Forums / Off Topic / Remembering the Fallen

3 years 49 weeks ago, 8:48 AM

manu2014

manu2014's picture

Rank:
Lieutenant General
Points:
926
Join Date:
Feb 2009
Location:
Raleigh
Remembering the Fallen

Just got this in an email and thought I would pass it on. I trust that it is true. Again, thank you to all that have and are serving.

My lead flight attendant came to me and said,
"We have an H.R. on this flight."
(H.R. stands for human remains.)
"Are they military?" I asked.
'Yes', she said.
'Is there an escort?' I asked.
'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.
'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said..
A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.
'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,' he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.
I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.
We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .
The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.
Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher.. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.
Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:
'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'
I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'
Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.
'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'
I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honour and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'
We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.
When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.
Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA and CANADA, (not forgetting United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand)

Foot note: As a Viet Nam Veteran I can only think of all the veterans including the ones that rode below the deck on their way home and how they were treated. When I read things like this I am proud that our country has not turned their backs on our soldiers returning from the various war zones today and give them the respect they so deserve.

I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me.
Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!
Please send this on after a short prayer.. Pray for our soldiers.
Prayer: 'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen..'
Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.
We can only hope that all CANADIANS and AMERICANS remember these fine men and women and what they do for our countries and the world. God Bless them all.
GOD Will BLESS YOU for forwarding this.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Thoreau
3 years 49 weeks ago, 9:02 AM

Vaquero

Vaquero's picture

Rank:
General of the Army
Points:
5482
Join Date:
Dec 2009
Location:
West Texas
Manu

Thanks, I've recieved and passed this on before.
I'm not a Vet, but I still wipe tears and bite my lip every time I read this.
GOD has a special place in Heaven for our fallen heroes.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:06 AM

Vaquero

Vaquero's picture

Rank:
General of the Army
Points:
5482
Join Date:
Dec 2009
Location:
West Texas
Central time

the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
It means so much.
I'll be mulling it all over as best I can.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:11 AM

HampsterW

HampsterW's picture

Rank:
Secretary of State
Points:
7723
Join Date:
Jan 2010
Location:
Cottonwood Heights, Utah, United States
Have to wait till next

year to be complete 11-11-11-11...lol

Change you can truly believe in comes from the barrel of a gun---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ron Paul 2012----Vote the bastards out!---------------------------------
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:07 AM

Larry Wagner

Larry Wagner's picture

Rank:
Lieutenant General
Points:
1860
Join Date:
Nov 2009
Location:
Arizona, United States
I bet

the numerologist (???) love this?

Any day above dirt is a good day!!! My New Motto: Where Do I Sign? (Oh yes I would)
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:15 AM

Vaquero

Vaquero's picture

Rank:
General of the Army
Points:
5482
Join Date:
Dec 2009
Location:
West Texas
Armistice

It’s hard to imagine that World War I involved 35 countries. It lasted five years, from 1914 to 1918. The United States only fought from 1917 to 1918. A year was more than enough time, however, to claim too many lives, and people held tight to the notion that this was the very last war. When the fighting stopped, leaders of several countries signed an Armistice on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. An Armistice is an agreement to stop all fighting, in other words a truce. This truce was signed on November 11th, 1918 at 11 A.M.

Copied from the web.

The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:20 AM

greg az

greg az's picture

Rank:
Secretary of Homeland Security
Points:
5873
Join Date:
Oct 2009
Location:
New York, NY, Tokelau

Same here with the tears.. It's great when people do it the right way..That Capt took the time to make it right.. Just like that little town in MO the other day that denied the goofball church access to thier protest area.. God bless them all..

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.
3 years 49 weeks ago, 11:23 AM

manu2014

manu2014's picture

Rank:
Lieutenant General
Points:
926
Join Date:
Feb 2009
Location:
Raleigh
Armistice Day

changed to Veterans Day in 1954 by Eisenhower. This to honor all Veterans.

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. Thoreau
3 years 49 weeks ago, 3:32 PM

luckybychoice

luckybychoice's picture


Rank:
Secretary of the Treasury
Points:
6781
Join Date:
May 2009
Location:
United States
Had to speed read

this,read it before too,SOB still got me

i tried being reasonable,i didn't like it, NRA LIFE MEMBER,USMC VETERAN
3 years 49 weeks ago, 5:25 PM

ecaman

ecaman's picture

Rank:
General
Points:
2613
Join Date:
Jul 2009
Location:
Payson, UT, United States
Great post

I too had previously received and forwarded this as an email. Tears came to my eyes as I read it. I'm a vet, and lost friends, high school and college classmates in Nam. I remember as a small child during WWII going with my parents to visit the parents of men from our little town who had been killed.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. (Mark Twain).
3 years 49 weeks ago, 5:27 PM

tallguy007

tallguy007's picture

Rank:
Lieutenant General
Points:
1956
Join Date:
Aug 2010
Location:
yavin, outer rim, American Samoa
very moving

Thank You I was at the VA today with a buddy that is a nam vet that is shell shocked and never treated nor been near the VA and only remmbers being spit on and called baby killer when he got home it was hard to get him to go but it is a start so many tears fell and a lot more will. ty

DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR
3 years 48 weeks ago, 2:30 AM

runawaygun762

runawaygun762's picture

Rank:
Vice President
Points:
8929
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Location:
Richland, MO, United States

Goddamned screen got blurry as I finished reading it. Seems to happen a lot with these types of posts.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.

Who's Online

Guns Lot Activity
Users
Currently Active Users: 802 (0 members and 802 guests)

Users Active within the last 24 hours
captmax, Caber, nobile157, tallguy007, jpdental, presslerms, teko52, gunslingercharlie, LLE, kweowner
Guns Lot Statistics
Stats Topics: 8,654, Comments: 161,088, Members: 23,517
Welcome our newest member: Hank6046

Recent Activity