|Birth name||Scott Francis O'Grady|
|Born||October 12, 1965|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Service/||United States Air Force|
|Years of service||1989–2001|
|Other work||Joint author of Return With Honor, and Basher Five-Two, speaker|
Scott Francis O'Grady (born October 12, 1965) is a former United States Air Force fighter pilot. On June 2, 1995, he was shot down over Bosnia and Herzegovina by a 2K12 Kub mobile SAM launcher and forced to eject from his F-16C into hostile territory. Marines from heavy-helicopter squadron HMH-464 and the 24 MEU(SOC) eventually rescued O'Grady after nearly a week of his evading the Bosnian Serbs. He was previously involved in the Banja Luka incident where he fired upon six enemy aircraft. The 2001 film Behind Enemy Lines is loosely based upon his experiences.
In September 2011, O'Grady announced a run for the 2012 Republican nomination for Texas State Senate District 8, held at the time by the retiring Republican Florence Shapiro,but he later suspended his campaign because of uncertainties over the Texas redistricting fight. In November 2020, President Donald Trump stated an official intention to nominate O'Grady as the next Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. The nomination was submitted to the Senate for confirmation on November 30, 2020. Before and during the nomination, O'Grady had spread numerous theories regarding the 2020 United States presidential election, and calls by Michael Flynn for Trump to institute martial law.
The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between April 1992 and December 1995. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), after popular pressure, had decided to intervene in the Bosnian War after allegations of war crimes against civilians were made by various media organizations. NATO military involvement primarily involved enforcement of a No-fly zone codenamed Operation Deny Flight to discourage Bosnian Serb military aircraft from attacking Bosnian government and Bosnian Croat forces.As part of that operation, two F-16s from the 555th Fighter Squadron based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, were patrolling the skies above Bosnia on June 2, 1995.
On the ground, a Bosnian-Serb army 2K12 Kub surface-to-air missile battery near Mrkonjić Grad was readying to fire its missiles on NATO aircraft. The Serbs had moved the mobile tracked missile battery and laid a trap. They switched on their missile radars sparingly, giving F-16 fighters little warning. Waiting until a plane was directly overhead, where the aircraft's warning and countermeasures would be at their weakest, they fired two missiles. In the cockpit, O'Grady's instruments alerted him that a missile was coming, but, because he was flying through an overcast sky, he could not see it. The first missile exploded between the two aircraft. The second struck the F-16 piloted by O'Grady.His flight lead, Captain Robert Gordon "Wilbur" Wright, saw O'Grady's plane burst into flames and break in two. Wright did not see a parachute, but O'Grady survived by ejecting from the aircraft.
O'Grady landed among a Bosnian-Serb population he was briefed would be unfriendly. He quickly secured a 29-pound (13 kg) survival bag, ran, and hid. Rubbing dirt on his face, he hid face-down as Bosnian-Serb forces came upon his parachute, half a dozen times shooting their rifles only feet from where he was hidden in an effort to flush him out or kill him.
During the next six days, he put to use the lessons learned during a 17-day Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training session he had undertaken near his hometown of Spokane, Washington. He ate leaves, grass, and bugs, and stored the little rainwater he could collect with a sponge in plastic bags.
O'Grady radioed for help immediately but had to remain quiet with paramilitaries coming within feet of him; he used the radio following standard operating procedures as the U.S. Air Force had taught him so not to give away his position to unfriendly forces. On his 6th night on the ground he made radio contact, signalling his location using his radio's limited battery power. NATO planes conducting sorties in the Balkans had been picking up beeper snippets that they thought could be coming from O'Grady. This extremely sensitive information was inadvertently revealed by General Ronald Fogleman, the Air Force Chief of Staff, when the general told reporters attending a promotion ceremony that monitors had detected "intermittent" transmissions.A NATO official was quoted as saying "I was dumbfounded he said that... I mean, why not just announce to the bad guys, 'We think he's alive and kicking, and we hope we find him before you do'?"
Just after midnight on June 8,O'Grady spoke into the radio. An F-16 pilot, Captain Thomas "T.O." Hanford, from the 510th responded and, after confirming his identity, the rescue was set in motion. At 0440 local time, USAF Lt. General Michael Ryan and Navy Admiral Leighton Smith, commander of NATO Southern Forces, called US Marine Corps Colonel Martin Berndt aboard USS Kearsarge with orders to "execute".
