Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Luke Air Force Base

My thanks to Dot Williford for this email.

A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual, Mr. McRae, who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his day at the mall.

The complaint:
"Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 a.m., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet.

Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special? Any response would be appreciated."

The response:
Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets" (Letters, Thursday):
On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship flyby of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt Jeremy Fresques.

Capt Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At 9 a.m. On June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15, what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, "Whom do we thank for the morning air show?" The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt Col Scott Pleus
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke AFB

The apology:
When Mr. McRae read the response from Lt Col Pleus, it stung quite a bit.

He responded; "I read with increasing embarrasment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter . . . . . . concerning an Air Force flyby. I had no idea of the significance of the flyby and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known. . . . .

Please accept my heartfelt apologies."

How often do we get so wrapped up in our day to day lives that we forget to think about what we are seeing. I wonder how many of the people who oppose the OLF locally have thought through the possible consequences for our airmen of their positions. Our security is a serious issue and we need to stop and think what our soldiers are doing to protect us.

God bless Capt Fresques, his family and friends . . . and all the great soldiers who are defending our freedom.


Post a Comment

<< Home