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…  See more details below

Overview

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

ISBN-13:
9780307764966
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/29/2010
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
493,901
Lexile:
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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