Two CH-53 Sea Stallions with 51 marines from the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines within the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit lifted off USS Kearsarge to rescue the pilot. The two helicopters were accompanied by two Marine Corps AH-1W Supercobra helicopter gunships and a pair of Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier jump jets, one piloted by Captain Ronald C. Walkerwicz. These six aircraft had support from identical sets of replacement helicopters and jump jets as well as two Navy EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare planes, two Air Force EF-111A Raven electronic warfare planes, two Marine F/A-18D Hornets, a pair of anti-tank Air Force A-10 Thunderbolts, an SH-60B from USS Ticonderoga (CG-47), and an RAF AWACS E-3D.
At 0635, the helicopters approached the area where O'Grady's signal beacon had been traced. The pilots saw bright yellow smoke coming from trees near a rocky pasture where O'Grady had set off a flare. The first Sea Stallion, commanded by Major William Tarbutton, touched down and 20 Marines jumped off the aircraft and set up a defensive perimeter.As the second Sea Stallion, commanded by Captains Paul Fortunato and James Wright, landed, a figure with a pistol who turned out to be the missing pilot appeared running towards the Marines and immediately went to the Sea Stallion. As the side door opened, he was pulled in before the second 20 Marines poised to leave by the rear ramp could even move. They were called back to their seats, and those who had formed the defensive perimeter reboarded the other helicopter. After a quick head count, the Stallions took off. They had been on the ground no more than seven minutes.
The Marines, with O'Grady, flew low over Serb-held Bosnia. However, American aircraft detected a Serb missile radar along the Croatian coast, scanning for targets. An American plane recommended destroying the Serb radar, code-named Giraffe. The request was denied, partly out of concern that a strike could spark wider conflict.
Minutes later, the Marines reported they were under fire. Three shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles had been fired at them but missed, as the helicopter pilots—flying 150 feet (46 m) off the ground at 175 mph (282 km/h)—jinked to evade them. Serb small arms pocked both helicopters; the Marines aboard heard the bullets hit inside the fuselage. One door gunner returned fire. One round hit some communication gear in the chopper and the bullet ended up against Sergeant Major Angel Castro Jr.'s armor without injuring anyone. At 0715 local time, 30 minutes after picking up O'Grady, the rescuers reported "feet wet", meaning they were over water. O'Grady was back aboard the Kearsarge at 0730. All of the aircraft landed without further incident.
On August 11, 1995,a USAF RQ-1 Predator drone was shot down by Serb forces in the same area. The Serbs recovered the wreckage and handed it over to Russia for technical evaluation. On August 30, NATO launched Operation Deliberate Force, a massive airstrike campaign which eventually lifted the siege of Sarajevo and led to the end of the war in Bosnia.
O'Grady received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for this mission.
In November 2020, President Donald Trump announced intent to nominate O'Grady to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs).The President justified this intent to appoint by citing O'Grady's combat experience, his book Return With Honor, and Master's degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from University of Portland in Oregon.
Shortly before and during the nomination period, O'Grady promoted evidence-free theories about the 2020 United States presidential election, including claims that Trump won the election in a "landslide fashion", that millions of votes were "stolen from [Trump]", and that Hillary Clinton and George Soros were somehow involved in helping foreign agents interfere in the election.Additionally, Grady signaled support for conspiracy theories by Sidney Powell alleging an international conspiracy of politicians, CIA agents, communists, and deceased former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez working with Dominion Voting Systems to rig the election for Biden; retweeted attacks calling former Defense Secretary James Mattis a "traitor"; and endorsed a petition allegedly shared by former national security advisor Michael Flynn which recommended Trump declare martial law to overturn the election.
On January 3, 2021, his nomination was returned to the President under Rule XXXI, Paragraph 6 of the United States Senate.
On December 14, 2020 the U.S. Defense Department announced that the Trump administration nominated O'Grady to the Defense Policy Board, as a part of a slate of replacement nominations for the 11 board members who were abruptly fired in November 2020.O'Grady was sworn in as the board member on January 19, 2021, the last full day of Trump's presidency, under pressure from the White House to complete his and other similar nominations. After President Joe Biden took office, the new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a "zero-based review" of all the Pentagon advisory boards and fired all of their members who are appointed by the DoD, effective February 16, 2021, including all the Defense Policy Board members.
