He moved at night, occasionally trying his radio to call for help. He fought the wet conditions, thirst and hunger. He ate ants and plants and drank the water he had in his emergency pack until that ran out on the fourth day. Rain brought more water, but it also soaked him. He developed trench foot from the prolonged exposure to cold water.
On the sixth night, using the call sign Basher Five-Two, he made contact with Capt. T. O. Hanford, one of his squadron mates (who was flying on extremely low fuel), and soon four U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) helicopters were headed more than 80 miles into enemy territory. About 40 other aircraft kept watch nearby in case the Serbs caught on to the rescue attempt.
On the morning of Jun. 8, 1995, they found him, sprinting from the woods into a small opening, 9mm pistol in his hand in case there was enemy fire.
A team of Marines covered him as he got into one of two CH-53E Super Stallions. Two AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter gunships flew nearby in case the enemy fire on the way out became a problem.
Those Marines were the heroes, O’Grady said. “I was just doing my job,” he concluded.
This first appeared in Aviation Geek Club here.