Letter from an airline pilot:

Letter from an airline pilot:

This is a discussion on Letter from an airline pilot: within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; (I just saw this from a friend) The pilot writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. On this ...

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Thread: Letter from an airline pilot:

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Letter from an airline pilot:

    (I just saw this from a friend)

    The pilot 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 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 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.

    Foot note:

    I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears in 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 they perform for us in our time of need.. In Jesus Name, Amen.'

    Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.

    GOD BLESS YOU!!! Bring the rest home safe and sound. We need to be there for them now more than ever.
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

  2. #2
    Member Array KimBobTex's Avatar
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    My screen just got blurry & impossible to read .... GOD BLESS!
    ccman likes this.
    Asked by a CNN reporter "What do you feel when you shoot a terrorist"?, the Marine sniper simply shrugged & replied "recoil".

    Now more than ever, we are at war on our home soil ... WAKE UP & arm our troops when they are on home soil!

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member
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    My screen is a little blurry too. I don't know if this actually happened. I hope it did. Great story. God bless our troops, and God bless America.
    I shoot with a pistol and a Canon. We must all hang together amigos, or we will all hang separately. NRA life member.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    I sincerely hope the event reported here is true. It is no less than what is deserved by all our fallen warriors.
    "If you make something idiot proof, someone will make a better idiot."

    - Anon

  5. #5
    Member Array blanco64's Avatar
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    I started getting misty-eyed before I got to the part about the flight attendants crying. After 10 years serving I get the same way when I hear the national anthem. Thanks for sharing.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldnfat View Post
    My screen is a little blurry too. I don't know if this actually happened. I hope it did. Great story. God bless our troops, and God bless America.
    Snopes is unable to confirm or discredit this story - so I pray it is true. Looks like it was originally posted in a blog back in 2008.
    "Gun Free Zones" is where only criminals carry guns.

  7. #7
    Member Array BadHabit's Avatar
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    At one with the gun.

  8. #8
    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    These events DO happen...

    Flight Attendant Blog COMING HOME : The Flying Pinto

    I'm getting rid of these glasses, they keep fogging up.

    Thanks for the post!
    jbum likes this.
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  9. #9
    Member Array Nuke0955's Avatar
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    Humbling, to be sure. Thank you for sharing that with us.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array shadowwalker's Avatar
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    To the Vets and new friends I have met on this site this came to me today and I have to say it helped me handle what has happened be4. I will just pass on that a long time friend of mine lost his son, who was also a friend of mine, one week ago and his funeral was today. I was unable to attend but my son was there for me and I talked with him just a little over a hour ago and I will pass this on. Many of us are considered broken but we still stand up to salute and do the right thing thanks for posting and if you listen close you can hear Taps and call to roll call. God Bless you all

  11. #11
    VIP Member
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    As aircrew I have on occasion transported HRs, every time I saw one of those transfer cases I thought they are not cargo but someone’s son/daughter/husband/wife/brother/sister and someone deserving respect and care in their handling.
    babarock and archer51 like this.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
    "Don't forget, incoming fire has the right of way."

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I've read it before,I get just as emotional every time.
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  13. #13
    VIP Member
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    God Bless our fighting men and women. They give so much and ask so little.
    It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.


  14. #14
    VIP Member Array sixgun's Avatar
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    That made my screen a little blurry to. Its awesome to see we still have people in this country with respect like that. God bless and may the soldier rest in peace.

  15. #15
    VIP Member
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    Like mst/ret I have been involved with military aircraft transporting service men on their final trip home (from the maintenance side). They were always shown the respect and gratitude they earned and deserved.

    I also did funeral escorts from Dover AFB when I was stationed there. It is a humbling and heart wrenching duty. The hardest part is when you meet the family for the first time. The escorts I did, were all airmen returning from overseas, so the families had not seen them until we arrived. As the escort, your duty is to remain in the background and insure everything goes smoothly and due respect is shown. Every one I did, I was virtually adopted by the family for the time I was there. As I told the father who was a WWII Veteran of one, when he was thanking me. "We may not have known each other, and we were'nt related by blood. But we were Brothers"
    babarock and msgt/ret like this.
    Freedom doesn't come free. It is bought and paid for by the lives and blood of our men and women in uniform.

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