O'Grady was born in Brooklyn, New York City, a son of William P. O'Grady and Mary Lou Scardapane, and graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane, Washington. He is a former cadet in the Civil Air Patrol and a 1989 Air Force ROTC graduate from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's campus in Prescott, Arizona. After his rescue, O'Grady transferred from active duty in the regular U.S. Air Force to the Air Force Reserve, where he continued to fly the F-16. In May 2007, he completed a master's degree in biblical studies at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. He resides in Frisco in Collin County, Texas.
O'Grady is an active Republican, having spoken at the 1996 Republican convention in support of Bob Dole.In 2004, O'Grady, supporting George W. Bush for re-election, accused Bush's opponent John Kerry of "treason" for actions taken during the Vietnam War. O'Grady endorsed Brian Birdwell in his successful 2010 bid for the Texas State Senate, then launched his own candidacy for the Texas state house in September 2011, seeking the 2012 Republican nomination in Senate District 8 following the retirement of Sen. Florence Shapiro. O'Grady dropped out of the race in early 2012, claiming Shapiro had reneged on a promise to support him in the Republican primary, while his opponent had numerous endorsements.
The shootdown incident was depicted and described on the documentary television program Situation Critical in episode No. 5, "Downed Pilot". This has been shown on the National Geographic Channel.It was also covered in "Escape! – Escape From Bosnia: The Scott O'Grady Story" on the History Channel. The BBC also made a documentary, titled "Missing in Action", that was later purchased by 20th Century Fox and Discovery Communications.
The 2001 film Behind Enemy Lines , starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson, is loosely based on this event.Although O'Grady had given the film a positive rating on the film review television show Hot Or Not, O'Grady took offense at the portrayal of 'his' character in Behind Enemy Lines "as a pilot who disobeys orders and swears". O'Grady sued 20th Century Fox in 2002 for falsely misleading the public that the film was true to life and for using him unauthorized to promote the film without his permission. He also took action over the documentary, Behind Enemy Lines: The Scott O'Grady Story, which was a re-edited version of a BBC documentary which Discovery Communications, parent company of the Discovery Channel, had purchased and edited. The documentary was broadcast several times on the Discovery Channel, and O'Grady accused Fox of using it to promote the film. Both suits were settled in 2004. Fox made a confidential settlement with O'Grady, while a Texas court ruled against O'Grady and in favor of Discovery Communications. The judge's ruling stated, in effect, that the events in a person's life are not the same thing as that person's likeness or image.
O'Grady co-wrote two books, collaborating on one, with Michael French, that detailed his experiences of being shot down over Bosnia and his eventual rescue, Basher Five-Two: The True Story of F-16 Fighter Pilot Captain Scott O'Grady.He first wrote a book that was a New York Times Bestseller about his experience in Return with Honor with Jeff Coplon. Another book has also been written; this one, "Good To Go:" The Rescue of Capt. Scott O'Grady, USAF, from Bosnia, was written by Mary Pat Kelly.
William James Perry is an American mathematician, engineer, businessman, and civil servant who was the United States Secretary of Defense from February 3, 1994, to January 23, 1997, under President Bill Clinton. He also served as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1993–1994) and Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (1977–1981).
The Yugoslav People's Army, also called the Yugoslav National Army, was the military of Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its antecedents from 1945 to 1992 and primary branch of Yugoslav armed forces.
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1994:
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1995:
Behind Enemy Lines is a 2001 American war film directed by John Moore in his directorial debut, and starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. The film tells the story of Lieutenant Chris Burnett, an American naval flight officer who is shot down over Bosnia and uncovers genocide during the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, his commanding officer is struggling to gain approval to launch a combat search and rescue mission to save Burnett. The plot is loosely based on the 1995 Mrkonjić Grad incident that occurred during the war.
Aviano Air Base is a base in northeastern Italy, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. It is located in the Aviano municipality, at the foot of the Carnic Pre-Alps or Southern Carnic Alps, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Pordenone.
Ronald Robert Fogleman is a retired United States Air Force general who served as the 15th Chief of Staff of the Air Force from 1994 to 1997 and, before that, as Commanding General, United States Transportation Command from 1992 to 1994.
