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MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:


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MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:

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 .

Foot note:

I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me.

Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!

Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women. Don't break it!

They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and respect.

Prayer:

"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

Prayer Request:

When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world. There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.

GOD BLESS YOU!!!

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I know everyone who has served their country who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me.

not only in my eyes Moose but pouring down my cheeks...as a VietNam Vet it was over 20 years before anyone said "thanks for your service" and in between there were curses and spitting and inaccurate accusations along the way....

only our Vets and their families truly pay the price for freedom....I for one am grateful when people acknowledge that service properly....thanks for a great post !

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There is a wonderful, touching movie made a couple of years ago called "Taking Chance", starring Kevin Bacon as a marine military escort, just as in this airline captain's story. I happened upon the movie... and just watched it full of emotion as the soldier "Chance" was taken home. I recommend everyone watch it... and it was about a real soldier.

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Thank you, Moose. That post really hits home with me; I have lost several friends in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thank you to all of our Military Veterans on this board, and to all service members for your service and your continued service. We need to remember that these wars continue and our support is needed more than ever.

As I watched the fireworks on Ft.Hood a few days ago, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the sacrifices made everyday so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have and so that we can help other countries obtain freedom from oppression.

There is no greater service, than service to your country. God Bless our Troops and God Bless America.

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Moose, thanks for the post. It really puts this whole Iraqi Dinar investment into a new light. One of the things our servicemen & women are paying for and especially those that have paid the ultimate sacrafice is for us to have this Dinar investment opportunity.

There are no words to describe the true value that we all now hold. Yes, I speak of the Dinar. I am humbled by this realization. That if not for their sacrifices, we here in America would have never have had this opportunity.

I'll admit I have in the past wanted this Dinar to RV like yesterday, but now...

I will wait patiently in honor to their sacrafice...

So to those that have no patience or get upset when this does not RV today, I say to stop and think what the real cost of this Dinar has been. For you and me it's not really just 1170 Dinar per 1 usd, but for some it was a brother, a father or a son. No price can be higher than that. So from now on I will no longer be calling the Dinar colored toilet paper. It is much more.

Yes, I have lost friends in this fight, and not once thought about the Dinar this way. I now choose to believe that they would be happy, knowing that due to their actions we as Americans of all walks of life, of every color and every ethnic root would prosper and survive. And due to their actions "the plan" will save America and possibly the world we live in.

God bless our troops and their families here at home, and God bless America our home sweet home!

Again, thanks Moose, for my outlook of this investment just changed.

Peace

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I was recently on a flight when the captain came on and advised we would be a few minutes late in departing, because we would be waiting for two soldiers from a connecting flight. They were on their way home for leave and there was not a grumble or groan on the plane. They boarded a few minutes later to loud applause and thank you's from all the passengers. When the plane landed, the captain also asked everyone to remain seated and let the soldiers off first, they wern't home yet and had another connection. Same thing, rounds of applause and thank you's. I hope this kind of thing occurs more than we hear about. i felt so proud to be on the plane with them and get to say thank you also.

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