Basher Five-Two

Basher Five-Two

4.3 14
by Scott O'Grady

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U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady was shot down in his F-16 over Bosnia while helping to keep the peace. The plane exploded, and Captain O'Grady fell 5 miles to the ground below. In exciting detail, Captain O'Grady tells how he evaded capture and how, with little water and no food, he was able to survive on his own in enemy territory. This is a thrilling look


U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O'Grady was shot down in his F-16 over Bosnia while helping to keep the peace. The plane exploded, and Captain O'Grady fell 5 miles to the ground below. In exciting detail, Captain O'Grady tells how he evaded capture and how, with little water and no food, he was able to survive on his own in enemy territory. This is a thrilling look at an American hero--a hero not because the captain survived, but because of the skill, faith, and courage he displayed and the duty he fulfilled as a member of the armed forces.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpOn June 2, 1995, while 29-year-old Air Force Captain Scott O'Grady flew his 47th mission over Bosnia, his F-16 fighter plane was downed by a Serbian land missile. O'Grady relates the events of his six-day, harrowing adventure after parachuting from his disabled plane. Left with minimal supplies and a radio low on battery life, Basher Five-Two (O'Grady's "call sign" for the mission) avoided enemy detection, protected himself from the elements, and subsisted on a diet of leaves, ants, and rainwater. The author effectively communicates not just the details of his miraculous survival, but also how he relied on his love of family and religious faith in dealing with his fear and despair. To create suspense, the narrative is interrupted at the point that the plane is shot down with a chapter that gives details of the soldier's childhood and military training. This break in narrative flow, however, makes it more difficult for younger readers to stay with this inspirational story. Black-and-white photos appear in a 16-page center insert. The memoir ends with a satisfying account of O'Grady's rescue and subsequent treatment as a national hero, even though he claims, "I wasn't really a hero...I was a survivor."Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
1040L (what's this?)
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A burst of flames and intense heat spread through my cockpit.  I began to pitch and roll wildly.  It felt like a giant hand had reached down, grabbed me with brute force, and shook me in a frenzy.  What was left of my plane was like a straw in the wind, totally out of control.

For all its space-age electronics, its supersonic speed, its defensive-powers, the F-16 is not perfect.  In the blink of an eye, it can be turned from the prince of the skies into a burning scrap heap of wire and twisted metal.  The missile had blindsided me, coming up through a cloud cover below.  It had struck the plane's underbelly, hitting one of the fuel tanks and cutting my F-16 in two.  It took me another moment to understand.  The nose and cockpit had broken away--and I was now in a free fall to earth.

As I spun out of control, I worried about blacking out from the sudden and unexpected G forces.  I watched my console break and twist apart before me.  My mind was outracing my ability to react.  Flames from the exploding gas tank had found a crack between my oxygen mask and visor.  They had also reached the back of my neck.  Part of me was waiting for the cockpit to explode.  Somehow, the heat and the pain and the insanity of the moment focused my thoughts.

Dear God, I prayed, please don't let me die now--don't let me die from this.

I gazed down, through the flames, and saw a fat yellow handle attached to my seat.  The handle pushed up between my legs, bigger than life, staring at me like the miracle I took it to be.  The beautiful words stamped across the top were impossible to miss, even in the fire and smoke: PULL TO EJECT.

I had no idea how much time had passed since the missile had struck.  In reality it had been only seconds.  It felt like an eternity.  I knew I wasn't waiting much longer.  For another microsecond, I worried that my damaged canopy wouldn't open, or if it did, that the seat wouldn't eject.  But I really didn't have time to worry.