Operation Deliberate Force was a sustained air campaign conducted by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), in concert with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) ground operations, to undermine the military capability of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), which had threatened and attacked UN-designated "safe areas" in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian War with the Srebrenica and Markale massacres, precipitating the intervention. The shelling of the Sarajevo market place on 28 August 1995 by the VRS is considered to be the immediate instigating factor behind NATO's decision to launch the operation.
Operation Deny Flight was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operation that began on 12 April 1993 as the enforcement of a United Nations (UN) no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina. The United Nations and NATO later expanded the mission of the operation to include providing close air support for UN troops in Bosnia and carrying out coercive air strikes against targets in Bosnia. Twelve NATO members contributed forces to the operation and, by its end on 20 December 1995, NATO pilots had flown 100,420 sorties.
The 21st Special Operations Squadron is a unit within the 353rd Special Operations Group, United States Air Force based at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The unit has been activated and inactivated a number of times in its history. Prior to October 2007 it was with the 352d Special Operations Group, United States Air Force, United States European Command, and based at Royal Air Force base RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England.
The Republika Srpska air force was the air force of Republika Srpska and was used primarily during the Bosnian war. In 2005, it was integrated into the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. SFOR still plays a large role in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which consists of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska. Under the leadership of one president, the ministry of defense of both entities merged into one single ministry of defense with one chief of joint staff commanding both Air Forces. In 2004 there was again a restructuring of the armed forces, bringing the number of Air Force personnel down to 4,000. Next to the command, the 1st Regiment V i PVO consists out of a platoon, a radar battalion, artillery rocket ADF battalion, AF logistics battalion and aviation assets, a Fighter Bomber Squadron and Mixed Helicopter Squadron. In 2006 the Air Force of Republika Srpska was disbanded.
The Banja Luka incident, on 28 February 1994, was an incident in which six Republika Srpska Air Force J-21 Jastreb single-seat light attack jets were engaged, and four of them shot down, by NATO warplanes from the United States Air Force. U.S. F-16 fighters southwest of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina successfully engaged and destroyed several Bosnian Serb warplanes which had attacked a Bosnian factory, while suffering no casualties of their own. It marked the first active combat action, air-to-air or otherwise, in NATO's history.
The Air Force of Serbia and Montenegro, also known as the Air Force of Yugoslavia from 1992 to 2003, was the air force of the former Serbia and Montenegro. It had around 300 fighter aircraft, ground attack aircraft, and other aircraft. The air force, in 1998, had about 16,000 personnel. The air force was disbanded when Montenegro voted to secede from the ex-FRY in 2006. The bulk of it was inherited by the Serbian Air Force.
Combat search and rescue (CSAR) are search and rescue operations that are carried out during war that are within or near combat zones.
The NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was a series of actions undertaken by NATO whose stated aim was to establish long-term peace during and after the Bosnian War. NATO's intervention began as largely political and symbolic, but gradually expanded to include large-scale air operations and the deployment of approximately 60,000 soldiers under Operation Joint Endeavor.
On 27 March 1999, during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, a Yugoslav army unit shot down an F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft of the United States Air Force by firing a S-125 Neva/Pechora surface-to-air missile. The pilot ejected safely and was rescued by U.S. Air Force PJs conducting search and rescue.
David Lee Goldfein is a retired United States Air Force four-star general who last served as the 21st chief of staff of the Air Force. He previously served as the vice chief of staff of the Air Force and, prior to that, he served as the director of the Joint Staff, a position within the Joint Chiefs of Staff who assists the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Goldfein retired from the Air Force on October 1, 2020, after over 37 years of service.
Scott Alan Howell is a retired lieutenant general in the United States Air Force, who most recently served as the 15th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He previously served as the vice commander United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in Washington, D.C., where he planned, coordinated, and executed USSOCOM initiatives with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, military services, and other government agencies.
On 21 November 1994, NATO aircraft taking part of Operation Deny Flight carried out an airstrike on the airbase of Udbina, Croatia, then part of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Krajina. Krajina Serbs had been launching air attacks on neighbour Bosnia and Herzegovina from the base in support of allied Serbian forces there, specially during the battle of Bihac. NATO forces intervened in order to deter further attacks. Two anti-aircraft SA-2 missile sites that the Serbs had used to attack Bihac in the ground-to-ground mode and to engage NATO aircraft were also destroyed in the following days. The bombing of Udbina was the largest air combat operation in Europe since World War II, and the largest combat operation in NATO's history up to that time.