ABOARD THE USS BELLEAU WOOD -- Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady became a household name when he evaded capture by Bosnian Serb forces for six harrying days after his F-16 Falcon jet was shot down. United States Marines were the ones to go in and rescue him.
Most people don't know what it takes to accomplish such a mission, called Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel, or TRAP. However, a platoon of Marines from 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit does.
Marines from 3rd Platoon, Company C, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 11th MEU, participated in a TRAP exercise at San Clemente Island, Calif., April 17.
The TRAP mission was successfully completed during the 11th MEU's second at-sea period called Composite Unit Training Exercise, or COMPTUEX, and is one of 23 missions the MEU trains for to earn the designation "Special Operations Capable."
In this scenario, 3rd Platoon boarded two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters and went to rescue two American pilots who ejected from their aircraft over enemy territory due to mechanical problems. Third Platoon's mission was to rescue and bring them safely back to the USS Belleau Wood.