Good story

Old 08-18-2010, 05:30 AM
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Location: Moscow Mills, Mo.
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Default Good story

Don't know if you have seen this but it's a good story thought I'd share.


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 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 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 United States of AMERICA .

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 every one 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.. Prayer for our soldiers Don't break


'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.

There is nothing attached. 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.

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Old 08-18-2010, 06:49 AM
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Thank you,....yes, there are tears running down my cheeks....
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:57 AM
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Thanks for posting this. It was hard for me to read because as a lot of guys here know I lost my brother-in-law SFC Ellis Brown just over a week ago. He would have loved this story and so did I.

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Old 08-18-2010, 03:35 PM
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That gives me hope in the American spirit we still have... no government or president can take that away from us.
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:00 PM
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been along time since i had tears in my they wont stop
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:06 PM
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amen brutha
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