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GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN..Story..

clr4theapch

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I am not sure just where to put this story.. I don't know how old it is or by whom it represents, but since it is Memorial day and we are in War.. I figured this was the most probable place to paste this story, as I'm it most likely was a major airline carrier that was envolved here..

I mean no religious offence to anyone here, so please just take it for what it is worth to you as an American...and remember no matter how bad it gets here in the USA.. we still have"way" more freedom's that many other places on this globe.. Men and Women are dying each day to keep it this way..

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 .
 
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GuppyWN

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That is an awesome story and it makes my eyeballs sweat and my voice sound all funny!

Gup

p.s. Aren't you the mod that always takes our other threads and moves them out of the "majors" section? I'm just sayin'. :) Sometimes people post things on the "majors" thread because that's where our bretheren hang out.
 

clr4theapch

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Could'nt resist could you...

That is an awesome story and it makes my eyeballs sweat and my voice sound all funny!

Gup

p.s. Aren't you the mod that always takes our other threads and moves them out of the "majors" section? I'm just sayin'. :) Sometimes people post things on the "majors" thread because that's where our bretheren hang out.

Glad you like the story.. and as I stated in the begining of that post.. I did not know exactly where to put it.. it could have gone under the dispatcher section, it could have easily gone under the Military section.. but since the story was about an airline captain.. and I dont think a regional carrer would have been envolved, it was my considered judgement that it should be posted here on the Majors section..

As to me being "That" mod.. I guess, if that is your opinion of me, considering the amount of work and time I put into Flight info to fill the duties of being a "moderator" and not just a "hall monitor", then I'll take that as a compliment...
I understand that you guys here have your own little "click" "club" or whatever the PC way of saying this is.. but contray to what some might think, I am not here to be the bad guy, the rebel or to ruin your experience here on FI.. I am a pilot and a dispatcher.. and been around the patch myself a few times.. ""I understand""... however if there were no mods here.. then ths place would be like a flea market filled with stuff that no one wants here.. as would all the other sections...

Some of the past moves have been to accomodate the other areas that were designed to address or hold those items.. I would suggest that everyone look around in the other sections for more enjoyment and "organized" content.. Cargo.. like UPS and Fed Ex etc.. are in fact CARGO.. but are considered by some to be majors.. and in a way they are.. but not here in FI.. same for the LCC/ Nationals sections.. the mods in fact have made suggestions to the FI owners to change that.... we can only ask.. we have limits as well...

It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it... Happy Memorial day
 
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Lear70

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That is an awesome story and it makes my eyeballs sweat and my voice sound all funny!

Gup
No doubt.

p.s. Aren't you the mod that always takes our other threads and moves them out of the "majors" section? I'm just sayin'. :) Sometimes people post things on the "majors" thread because that's where our bretheren hang out.
No, that's me.

If it's not Major-related, I'll let it sit a few days to get some replies so that people get emailed the updates but then move it to the appropriate category. That way it gets exposure but then gets moved to keep the forum neat and organized (and reminds members that the Mods are here to keep things within the ToS). ;)

Most members don't need reminding, but some do from time to time, which is why I'm glad C4TA is here; he spends a lot more time policing the site than I do and catches stuff usually before I do, which makes my job as a mod a lot easier. :)

Not to divert the thread, great story!
 

clr4theapch

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Thanks Lear70... I try.. I don't want to take away from this thread... I hope everyone at least reads this story and remembers it the next time we see a VET, some kid half our age coming home from Iraq or other and give them the same respect, maybe even walk up and thank them...
 
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Erlanger

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I have a very similiar story to this one that I personally witnessed myself. True story. It was on a Delta flight, I was non-reving, on a pass.(I do not fly for Delta).This was probably 3 months ago in Atlanta. If memory serves me correct it was an ATL-SLC flight. Just before boarding the Captain came out from the aircraft and got on the PA at the gate. While I can't remember the exact words he said something to the effect of that on this flight a fallen American will be carryed home by a Sergeant so-and-so (cant remember his name of course). He called the Seargent up and the Sergeant was carrying a small box wrapped with an American flag. The Captain said that when we land in SLC he wanted everyone to remain seated while the Sergeant carried the remains down the aisle and was the first one off. They both then went down the jetbridge and we boarded soon after. As I boarded the Sergeant was in the first row of coach. First was full but I bet if it wasn't the Captain would of seated him up there. As we taxied in an announcment again was made about remaining seated. Every curious looker had their eyes up front and the flight attendant waved to the Sergeant to get up. (I was seated about halfway back.) There was an ackward round of applause by a few and then we all deplaned.
 

Lear70

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They don't do that anymore, but it was a fantastic job by the flight crew.

The military contracts Kalitta Charters now to fly those HR flights. I finished my Falcon CA IOE on that detail earlier this month. Let me tell you something,,, the families when you first open that cargo door and they see the flag-draped coffin carrying what was their father/husband/son/brother is one of the hardest things I've ever witnessed.

I'll probably be headed back out to Dover next month... sadly to say, our schedule is full of these flights, we average one every day of the week. My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, my dad in Vietnam; I never had the honor to serve (medical disqual) but flying these missions is yet another reason Memorial Day hits home for me.

May all of you pray to the God of your understanding for peace and the safe return of our brothers and sisters who defend us and our way of life.
 

pilotyip

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See the movie "Taking Chance" Kevin Bacon, same story different slant
 

GuppyWN

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They don't do that anymore, but it was a fantastic job by the flight crew.

The military contracts Kalitta Charters now to fly those HR flights. I finished my Falcon CA IOE on that detail earlier this month. Let me tell you something,,, the families when you first open that cargo door and they see the flag-draped coffin carrying what was their father/husband/son/brother is one of the hardest things I've ever witnessed.

I'll probably be headed back out to Dover next month... sadly to say, our schedule is full of these flights, we average one every day of the week. My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, my dad in Vietnam; I never had the honor to serve (medical disqual) but flying these missions is yet another reason Memorial Day hits home for me.

May all of you pray to the God of your understanding for peace and the safe return of our brothers and sisters who defend us and our way of life.

Oh man.

I couldn't imagine doing even one of these flights but for a small company to do one a day is very sad. I'd almost rather the commercial airlines still did them. It would be a great opportunity to remind the general public that it's not just "that" war. It's our brothers/sisters/fathers/brothers that serve to protect us - and sometimes die doing it.

Gup
 

Chairman

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When I was at SKYW we had one of our crewmembers killed in an accident on an over night. Every reserve was called into DEN along with everycrewmember that was on break, Customer service, mx, and rampers. As they were taken off the airplane to be connected to the flight to their home and family, all the employees walked with the castket across the ramp and past numorus gates to see it loaded onto the other airplane. Very emotional day and loss of a good pilot and friend.

Chairman
 
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