Background: February 1999, Speculation was swirling about just how far we should get involved in the Bosnian conflict. At a military reunion, a General who had unretired welcomed some of us to visit the base for a class or two and a fun flight. I knew better than that, so I didn't go. Late in the year, I ran into a friend who gave me the details on a rumored incredible rescue mission. This is his story. Time era: 1999 Bosnia Genre: War April 1999 We moved through the forest with the speed and grace of a predator-a predator on the chase, or being chased by a larger predator. Charlie and Larry were carrying Mike. Mike had been shot viciously in the thigh. We had field dressed his wound as well as we could, as well as anyone could, that is if you're being shot at the time, and trying not to be targets. Eighteen hours earlier I had been warmly curled up in my bunk on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Roused from my bunk, we were rushed into the briefing room. One of our planes had gone down in Bosnia. We, as the extraction team, were going to have a tricky rescue on this one. Intel had figured out that somehow Belgians had been updating the Serbs on the routes our flights were taking. The rescue chopper was going to drop us off in Croatia, and we had to move at high speed to get the plane's two man crew out. An hour after the briefing, we were "feet dry" as we raced to our objective. The first half of the rescue had gone extraordinarily easy. It was just after we picked up the crew that things got hairy. A patrol had spotted us from a distance and had fired on us. We were a good distance away and making good time, only slowed by the pilots-who didn't work out to the extremes we had. Three hours later, the noose around us began to constrict. The patrol had called in our position and suddenly the woods around us swarmed with Serbs. Shooting and moving, we were plowing a path to our objective, when it happened. A company sized group opened up on us. Luckily, they were shooting from a distance with AK-47's. From less than twenty feet, the AK is the best semiautomatic weapon in the world. From several hundred yards away, it was a piece of crap. We returned fire with our rifles, effectively picking off a bunch of those assholes, but that's when the suicide charges started. Pouring fire on us to pin us down, it allowed several to get close. I was good with my M-1A1 sniper rifle at picking several off. One of those assholes got close, and he's the one that tagged Mike in the leg. Moving on after defeating the company element, we later picked up a platoon sized group that now trailed us and harassed us with occasional fire. We were now just two ranges from the border where our extraction chopper was waiting. Moving down mountain, I saw it ahead of us and swallowed hard. It was a small valley, but crossing it would be hazardous. I only hoped that there weren't any snipers in the area, or in the platoon that trailed us. Mike groaned as his legs hit several large stones in our path, then we were in the valley. It was a 200 yard dash across open ground. We must have been extremely lucky because they didn't start shooting until we had crossed the valley and were now moving up mountain. Some of their rounds ricocheted harmlessly off several trees around us, then I saw it. It was a perfect boulder. Flat on the up mountainside, rounded on the downside. It would be perfect cover for a sniper's platform. I told the pilots and my three buddies to keep moving as I dashed behind the boulder and set up. I took my 6 magazines out and placed them next to each other for easy access. I took aim on the valley, considered the breeze and the angle, and waited. Several minutes later, they moved into the open. I waited until the entire group was in the middle of the valley. I opened up on them. In twenty seconds, six of them went down. The rest had turned and were running back for cover. I began picking them off, leaving only three that made it back to the other side of the valley. It was now my turn to run. I made it up mountain and into the clearing where the chopper waited. We were airborne seconds after I was onboard. Mike was lucky with his leg. They were able to save it, but his spec ops days were over. The pilots were grateful for their rescue and hired some high dollar hookers for us after we got back to the states.