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Tears were shed this morning...


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Initial post: Nov 30, 2012 1:08:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 1:28:37 PM PST
MoultonHawk says:
Letter from an airline pilot:
He writes: 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've 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 pre-flight 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 manoeuvring 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 co-pilot 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 honor 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 USA, Canada, Australia New Zealand, England.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:12:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 1:14:13 PM PST
Oskar2525 says:
This is OT.

But seriously, I get enough of this spam military shit from my grandma...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:15:08 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 1:15:36 PM PST
Ice King says:
Nice story, but I respect them too much to spread chain letters in their name. It's tacky.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:19:42 PM PST
I agree Oskar. These just make me mad that young people are dying for literally no reason. They also serve to point out how we still to this day glorify war and soldiers above anything else, even police and firepeople who are actually saving American lives every day.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:22:21 PM PST
Gomb says:
All this was in a video game?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:31:29 PM PST
We don't glorify war.

We glorify the service members who defend our freedoms.

And yes, police, firefighters, et al, deserve the same respect.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:34:26 PM PST
I would be right there with you if those young people were dying defending our freedoms.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:35:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 1:42:11 PM PST
MoultonHawk says:
Military shhh ? Dying for no reason ? They have a choice to serve or not to serve. I don't understand what you are saying about the police and firefighters. You don't think policing the world has anything to do with defending our freedoms ? Proactive vs. reactive. You'd rather we sit back and pray and not get involved ?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:37:02 PM PST
I'm sorry to hear that.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:39:56 PM PST
They are/did.

What happens over there, has direct and indirect effects on our lives here.

It will always be this way, even if we drill for our own oil and natural gas.

If you cannot figure this out or grasp this, then you do not understand or grasp history.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:41:50 PM PST
It's been hard for me to remember who are the smart ones, here on the VGF. You are one of the smart ones.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:45:45 PM PST
We could always put all the money we're wasting in the middle east to developing renewable energy, we could make a lot of headway with those lost trillions.

Sorry, I'll let you and sean continue being smart and I'll hang out in the dumb area.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:46:13 PM PST
How is going into countries that just want all of the Western meddling to stop protecting our freedom? If we let them be for once after 200 years, I don't think they'd be as angry at us as they are.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:46:24 PM PST
Gomb says:
And how many young Middle-Eastern men did this Private such-and-such kill before he got hit? Was he dominating, rampage, maybe even unstoppable? How many of their family members of were left in mourning? Somehow I doubt their families were given private viewing suites in an airport to watch a coffin be loaded into a government van.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:46:46 PM PST
It's their fault for having all that oil.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:47:26 PM PST
Don't get Steve started on people from the Middle East.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:50:02 PM PST
If it were technically possible and/or profitable to go to renewable energy, it would have already happened.

Venture capitalists would be lining up to invest in such opportunities.

I don't understand how you can know so much about video game technology and not know anything about basic economics and business opportunities.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:50:49 PM PST
Oskar2525 says:
Steve is probably the most unpatriotic person that posts here. He assumes that if you don't think like he does then you don't love America. His close-mindedness is what makes him unpatriotic.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:51:59 PM PST
Just because it's not cheap currently doesn't mean it won't ever be profitable. If we just ignore it, we're gonna have a heckuva lot more problems than lost profits.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:52:37 PM PST
Nah, I'll just wait until they attack and kill more Westerners, including, eventually, someone that you care about.

After our country has been damaged enough, then I will ask you "are you happy now?"

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:52:44 PM PST
Oskar2525 says:
This is one of the most ignorant posts I have ever seen.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:54:50 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 1:55:14 PM PST
I. Flores says:
I can see this post going completely downhill from here.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 1:55:30 PM PST
"You can board him early" Thats what she said also giggidy!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:55:59 PM PST
Oskar2525 says:
Well, when you start it with a spam letter can it get any lower?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2012 1:56:41 PM PST
Then why don't you invest your money now? Get in before anyone else does.

And can you show us a picture of your Volt (paid for by the taxpayers, and built by the unions who were paid off with investor cash and don't forget about the non union employees who lost their jobs)? Or the Prius, or Leaf, since you seem to care so much about the environment.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  29
Total posts:  110
Initial post:  Nov 30, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 3, 2012

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