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Fallen Hero


SW Michigan
Got this from the Husky site. Thought some of you might be interested..

>>This is Captain Bob Johnson with the Flight Department Hotline for
>>Monday, December 18.(AMERICAN AIRLINES)
>>In lieu of our normal weekly recap, I want to share with you a letter
>>we received from FO Gary Blied, written after completing his duties on

>>American Airlines flight #1904, ORD to MIA, on December 3. This is
>>Gary's letter
>>"We were informed at the gate that the remains of MSgt Shawn
>>Richardson would shortly be loaded on our flight for the trip to
>>Miami. He was a 17 year veteran of the United States Air Force and had

>>been killed in the service of our country. I went down onto the ramp
>>and found the long box appropriately stationed off to the side in a
>>luggage cart. The curtains on the cart were pulled. I spent a few
moments in prayer with him.
>>"The Captain and I finished our preflight duties and then went down
>>onto the ramp, checked in with the crew chiefs to observe the loading
of MSgt.
>>Richardson. We departed almost an hour late due to our late arrival
>>into Chicago.
>>"We called for push and it was immediately granted. Normally, there's
>>a wait. We called ground for taxi and again -- immediately granted.
>>Normally, there's a wait. We were cleared onto the runway and for an
>>immediate take off. Passing through about twenty five thousand feet,
>>we were further cleared direct OMN (Ormand Beach) which is the first
>>fix on the arrival into Miami. That's basically a thousand mile
>>straight line and the most direct clearance I've ever received to
>>Miami. Not a word was ever said -- but people were watching out for
>>"The flight to and landing in Miami were uneventful, until we went to
>>turn off the runway. The tower asked us to proceed a little further
>>down where an escort was waiting for us. We did as instructed and a
>>Miami Dade Police cruiser met us on the taxiway. He escorted our
>>American Airlines Boeing 757 to the D terminal. The entire north ramp
had been cleared of all aircraft.
>>"As we approached the ramp we noticed the lights. There were at least
>>a half dozen fire trucks, no less than 15 police cars and countless
other vehicles.
>>They were all parked in rows with their lights flashing. As we taxied
>>our aircraft to the gate, the fire trucks saluted our arrival with
>>crossed streams of water shooting over the aircraft.
>>"We parked the aircraft and shut down. After our checklists, Captain
>>Jeff Wallace and I went down to the ramp level and observed the
>>unpacking of the casket, then the dressing with a flag. It was
>>accepted by the honor guard, which was comprised of members of the
>>Miami Dade Police Department, and Air Force Honor Guard.
>>"After the "present arms" order (when all military and former military

>>render salutes and civilians put their hands over their hearts) and
>>the "order arms" order, when the salutes were finished, I noticed our
>>jet. As I looked up from the ramp level, I saw a face in every window.

>>Not one of our passengers had moved until our fallen solider had
departed the aircraft.
>>"When the procession left the airport, there were two cruisers in
>>front of the hearse and I have no idea how many behind. It was worthy
>>of a presidential motorcade and a fitting and probably all too
>>uncommon show of love and respect for one of our fallen.
>>"And in case I haven't mentioned this previously -- it was 1:30 a.m.
>>on a Saturday morning and I would bet that most of the people on our
>>ramp were not on the clock.
>>"Every now and then you see it: the silent majority that makes this
>>country the best in the world. I was so proud that night. Proud that
>>my fellow citizens on every level worked to get MSgt. Richardson to
his final repose.
>>Proud of all the people who showed up on the ramp early that Saturday
>>morning to show their respect. Proud of our passengers that they
>>recognized a greater purpose than getting off the jet. And proud that
>>my company, American Airlines knows how to handle this situation with
>>humility and honor.
>>"As you go through your day, remember that there are thousands of men
>>and women overseas in the service of our country, far from home and in

>>danger's way. Please remember that they have families back here who
>>live every day in fear of the phone call or visit with the news that
>>their worst nightmare has come true.
>>"Be thankful for their efforts and if you know someone who is in the
>>service -- get their address from their family and write them and
>>thank them. It's the least you can do."
Amazing post, thanks for sharing.

Says a lot about our country and the people who make it up.

Thanks for posting this.

My flight was two years ago. Took a Sailor home to Wichita, Kansas.

Everyone involved made sure he received the greatest amount of respect and care that was possible.

At any other time, the ramp is a busy, loud place. On that day, as the aircraft was being unloaded, you could have heard a pin drop.