Scott Francis O'Grady is a former United States Air Force fighter pilot. On June 2, 1995 he was shot down over Bosnia by an SA-6 mobile SAM launcher and forced to eject from his F-16C into hostile territory.

Capt.(Ret.) Scott O'Grady speaking at the Sons of Adam Baptist Church on 22 May, 2014.

Photo and Story by Jaimie Brehler

 

On the evening of 22 May, 2014, Captain (Ret.) Scott O'Grady paid a visit to the

Sons of Adam Baptist Church located in North Asheville, North Carolina. A guest

speaker hosted by the church's Pastor Jim Dykes, in front of a sold out crowd

Scott spoke in depth about his extraordinary experience of having been shot down

while flying some 80 miles Behind Enemy Lines just as the movie of the same

name depicted which had some minor Hollywood discrepancies. He spoke in

detail about the experience of his aircraft being struck by a Russian made SAM

missile while flying 500 mph and approximately five miles above the earth. He.

then ejected while on fire from the explosion of the missile slamming into his

unarmed F16 Fighter Jet. He descended slowly guided to earth as Serbian

Paramilitary Death Squads (this way the Serb government could deny any

response ability for their actions and the genocide they are responsible for)

followed his decent to the ground in vehicles. Desperately he began to take into

account his desperate situation. It was then and there he found a new found

solace with God.


Landing in a small opening inside of a sparsely wooded area he quickly took up a

hide spot on the very edge of the tree line where the branches met the ground.

The rest of the area was void of cover and concealment including the dark forest

floor. From there he watched day and night as Serbian Forces searched for him by

helicopter and on foot patrol which came so close to him he could see their faces.


After exhausting what little food and water he had, suffering from his burns, trench

foot, hypothermia he was unable to make contact with anyone via his TABB-B

radio(which he had to use ever so sparingly)he realized that he needed to leave

his hide and go to higher ground in order for his transmissions to be heard. His

movements were excruciatingly slow and painful taking up to 30 minutes to make

a single movement he labored his way to a nearby hill top where he was able to

retry his radio.


On the fifth day of escaping and evading captivity he finally contacted a former

Wingman of his which he had served with in Korea. After verification of where had

he served in Korea to him he was greeted by sounds of joy and relief that he was

still alive! The Wingman flying with him on the mission which he was shot down on

had reported he had not seen an ejection and had no further radio contact so he

was presumed KIA.


On his sixth and final morning on the run, he suddenly witnessed 2 Cobra

Gunships appear over the ridge from his hilltop hideaway where he observed them

begin to fly in circles around him. They were followed by two US Marine Corps

Sea Stallion helicopters that virtually conducted controlled crash landings as they

reared with cockpits skyward landing on their tails onto the small hilltop clearing.

Fearing that he would be mistaken for an enemy soldier Captain O'Grady donned

an orange hat hoping his rescuers would recognize him as a crazy American

being the only individual insane enough to wear orange in a combat environment.

With conviction that they would see him for who he was, he made a mad dash

toward one of the awaiting helicopters where he dove in just as the copters

jettisoned out of the area they were met with stiff resistance! Shoulder fired

missiles were launched at them as well as a wall of lead from small arms fire

including a Russian made .30 Caliber vehicle mounted machine gun or two.

Rounds struck both Sea Stallions hitting both, including the top ribbing of the

interior of the helicopter above him and the canteen of the Sergeant Major of the

Sixth Fleet Marine Expeditionary Unit which bravely came to rescue him. O'Grady

watched as a young camouflaged faced man picked up one of the rounds that had

landed inside their helicopter bay and put it into one of his pockets. The Cobras

went to work as security from below as they leapt out over the Adriatic Sea where

he managed a glance upwards not to see his rescuers not jumping for joy that

they had rescued him but rather just grinning with the knowledge that "21 had

gone in and 22 had made it out of there alive" as they sped toward an awaiting

hospital ship. Suffering from dehydration he couldn't drink enough water on the

short flight to the ship.


Upon landing he was rushed to the hospital below deck and treated with IV fluids

and round of injections while they brought his body's core temperature back to

normal. They also treated his burns and trench foot there. Afterward being unable

to walk he was taken by wheelchair to his quarters on board the ship where he

was given a choice of three mess facilities to choose a meal from, the Captains

Mess, Senior Enlisted Mess or the Jr. Enlisted Mess. He chose the later and was

rewarded with a meal of crab legs and strawberry ice cream! After eating one of

the best meals in his life he then fell into a deep sleep for a few short hours. He

was then transported back to his home base in Aviano, Italy where he underwent

further treatment(s) and recovery. He continued to serve his country for another

year prior to his retirement after 13 years of dedicated and honorable service to

our nation. Scott attributes his survival while downed in Central Bosnia to a

number of things ranging from his upbringing to his survival training and a pep talk

from CG "Storming" Norman Schwarzkopf of Vietnam and Operations Desert

Storm & Desert Shield on the value of good leadership. Humbly he finds it difficult

to except being called a hero when he truly is just that!


Today, Captain O'Grady lives in Dallas, TX from where he continues to serve his

country and fellow man by speaking about his love of God, Country and his time in

Service (despite the horrors he experienced) throughout nationwide venues both

Military and Civillian.

 

 

 

Speaking to Captain O'Grady after his lecture he was asked if he had anything to say about his survival.  He stated that listening to former POW's speak on their time trying to survive in captivity or on the run conducting E & E to hide from the enemy before or during their captivity was as he says, "definitely key to his own survivability while he was on the run from Serbian Paramilitary Forces!"