My left hand dropped down to the handle, and I pulled with all my might.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Basher Five-Two 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine being gunned down by a missile and surviving on your own against the elements, and enemy soldiers who want your head as a prize. That is one way to describe “Basher Five-Two” by Scott O’Grady. It was about a F-16 pilot who was stationed in Italy as a patrolman over Bosnia and Herzegovina to keep peace during a civil war in the country. On one ordinary day, he picked up odd readings in his plane. He was struck with SAM missile that took him out of the sky, he was all alone in enemy territory. He talks about his fears and struggles in a fast paced book of survival. This is a great book for everyone who enjoys stories of the reach of                                                                                                                                                         the human spirit and never giving up. Captain Scott O’Grady sets a cheerful and uplifting tone throughout the book. He used many sentences describing his, and everyone else’s joy. Sentences like, “They considered me a hero!”(Page 117)  shows that he was happy while others celebrated his return. Others show his overall relief, like “I was a survivor!”(Page 117) Some represent plain happiness, like “They jumped on the bed like a bunch of kids.”(Page 116) O’Grady expressed being happy to be alive throughout the book, making a very cheerful tone. O’Grady shows confidence in expressing his theme. The whole story is based on survival and never giving up. He constantly implies that he can’t give up or he will die, and as he kept going, things got better. If he would have given up, even once, he would not have lived to write the book. And because he never gave up, he was able to push on and be rescued. He survived because he, his family, and his friends never gave up. Being shot out of the sky, living off the land, and being searched for by the enemy was all in a week’s work for Captain Scott O’Grady. No matter how long he practiced for that situation, there was no way he could prepare himself for a life or death experience. Luckily he survived and has no lasting effects. It is also nice that he can look back on it and be cheerful about it. He needed to keep trying to survive and he did, that’s why giving up is not an option. I enjoyed this book because it was something I was interested in. I would recommend this book to Boys, between the ages of 8 and 12. It is an easy read.                                                                                                                               
Guest More than 1 year ago
Then you should read Captain Scott O¿Grady¿s memoir, called Basher 5-2. This memoir is about Captain Scott O¿Grady, a pilot of an f-16 jet that was shot down in 1995 in Bosnia. He survived only with a radio, a beacon with limited battery power, M9 Beretta handgun, a flashlight, and a thin camouflaged blanket to help keep him alive. It is an amazing, exciting, epic story, because not only he was alone in Bosnia and located really close to the enemy, but also without any radio connection. Also, he had no food, so he had to eat plants and natural foods that he found. During the night, he had to prevent his body from getting hypothermia, He used a camouflaged blanket to keep him warm, but that was difficult because his clothe were wet and the blanket was too thin. At the same time, he had to hide and avoid from getting too close to the enemy and getting caught. I recommend this memoir to readers who like intense, stories because this book really does include about eighty percent of the events that actually happened, in Bosnia. The book was very fascinating while I was reading it, I didn¿t want to stop until the pages ran out, because it was full of action and suspense. In addition, there are guides about the U.S. military Code of Conduct and neat tips to tell you about which plant is poisonous or which is not.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Basher Five-two by Scott O¿Grady was a great story, I love the Air Force, so it was one of those books I couldn¿t put down, and I don¿t read that often. Scott was flying an F-16 while on a mission to keep peace in Bosnia. He parachuted five miles to the ground, and lived to tell the exciting way he stayed alive, eating ants and leaves, and hiding from Bosnian soldiers, I highly recommend this book if you like survival stories. Daniel A.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi Molls!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book for my birthday and i love it. It tells about how O'grady shot down and how he lived for six days on ants, leaves,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is not a screenplay or teleplay. This is the real deal. Capt. Scott O'Grady gives a first person account of what sacrifices and situations he went through while hiding in Bosnia. This is a great book if you're tired of the usual plot!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great and exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this for my book report and enjoyed it but wasn't challenging enough. I soon stumbled across Return With Honor also written By Captain Scott O' Grady. It is a New York Times Best seller. It's about the same thing but for higher levels of reading. It's here on B&N. I look forward to reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a great book of survival and adventure. Great for kids of all ages!
michael renza More than 1 year ago
Read this book as a teen and now that I am an aviator myself, was able to re-read this again with a new appreciation. Well done, I felt like I was there with him every step of his ordeal.
AJ354 More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Basher it was great, exting, & fun! It was the best biography I ever read! It's really interesting because he meets the presdient. I thought this book was wonderful. I would recomed it to anybody.