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Thursday
Mar242011

ABC News Exclusive: Interview with Pilots Who Rescued Crew of Downed F15

ABC News(SIGONELLA AIR BASE, Italy) -- ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz was the first reporter to speak with the Marine Osprey pilots who rescued one of the F15 pilots this week, after he and his co-pilot were forced to eject when their aircraft failed east of Benghazi, Libya.

USMC Capt. Erik "Brillo" Kolle said it was "my best day in the Marine Corps...it was awesome."  Kolle and USMC Capt. Joe "Angry" Abdrejack told Raddatz that they had an approximate idea of where the pilots had ejected and that thanks to a bright moon and night vision goggles, they were able to see the pilot quite clearly as he fired off a flare from behind a bush. 

Kolle went on to say the F15 pilot sounded "frazzled" and even before they landed, the pilot had holstered his sidearm and bolted towards the Osprey, with his hands above his head so no one would mistake him for a hostile.  After the pilot jumped aboard the aircraft, the crew told the pilots, "We got him."

Back in the medical unit at Ramstein Airbase in Germany, the Osprey pilots went to visit one of the pilots.  "He was grateful," Kolle said.  "He said, 'Thanks guys.'  We bonded..it was awesome."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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