11th MEU TRAP team brings downed pilots home

17 Apr 2004 | 11th MEU PA Staff

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.

Marine Corps News

Colonel Jim W. Lively
Commanding Officer

Colonel Lively is a native of Dallas, Texas. He received his commission in 1996 through the Platoon Leaders Course program after graduating from Texas A&M University with a BA in Psychology.

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Lieutenant Col. Le E. Nolan
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Colonel Nolan is a 2001 graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and received his commission through Officer Candidate Class 180. After completing flight training as a CH-53E pilot, he reported to HMH-361 in MCAS Miramar.

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Sergeant Major Travis L. DeBarr
Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major DeBarr enlisted in the Marine Corps and reported to MCRD San Diego, CA, for recruit training in October 1994.

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11th Marine Expeditionary Unit