ENGLAND: NATO COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF PRAISES FIGHTER PILOT RESCUED FROM NORTHERN BOSNIA
- Title: ENGLAND: NATO COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF PRAISES FIGHTER PILOT RESCUED FROM NORTHERN BOSNIA
- Date: 8th June 1995
- Summary: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 8, 1995) 1. MV: NATO COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF ALLIED FORCES SOUTHERN EUROPE ADMIRAL LEIGHTON-SMITH SPEAKS OF THE RESCUE OPERATION AND BRAVERY OF THE PILOT (ENGLISH) (5 SHOTS) 2. MV: CUTAWAYS (3 SHOTS) TRANSCRIPT SEQUENCE 1, LEIGHTON-SMITH: "THESE GUYS HAD TO FLY THROUGH CLOUDS AND OVER FOG AND THE PILOT THAT DID THIS OPERATION AND THE MARINES THAT WERE IN THESE AIRPLANES ARE PRETTY EXPOSED WHEN THEY'RE UP THERE SO THAT TOOK AN AWFUL LOT OF COURAGE. THEY WENT IN BECAUSE THEY HAD A FELLOW AIRMAN ON THE GROUND AND THEY HAD THE COURAGE TO CONTINUE ON AND THEY WENT IN AND GOT HIM. I MUST TELL YOU IT WAS A RISKY OPERATION. I THINK IT WAS DONE VERY WELL. WHATEVER ELSE HE HAD IN TERMS OF SHELTER, PARACHUTE, WHATEVER, HE HAD A LOT OF GUTS TO GO IN THERE, THAT'S WHAT GOT HIM THROUGH, GUTS AND TRAINING...WE FIGURED IF THERE WAS ANYBODY WHO COULD SURVIVE THIS IT WAS A YOUNG AMERICAN ON AN F-16 AND BY GOD WE WERE RIGHT...I MUST TELL YOU THAT GENTLEMAN SURVIVED ONE TREMENDOUS RIDE DOWN ON THAT AIRPLANE BECAUSE THE WORD WE GOT WAS THAT THE COCKPIT WAS TOTALLING, SO HE WAS VERY LUCKY TO GET OUT OF THAT AIRPLANE, HE'S VERY SMART AND VERY DETERMINED AND VERY GUTSY TO HAVE EVADED FOR AS LONG AS HE DID USING THE EQUIPMENT THAT HE HAD. THEY USUALLY HAVE WATER, THEY HAVE SOME CAPABILITY FOR SMALL AMOUNTS OF FOOD PERHAPS SUGAR, CANDY, THAT SORT OF THING THEIR BASIC SURVIVAL KIT CAPABILITIES IN THEIR PACKAGES. I DON'T KNOW THE ENTIRE INVENTORY BUT I'D BE HAPPY TO GET THAT FOR YOU." Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVAEUZWETWXZL08CJI2AJDPGQBUC
- Location: LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:02:09
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: NATO's Commander-in-Chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe Admiral Leighton Smith praised the fighter pilot who was rescued from northern Bosnia on Thursday (June 8).
Speaking in London, Smith said the United States forces did what they had to do to get the pilot out.
He said the fighter pilot was a "gutsy young man" who did everything right and all he should be looking for was a reward for his efforts.
The pilot was rescued by a special American military team six days after he was shot down.
The rescue team included Marine Cobra attack helicopters and CH-53 transport helicopters from the Kearsarge covered by U.S. F-18 fighter jets and EF-111 and EA-6B electronic warfare planes.
Smith said there had been some small arms fire during the operation but no personnel or equipment was damaged.
Defence officials said they believed that O'Grady had remained hidden for most of the time and did not try to begin sending voice signals until late Wednesday night.
Smith said the medical people said the pilot, Captain Scott, was in good condition, somewhat dehydrated and malnourished but in good spirits. Scott, currently on the U.S. aircraft carrier Kearsarge, will be taken to Aviano, Italy, his home base, on Thursday.
Smith said at 0000gmt an F16 pilot heard the first radio contact from Captain Scott and the operation got underway. All alliance aircraft facilities were put on increased alert to go in and pick up Captain Scott.
At daybreak the rescue team went in to northern Bosnia for the recovery operation, with everyone returning safely to their bases.
Smith said he was proud of all the people throughout the alliance who responded so quickly.
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- Embargoed:23rd June 1995 13:00