Captain Scott O’Grady was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 12, 1965. He moved with his family to Long Beach, California in 1970, then to Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1972, and finally to Spokane, Washington, in 1974. He graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1984 and attended the University of Washington for one year before transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, Arizona. Captain O’Grady earned a bachelor of science degree (aeronautical) in 1989 and was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program, April 1989.
Following college, Captain O’Grady attended the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, from November 1989 to December 1990. He was then assigned to F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base until December 1991 when he began his first operational assignment flying the F-16 at the 80th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Korea. In April 1993, Captain O’Grady was reassigned to the 526th Fighter Squadron, Ramstein AB, Germany, until assuming a position in May 1994 with the 555th Fighter Squadron in Aviano, Italy. In October 1995, he was assigned as an F-16 pilot with the 466th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In July 1998, he was assigned to a joint survival agency at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Washington. After 12 years of military service Captain O’Grady entered inactive reserve status in February 2001. Shortly after, he enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with a masters degree in the spring of 2007. Scott also was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service by the University of Portland in Oregon.
Captain O’Grady was helping enforce the NATO no-fly zone policy in the skies over Bosnia when a Soviet-made anti aircraft missile slammed into his F-16. Capt. O’Grady tells his incredible story of how he survived in hostile territory for six days before being rescued by the US Marines in his book, Return With Honor, which spent six weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. He has also published Basher Five-Two, a children’s edition of his original story. His courageous story has also been documented on the Discovery Channel presentation, Behind Enemy Lines. In addition, Scott O’Grady has been featured on CNN’s Voices of the Millennium, and Then and Now, series that focus on the most influential personalities of the past 25 years.
Captain O’Grady has accumulated more than 1,300 military flying hours including over 1,000 in the F-16.