God Bless Our Troops

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by ldw45, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. ldw45

    ldw45 Member

    Sent to me by a cuz who works for Delta..... a bit long but worth the read. No verification but I would like to believe a Captian acted with this kind of compassion.


    God Bless this Airline Captain

    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. < BR>>
    'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ', he said. He proceeded to
    answer my questions, but offered no words on his own. 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', he said.

    He 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 he asked me if there was anything I could do.

    'I'm on i t', I said. I told him that I would get back to him.

    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 onboard 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 this 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 cont rol 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, ev eryone 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 were 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 ou t 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.

    Remember our Troops in Prayers, Daily. And when you vote, vote wisely.

  2. catoon

    catoon Board Clown!

    god bless america

  3. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Good one Dean.
  4. willcat

    willcat New Member

    that was a good read & great story.....