helicopter and ran towards O’grady: “I well remember how he ran through the meadow on his head was an orange hat from emergency kit, he brandished a gun “Beretta” and something muttered. It was frustrating to hit the officer, but I still hit him on his right hand to knock out her gun.”

Faster helped the weakened O’grady to reach the helicopter and sat him on the seat. As soon as the rescued were inside, Sergeant angel Gomez cuffed him to the seat belts, put on his head a protective helmet and prepared for takeoff. As I said a marine, O’grady kept saying, “Thank you.” He was frozen, his body was severely dehydrated, and clothes sopping wet. When they rose in the air, Gomez handed the pilot a bottle of water. O’grady began greedily to drink, and then swallowed a few spoonfuls of chicken stew.

“If the flight to Bosnia passed without incident, the flight back was not as calm. When the rescue group had left behind the mist-shrouded mountains and were above the plain, which stretched down to the coast, helicopters have become visible and vulnerable. Before the return was still a good third of the race, when it opened fire with antiaircraft guns and small arms”, — stated in the article, Cooper.

off the coast of the Adriatic squadron of the U.S. air force noticed the missile radar Bosnian Serb skanirovanii airspace. The crew of one aircraft proposed to destroy the unit. However, the command refused this idea, so as not to provoke an armed conflict. In a minute by moving at 50-m height the helicopters opened fire from the ground. Bosnian Serbs fired two missiles from manual systems and then fired at targets with small arms.

“I saw we fired portable anti-aircraft missiles SA-7 Soviet-made, — told the co-pilot captain Jim Wright. — It is a screw flew in our direction from the left side. Paul Fortunato and Martin Berndt also saw a rocket that flew past. At least one such missile was fired at helicopters.”

the Attack did not cause the war machine tangible harm, although one of the bullets stuck in the armorvest commando. Soon, the helicopters headed for the base, and 15 minutes later landed on the aircraft carrier. Time later, the President of the USA bill Clinton took O’grady to the White house, handed him a state award.

After the incident with O’grady Republican Congressman Jim Saxton released the report, which indicated that the U.S. military back in 1993 knew the area where they were downed pilot, well protected by air defense missile batteries of the Bosnian Serbs. In the report it was suggested that the Serbian military command concentrated its air defenses around the air base in Banja Luka.

In July 1995, the US and its NATO allies inflicted on the territory of Republika Srpska massive air strikes. During air raids the destruction suffered mostly civilian targets. The Yugoslav newspaper VECERNJE Novosti cited the following data: US planes have made air attacks 2318, England — 326, France — 284, the Netherlands — 198, Spain — 121, Turkey — 70, Germany — 59, Italy — 35.

In 1999 in the magazine “soldier of fortune” published an article of the Russian volunteer, a veteran of the Bosnian war Michael Gorinova called “the American “heroes” in the skies of Yugoslavia.” In his article he presented a different version of events. Approval Gorinova, in fact, O’grady was captured, where he called Clinton a “fascist.” A week later the pilot gave the Americans, and the U.S. government honored him as a hero for propaganda purposes.

“one of the days of June we five Russian volunteers traveled to hitch to the town of pale, said Karimov. — On one of the posts of the military police learned that the trailer Yugoslavs have is a downed American pilot. His overalls were covered in dirt and swamp mud, face bitten by mosquitoes and swollen. One of our guys pretty well bilingual in English. It turns out that the pilot was trying to explain the reasons for his being here. Told of the circumstances under which it was shot down by Yugoslav air defenses. Bailing out the collapsing of the aircraft, the pilot descended by parachute into a swamp… and nearly drowned in the quagmire. The tide finally turned when the night he was attacked by hordes of mosquitoes. Then the rain came and it froze. To make matters worse, the American managed to twist an ankle. After wandering through the woods, the downed pilot finally came on the road and seeing first a passing car, raised his hands and surrendered”.

“From his narrative can be understood as he skillfully left from persecution. Hiding in the woods, knocked the dogs off the scent, using various Indian trick I learned in childhood. All this time he didn’t turn off the beacon. According to him, on the third day the Serbs still uscrucibles of him, but then flew helicopters with the U.S. marine corps. Summing up under his monologue, the hero of America stated: “Serbs are primitive savages and barbarians”. Based on this conclusion, urged the US President not to stand on ceremony with those who “stands in the way of the world civilization”, wrote Karimov.

three years after the incident, O’grady moved into the reserve and went into politics. So, in 2004, he supported the reelection of George Bush for a second term. In 2011, pilot-Republican tried to get elected to the Senate of the state of Texas.