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Pimpin' ain't easy
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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, I hope it 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 Mervyns early bird special? Any response would be
appreciated.'

The response:
Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets' (Letters,
Thursday):
On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship
flyby 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 parent s 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
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke AFB
 

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Private Investigator
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2,379 Posts
owned. :b

i guess it's the same everywhere. we got a whole lot of people who bought houses (cheaply!) next to the international airport and have been complaining about the aircraft noise for years.

we also got our air force regularly flying over inhabited areas, and a lot of people keep complaining about it, wanting to abolish training flights over most areas! crazy, in a country this small where are they supposed to fly? if a few flybys by F/A-18s and F-5s a week is your worst problem, you should consider yourself lucky.
 

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Super Moderator
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9,153 Posts
LOL One of my favorite stories. I never get tired of reading that reply.

From Snopes:

To his credit, the complainant, Mr. MacRae, tendered a written apology which was published in The Republic on 9 July: Regarding "Flyby honoring fallen comrade" (Letters, June 28):

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
 

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Silent Hunter
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14,676 Posts
Excellent response by Colonel Pleau to an uninformed civilian and a tip of the hat to Mr MacRae for his humble and I believe sincere apology.
 

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Starving Student
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396 Posts
I just moved away from my local airbase, having lived near airports my entire life, it honestly is hard to get used to NOT having the noise.

I miss it, planes are fun to watch.
 

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Every night I hear the helicopters practicing at night at MCAS Miramar and periodically the sound of F/A-18, AC-130, and an occasional KC -30 flying over my house at night. Those nights that they wake me up, I will put in earplugs so that I can sleep and they can practice. :) I always love the sound of jet air power and yell out. "That's the sound of Freedom!!"
 

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You would think someone who says they were in the military would have sucked it up and kept there mouths shut in the first place.
Oh yeah one more thing
Service during the vietnam war, even near country, only technically makes you a Vietman vet. People like me who were around the time of the gulf war are considered guld war vets. I am not a gulf war vet. If Mr. MacRae was a Corpsman who served in country I would consider him a Vietnam vet. If he was just some ship jocky who cruized around Vietnam he is a veteran that served durning the Vietnam conflict. Im not diminishing his service because that would diminish mine but lets face it alot of people served in the military and only a small portion were actual vietnam combat vets.
 

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A nice resolution I think. But I bet the original letter of complaint is destined to be seen by far more people than the apology though, which is too bad.
Why Mr. MacRaes first thought was to bitch
he shoudl have known better
 

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Average Guy
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2,324 Posts
Maybe, but hindsight is always 20/20. And having lived very close to an active air force runway I can tell you it is incredibly annoying and frustrating too. I am sure his annoyance had been building for some time and the fly over was probably the finial straw for him.

So I can sympathize with him in some regard, its just unfortunate that the issue that pushed him to right was what it was. And who is to say he should have known better? And how was he supposed to know that fly over was honoring a fallen pilot and not another training flight or whatnot? Just because he did is time in Nam thirty years ago doesn't mean he would know every tradition of each service. I'm not saying what he wrote was right, but I don't think its right to paint him as a villain either. And the fact he did stand up after wards and say he was sorry shows some courage and genuine remorse.
 

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Props to him for admitting he was an ass. Yet ass he was.

How would he even assume that the military maintains it's degree of preparedness without regular, and irregular, training?

Yes, being a veteran, he should be aware of the state of training schedules and/or operations and the varying times of such...especially during war.

Next time you decide to buy that house, the big open area with all the jets parked all around and the funny buildings nearby? Yeah, that's an airbase. Those jets fly around and land. It's what they do. Maybe if you'd read the paper rather than turn directly to the Mervyn's ad, you'd have been aware of the events unfolding around you.

Why not move to Alaska and complain to the locals about how cold it is? I'm guessing those folks wouldn't be as receptive to even your most heartfelt apology.
 

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Duty First
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1,119 Posts
I think he made a genuine apology and that's that.

One thing to remember is that he's probably an old fart, and they excel at bitching and complaining about things many of us find normal and/or commonplace.

My dad, for one, has started to act the way I remember my granddad acting when I was a kid.

No that's freakin' annoying.
 

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Maybe, but hindsight is always 20/20. And having lived very close to an active air force runway I can tell you it is incredibly annoying and frustrating too. I am sure his annoyance had been building for some time and the fly over was probably the finial straw for him.

So I can sympathize with him in some regard, its just unfortunate that the issue that pushed him to right was what it was. And who is to say he should have known better? And how was he supposed to know that fly over was honoring a fallen pilot and not another training flight or whatnot? Just because he did is time in Nam thirty years ago doesn't mean he would know every tradition of each service. I'm not saying what he wrote was right, but I don't think its right to paint him as a villain either. And the fact he did stand up after wards and say he was sorry shows some courage and genuine remorse.
He lives next to a air force base what does he expect happens there
flying freakin kites?
No big loud jets
no this old fart is just being a bitch
 

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As a current soldier whose been serving his country proudly for nearly eight years now I almost know all the traditions of all the Armed Services (with help of AFN over here; and everyone complains about commericals back in the States. Try watching some of the ones of AFN). And please don't tell me any American, veteran or civie, who has watch a big sporting event on TV or in person has never seen an honor flight of fixed wing aircraft flying above the stadium. Or watched a Memorial Day parade without having a 'Missing Man' formation fly overhead. The fact is the US Air Force's Missing Man formation is probably the most recognized tradition in the military service besides the 21 gun salute and taps. So the excuse of 'he didn't know' is pure bull, he just was a cranky old man who wanted to bitch. And I know, my father has been turning into one since he turned forty.

And having our living AO being not more than a hundred and twenty meters from the third longest runaway in Iraq with everything from C5 Galaxys to civilain jumbo cargo planes to rotary aircraft landing and taking off at all times of the day I sleep like a baby no matter what is landing/taking off at anytime of the day/night. Maybe is because I'm use to it or maybe I just pay it no mind.
 
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