New Details on the Mission to Rescue Downed F-15E Crew

This video posted over on Steve Trimble’s blog, The DEW Line provides some interesting details of the mission to rescue the crew of the Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle that went down in Libya a couple of months ago. We’ve all heard that Marines aboard the MV-22 Ospreys  sent to rescue the pilot opened fire when they thought they may have encountered enemy fighters. However, the video features Lt Col Romin Dasmalchi, former commanding officer of VMM-266 saying that the crashed Strike Eagle’s wingman remained on station performing strafing runs to keep the enemy from the downed crewmen and that he was soon joined by two Marine Corps Harriers who also performed kinetic ops. This is the first time I’ve heard it confirmed that the fast movers dropped ordnance during the rescue.

“There was kinetic stuff going on there,” says Dasmalchi in the video. “The guy on the ground was calling for strikes, his wingman performed some strafing runs our guys got on board, the Harriers, they actually had some engagements so there was enemy activity in the vicinity of this guy.”

The colonel goes on to say that the Ospreys’ speed allowed the Marines to shave an hour or more off the amount of time it would have taken to execute the mission using traditional helos.

The back seater from the downed jet managed to make his way to rebel lines and was turned over to U.S. forces a short while after the pilot was rescued.

  • Vstress

    Sounds pretty impressive by all means, just shows how good it is for pilots to learn E&E skills!

    Just one question… as maybe I don’t know the E&E tricks of the trade… but why would the two guys have split up? Are the ejection seats not linked to fire together in the E? I would have thought that once the canopy was jettisoned, both would fire. So I can’t see them landing that far apart.

    Maybe I need to wait for the report to come out to say what happened!

    • orly?

      “Goose! Oh no goose! Oh god!”

    • ew-3

      Trust me, after going through SERE, nobody wants to be taken alive.

      • anon

        I wonder what McCain would say to that. He suffered brutal torture and was forever changed by it, but…

        Then again, Hezbollah in the ’80s tended to kill their prisoners after torture, and Al Qaeda certainly doesn’t treat prisoners well. However the worst treatment of abductees comes from Iraq, from when the Iraqi Police (Wolf Brigade and other units) abducted random Sunnis as part of the sectarian civil war. Drill into skulls, electroshock, all sorts of sick crazy crap.

    • anon

      In some aircraft like the F-111 and the B-1B the ejection seats are actually ejection pods, and both crew eject together. I don’t recall the pros of that particular setup, as it’s much heavier than separate ejection seats. However, at least the issue of having the explosive bolts not separate the canopy in time are mooted.

  • Vstress

    Ha ha, I just thought of a silly idea… in future we should just crash-land our old graveyard aircraft (via remote control) into conflict zones with a large remote detonator.

    We could even do this during firefights in Afghan with some old armoured cars. Pour on some petrol and light a fire and watch the fighters gather.

    Then BOOOM!!

    • anon

      unfortunately, it’d be pretty hard to stop curious civilians going and taking a look too

      • anon

        Maybe having equipment blow up and kill everyone around them will learn them to avoid battlefields? Yeah, make money on scrap metal, get killed by shrapnel. Blame America as if you have a right to steal scrap metal?

  • rolandb77

    Holy cow. Now they might sell the sraps to the Chinese.

  • SittingMooseShaman

    …don’t forget POW Army Pvt. Bowe Robert Bergdahl: Prisoner of the late PigBoy bin Ladins’ al Qaida over in Afghanistan…They still have him.

  • Walter

    Have they admitted how it got shot down yet?

    • MCQknight

      No…but there is a rumor that the investigation’s initial unofficial findings is that it was most likely caused by “lead injestion” into the engines.

      • phrogdriver

        A “rumor” as to the “unofficial” findings? So, basically you’re saying it’s just speculation.