Four Jet Fly-By

From an e-mail I received. Whether or not this really happened is irrelevant, the moral is the same.

Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were. A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall.

When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must Have stung quite a bit.

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 Murvyn's early bird special?

Any response would be appreciated.

The response:

Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets' On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four- ship fly by of F-1 6s 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 fly by, 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 fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives 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, "Who'm do we thank for the morning air show?" The 56th Fighter Wing will make the 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.

Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.
USAF
Burn! Seriously though, lets not let our comfort and security lead to complacency and ego-centrism. Remember why you are safe and comfortable in your bed each night. It isn't the new sheets from Walmart, or the new furnace you bought with your annual bonus, it's the men and women in uniform, keeping our land safe and free.

Update: William posted the following in the comments section. He says the story posted above isn't quite accurate. Still, I am not going to edit what I have already posted, since I never claimed it actually happened that way. And second, like I said earlier, "Whether or not this really happened is irrelevant, the moral is the same."

Quote:
The letter was actually written by Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke. How those names got mixed up, only the Internet goober knows for sure. Colonel Pleus was the one tasked with driving to Yuma to inform Capt. Jeremy Fresques' parents and his widow of the news of his death.

While the above letter appeared in the newspaper four days after the funeral, there was a more immediate response, after the Air Force was asked by the paper for a response. It appeared in the next day's paper, from Col. Robin Rand, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke.

Quote:
The "wake-up call" witnessed the morning of June 15 was a formation of F-16 jets from Luke Air Force Base lining up for a memorial service in Sun City at the grave site for Air Force Capt. Jeremy Fresques, an officer assigned to Air Force Special Operations. Fresques gave his life in defense of our country while serving in Iraq.

It is unfortunate that at a time when our nation is at war someone would believe we have less than honorable and professional reasons for such a mission.

The commander of the fighter squadron was given the difficult duty of informing the family of Capt. Fresques on Memorial Day that the officer, a husband, son and Arizonan, had died in Iraq.

On behalf of the men and women at Luke Air Force Base, we continue to keep Jeremy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Col. Robin Rand
Luke Air Force Base

Quote:
I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my
unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby ("A
wake-up call from Luke's jets," Letters, June 23).

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have
insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have
served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized
for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the
four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman
and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I
must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I
love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are
doing.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae, Peoria
So, except for the added lines in the one letter (which have also been erroneously attributed to Tony Blair), and the name on that letter, it's all true.

See the link at: http://www.expeditersonline.com/forum/general-expediter-forum/34447-e-mail-i-wanted-share.html

3 comments:

Jeannetta said...

I'm trying to read this to my 13yos, and sobbing the whole way. Thanks for posting.

Nifty Nick said...

Maybe I should put up a disclaimer. :) Sorry for making you cry.

william said...

It appears your post is factually incorrect but correct in spirit.

I have also posted the apology of the person who made the complaint

Quote:
The letter was actually written by Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke. How those names got mixed up, only the Internet goober knows for sure. Colonel Pleus was the one tasked with driving to Yuma to inform Capt. Jeremy Fresques' parents and his widow of the news of his death.

While the above letter appeard in the newspaper four days after the funeral, there was a more immediate response, after the Air Force was asked by the paper for a response. It appeared in the next day's paper, from Col. Robin Rand, commander of the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke.

Quote:
The "wake-up call" witnessed the morning of June 15 was a formation of F-16 jets from Luke Air Force Base lining up for a memorial service in Sun City at the gravesite for Air Force Capt. Jeremy Fresques, an officer assigned to Air Force Special Operations. Fresques gave his life in defense of our country while serving in Iraq.

It is unfortunate that at a time when our nation is at war someone would believe we have less than honorable and professional reasons for such a mission.

The commander of the fighter squadron was given the difficult duty of informing the family of Capt. Fresques on Memorial Day that the officer, a husband, son and Arizonan, had died in Iraq.

On behalf of the men and women at Luke Air Force Base, we continue to keep Jeremy and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Col. Robin Rand
Luke Air Force Base

Quote:
I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my
unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby ("A
wake-up call from Luke's jets," Letters, June 23).

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have
insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have
served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized
for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the
four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman
and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I
must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I
love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are
doing.

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae, Peoria
So, except for the added lines in the one letter (which have also been erroneously attributed to Tony Blair), and the name on that letter, it's all true.


See the link at: http://www.expeditersonline.com/forum/general-expediter-forum/34447-e-mail-i-wanted-share.html

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