A Carroll County resident was a behind-the-scenes participant in the Bosnia rescue operation of Air Force Capt. Scott F. O'Grady.
David R. Jordan of Linwood is a Navy airman who works with Marine helicopters aboard the USS Kearsarge, the amphibious assault ship that launched the rescue team. The Kearsarge, commissioned in 1993, carries a crew of 1,000 sailors.
Airman Jordan, 21, joined the Navy in August and left Norfolk, Va., for duty in the Mediterranean Sea in April.
His last letter said he was in the Adriatic," said Janet Long, his mother. "I have heard the ship mentioned in the news for the past few weeks."
Ms. Long chided her son for his lack of letters when she last wrote to him.
As soon as she heard news of the rescue Thursday, she knew why he hadn't written.
"Now, I feel guilty, because he really must have been busy," she said.
From her son's letters, Ms. Long said she learned that his job on the ship involves preparing the helicopters for launches.
"He wears a suit with Velcro [fasteners] instead of buttons," she said. "There can't be any buttons, because the helicopter is so forceful they could be sucked into the engines."
Ms. Long said she was surprised when her son joined the Navy.
A 1992 graduate of Francis Scott Key High School, Airman Jordan studied electronics for a year at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg before enlisting in a three-year program with the Navy.
have no idea why he chose the Navy; most of our family joined the Marines," Ms. Long said. "But David always liked aircraft when he was younger."
Because of the war in Bosnia, she worried when he left for duty in the Mediterranean, she said.
She plans to write and congratulate him and his shipmates.
"I am really proud of him," Ms. Long said.
Lt. Bill Fenick, a Navy spokesman, confirmed that Airman Jordan was assigned to the ship. Several rescue detachments were aboard to support the ship's personnel in the operation, he said.