Sunday, June 8, 2008

They just don't get it!

From time to time we hear stores about people who want better cell phone coverage but don't want more cell towers or cheaper gas but no domestic oil exploration. My personal favorite example of this behavior would be people who want all they assume to be theirs as Americans with no tolerance for those "pesky and annoying military types". Some people just don't understand what it takes to ensure the amazing lifestyle Americans enjoy everyday. They will not hesitate to gripe, complain, and act like a child when anything interrupts their Sunday nap or their precious "mocha choca non-fat low steam soy latte". These people regardless of what they say when asked don't respect the courageous Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of our armed forces. They do this for many reasons that I won't dignify with a listing here.

Luke Air Force Base in Arizona just west of Phoenix just recently got the joy of hearing from one of these charming citizens. The area around Luke AFB has become a rather large residential area. Many of these homeowners decided to call the community around Luke AFB home way after the based was built and made operational. The primary point here is that these people have chosen to live in the proximity of a military airfield. The story to follow is from June of 2005, but just came to my attention and I feel that this is unfortunately a timeless enough issue to post about. As you will see in the following letter to the editor of the "Arizona Republic" newspaper in June of 2005 by a Mr. Tom MacRae, this guy "Just doesn't get it".

"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."

Well Tom got just what he asked for in this response from Lt Col Scott Pleus Who at the time was that commanding officer of the 56th fighter wing stationed at Luke AFB.

"On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship 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
Commander, 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke Air Force Base"

In full disclosure of this story, Mr. MacRae did send somewhat of a apology to the same newspaper after the Lt Col's response. I believe that Mr. MacRae did this once the court of public opinion found him guilty of gross incompetence in regard to ignorance of reality and total lack of respect for those who gave him the right to print such drivel in the first place. I don't for one second believe that this "citizen" has any remorse for what he said and submitted the apology only because he looked so bad after the truth of the incident came out.

First impressions are like initial statements, meaning it is ofter how you truly feel or plan to present yourself.

I'm for one, eternally grateful to all members, of the all the armed forces for what they do everyday in the preservation of the American way of life. Service members everywhere will continue to sweat, bleed, be separated from their loved ones, and occasionally make the ultimate sacrifice in order for people like Mr. MacRae to continue to write such letters. They will never tell him not to,never ask for an apology, or for thanks. Such men and woman are of a moral fibre not commonly found and do their jobs out of love and respect for America.

God Bless the Peacekeepers