Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marines aboard Norfolk's Kearsarge rescued U.S. pilot in Libya

Marines aboard Norfolk's Kearsarge rescued U.S. pilot in Libya

Posted to: Military Norfolk

The U.S. Air Force fighter pilot who ejected over Libya late Monday night was rescued by Marines aboard the Norfolk-based amphibious assault ship Kearsarge.
The ship dispatched two Marine Corps Harrier jets just after the crash, the Navy said. They reached the site and made contact with the pilot, who bailed with his weapons systems officer after a mechanical failure.
The Kearsarge then sent up two MV-22 Ospreys carrying Marine rescue teams. As they were en route, the Harriers dropped two laser-guided bombs near the crash site, apparently to keep Libyans on the ground from approaching the pilot.
With additional helicopters hovering overhead for security, one of the Ospreys landed and picked up the pilot. He was then taken aboard the Kearsarge.
The weapons systems officer was recovered by what U.S. officials described as Libyan opposition forces. He is safe, officials have said.
The Marines involved in the pilot’s rescue were with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based in North Carolina.

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