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Strike Eagle Down!

A USAF Strike Eagle participating in Operation Odyssey Dawn had what reports called a "mechanical problem" in the skies over eastern Libya earlier today, and the crew was forced to eject.  One of the aviators was picked up right away by the CSAR effort (we're guessing a USMC TRAP team off of Kearsarge).  The other crewman was apparently in company with rebel forces for a time before venturing back on his own and ultimately getting picked up by CSAR assets as well.

Reports said the F-15E crashed into the desert away from populated areas.

The Strike Eagles are operating out of Aviano Air Base in Italy for Odyssey Dawn, which is about 800 miles from Libya.  While the exact nature of the mechanical failure is unknown at this writing, fact is the F-15 family of jets is pretty old -- although the Strike Eagles are the youngest among them.  Boeing's website has the first flight of the F-15E happening on December 11, 1986.

Great to hear the crew is safe, and good job to the CSAR team for getting them back in a hurry.

More details as they become available.

-- Ward

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