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Old 10-27-2015, 07:47 PM   #1
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Letter From A Airline Pilot: He Writes:

My lead flight attendant came to and said , "we have H.R. on this flight." (H. R. stand for human remains) "Are they military I asked?"

Yes, she said.

Is there as escort. I asked?

Yes, I have already assigned him a seat.

Would you please have him come to the flight deck. You can board him early I said.....

A short time later a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of a 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 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 hi. If there was anything I could do for him, and he said no. I told him 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 and shook his hand.

We completed our pre-flight checks, pushed back and performed a uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into the 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 the father, mother wife and 2 year 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 they left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait 4 hours for the connecting flight 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 was there 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 whe she asked me if there was anything I could do. I'm on it I said. I told her I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company is normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my dispatcher directly of a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct with the dispatcher. I explained the situationI had on board with family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and 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 a 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 a 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 the departure 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 onto the plane for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans....please pass our condolences 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 give to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, you have no idea how much this means 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 Hugh with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always busy with aircraft maneuvering which was to enter or exit. When we entered the ramp and checked with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffick 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 realizedthat once I turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached the 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, 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 the aircraft short of our gate to make a announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His name is private xxxxx is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is arm sergeant xxxxx. Also, on board is his father, mother, wife and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking all our passengers to remain seated to allow the family to exit first. Thanks you.

We continued to the gate came to a stop,and started our shutdown procedures. A couple 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 plane remained in their seats , waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly began to clap,his hands. Moments more passengers were clapping and soon the whole airplane passengers joined in. Words of God bless you, thank you, I'm sorry, be proud and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle andout of the airplane.

They were escorted down 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 but nothing would 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 the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England.

I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears I. Their eyes, including me.

Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women.

They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and respect.

Lord hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us...bless them and their families for the selfless acts the perform for us in our time of need...in Jesus name Amen





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Old 10-27-2015, 08:25 PM   #2
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Thank you for posting this.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:33 PM   #3
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wow, can't imagine what that family had to go through, but the pilot did his best, my hats off to everyone on that aircraft.

God Bless our Troops
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:47 PM   #4
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As hard as it is and has been to know that I was prevented wholesale from joining the military while other young men and women go off to fight with only their duty in mind, this story stinks to high heaven, and here is why:
Gullibility: Tear Jerky Military Fables

Call me any derogatory name you like because you believe that my refutation of this story is beyond the pale, but IMO, this apparent work of fiction actually DEGRADES the heartache and real physical struggle that goes along with the manner in which soldiers that have died while deployed, and what the Defense Department does for the soldier and the family.

I've got my flame suit on. I can take it.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:56 PM   #5
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1bigmess

You are obviously correct. You found a trash article somewhere on the Internet. Good for you. I'm sure you feel superior now.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogdriver View Post
1bigmess

You are obviously correct. You found a trash article somewhere on the Internet. Good for you. I'm sure you feel superior now.
I think he was right and he was wrong. I think the author of the Gullibility article pointed out some things that did not pass the smell test but he was also critical of a variation of the original article. However...the basis of the OP's message is rooted in truth.

Letter from an Airline Pilot : snopes.com
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by hogdriver View Post
1bigmess

You are obviously correct. You found a trash article somewhere on the Internet. Good for you. I'm sure you feel superior now.
No. As a someone that is saddened by how the DoD and the VA treats those that survive, I am further saddened that fictionalized or heavily embellished heart tugging stories are instantly considered credible simply because of the subject matter. My hope will always be that Americans, my brothers and sisters, are smarter than this.
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Old 10-27-2015, 10:44 PM   #8
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Take a look at the you tube video "Delta Honor Guard" here at Atlanta Hartsfield Airport. The honor guard is comprised of Delta Airline baggage handlers and shows the respect and honor given to the fallen.
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:36 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by 1bigmess View Post
No. As a someone that is saddened by how the DoD and the VA treats those that survive, I am further saddened that fictionalized or heavily embellished heart tugging stories are instantly considered credible simply because of the subject matter. My hope will always be that Americans, my brothers and sisters, are smarter than this.

Well said!
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Old 10-28-2015, 08:37 AM   #10
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Thanks Sonny! I've seen that one before, but it never gets old!
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