Posts Tagged ‘flight attendant’

Long Flight Home – an inspirational story

February 16, 2010

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’ve 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 on his own.

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’, he said.  He 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 attendant’s voice when he asked me if there was anything I could do…

‘I’m on it’, I said. I told him that I would get back to him. 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 this 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: As a Veteran I can only think of all the veterans including the ones that rode below the deck on their way home and how they we were treated. When I read things like this I am proud  that our country has not turned their backs on our soldiers returning from the various war zones today and give them the respect they so deserve.

I know every veteran who reads this will have tears in their eyes — including me.

Security Incident on AirTran Flight #297 – A Cover-up?

December 9, 2009

I, Gene Hackemack, received this email from my good friend Tedd Petruna, a diver at the NBL facility [Neutral Buoyancy Lab], at NASA Houston, whom I used to work with.  Tedd happened to be on this same Flt. 297, Atlanta to Houston.

In my opinion, the Muslims are all getting very brave now, since they have one of their own in the White House……read Tedd’s story below.

Semper Fi
Gene Hackemack

PS…Can you imagine, our own news media now are so politically correct that they are afraid to report that these were all Muslims… unbelievable. Thank God for people like Tedd Petruna.

A. Gene Hackemack
979-251-2310 cell & home
buttonbox01@gmail.com
8725 Hwy 290 W
Brenham TX  77833

—– Original Message —–
From: Petruna, Tedd J. (JSC-DX12)

[RAYTHEON TECHNICAL SERVICES COMPANY]
To: undisclosed-recipients
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2009 11:32 AM
Subject: Long story short….

One week ago, I went to Ohio on business and to see my father.  On Tuesday, November the 17th, I returned home.  If you read the papers the 18th you may have seen a blurb where a AirTran flight was cancelled from Atlanta to Houston due to a man who refused to get off of his cell phone before takeoff.  It was on Fox.

This was NOT what happened.

I was in 1st class coming home.  11 Muslim men got on the plane in full attire.  2 sat in 1st class and the rest peppered themselves throughout the plane all the way to the back.  As the plane taxied to the runway the stewardesses gave the safety spiel we are all so familiar with.  At that time, one of the men got on his cell and called one of his companions in the back and proceeded to talk on the phone in Arabic very loudly and very aggressively.  This took the 1st stewardess out of the picture for she repeatedly told the man that cell phones were not permitted at the time.  He ignored her as if she was not there.

The 2nd man who answered the phone did the same and this took out the 2nd stewardess.  In the back of the plane at this time, 2 younger Muslims, one in the back aisle, and one in front of him, window, began to show footage of a porno they had taped the night before, and were very loud about it.

Now…they are only permitted to do this prior to Jihad.  If a Muslim man goes into a strip club, he has to view the woman via mirror with his back to her.     (Don’t ask me… I don’t make the rules, but I’ve studied)  The 3rd stewardess informed them that they were not to have electronic devices on at this time.  To which one of the men said “shut up infidel dog!”  She went to take the camcorder and he began to scream in her face in Arabic.  At that exact moment, all 11 of them got up and started to walk the cabin.  This is where I had had enough!  I got up and started to the back where I heard a voice behind me from another Texan twice my size say “I got your back.”  I grabbed the man who had been on the phone by the arm and said “you WILL go sit down or you Will be thrown from this plane!”  As I “led” him around me to take his seat, the fellow Texan grabbed him by the back of his neck and his waist and headed out with him.  I then grabbed the 2nd man and said, “You WILL do the same!”  He protested but adrenaline was flowing now and he was going to go.  As I escorted him forward the plane doors open and 3 TSA agents and 4 police officers entered.  Me and my new Texan friend were told to cease and desist for they had this under control.  I was happy to oblige actually.  There was some commotion in the back, but within moments, all 11 were escorted off the plane.  They then unloaded their luggage.

We talked about the occurrence and were in disbelief that it had happen, when suddenly, the door open again and on walked all 11!!  Stone faced, eyes front and robotic (the only way I can describe it).  The stewardess from the back had been in tears and when she saw this, she was having NONE of it!  Being that I was up front, I heard and saw the whole ordeal.  She told the TSA agent there was NO WAY she was staying on the plane with these men.  The agent told her they had searched them and were going to go through their luggage with a fine tooth comb and that they were allowed to proceed to Houston.  The captain and co-captain came out and told the agent “we and our crew will not fly this plane!”  After a word or two, the entire crew, luggage in tow, left the plane.  5 minutes later, the cabin door opened again and a whole new crew walked on.

Again…this is where I had had enough!!!  I got up and asked “What the hell is going on!?!?”  I was told to take my seat.  They were sorry for the delay and I would be home shortly.  I said “I’m getting off this plane”.  The stewardess sternly told me that she could not allow me to get off.  (Now I’m mad!)  I said “I am a grown man who bought this ticket, whose time is mine with a family at home and I am going through that door, or I’m going through that door with you under my arm!!  But I am going through that door!!”  And I heard a voice behind me say “so am I”.  Then everyone behind us started to get up and say the same.  Within 2 minutes, I was walking off that plane where I was met with more agents who asked me to write a statement.  I had 5 hours to kill at this point so why the hell not.  Due to the amount of people who got off that flight, it was cancelled.  I was supposed to be in Houston at 6pm.  I got here at 12:30am.

Look up the date.  Flight #297 Atlanta to Houston.

If this wasn’t a dry run, I don’t know what one is.  The terrorists wanted to see how TSA would handle it, how the crew would handle it, and how the passengers would handle it.

I’m telling this to you because I want you to know.
The threat is real.  I saw it with my own eyes…

– Tedd Petruna

Additional information from WorldNet Daily http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=118310


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