Commentary

October 12, 2012

‘Missing Man’ symbol of loss

The missing man formation is one of the most profound demonstrations of honor and respect a flying unit can bestow. The very makeup and maneuvering of this formation demonstrates the concept of a cohesive team and how each member of that team counts. When a member of that team is lost, the others not only mourn that loss, but it affects every other person in that team.

Such is the case here at Luke Air Force Base, where each and every Airman counts and is critical to the team’s ultimate success or failure; when one Airman is lost, for one reason or another, the entire team is affected.

In the missing man formation, four fighters approach the memorial ceremony geographic center from a given direction as a tightly knit four-ship formation. For fighter aircraft such as the F-16, they fly within 10 feet of each other while travelling at speeds exceeding 300 mph. Each pilot’s eyes are fixed upon the flight lead, as they strive to maintain appropriate spacing, speed and overall formation to ensure a sharp and precise presentation.

Each pilot is critical in making this formation an impressive, cohesive and safe demonstration. As the formation approaches the ceremony’s center, the No. 3 aircraft initiates an aggressive nose-high climb apart from the formation as the pilot flies straight to the heavens, while the other three aircraft fly onward continuing with the mission. What is left is an asymmetric flight of three fighter jets with a conspicuous gap where the No. 3 aircraft used to be. The remaining formation is a conspicuous symbol of the missing man.

In and of itself, this formation is an appropriate metaphor of the inherent dangers of life within the armed forces. Team Luke is no stranger to this truth as we lost Airmen in the past few years to a variety of causes. For all who have experienced a death within the unit, you know exactly what it’s like to see the empty desk in your office, or to see a crew chief waiting for a jet that will not taxi back after its scheduled land time, or to know there is a family that was paid a visit from a commander who delivered tragic news.

A four-ship of F-16s from the 308th Fighter Squadron flew the MMF Sept. 21 during the POW/MIA ceremony and retreat to honor those who have served and sacrificed in past wars. The ceremony shows loved ones and the men and women of today’s armed forces that we will never forget their service and sacrifice; assures future military members that we will do the same to recover them, bring them home to a proper military funeral. These ceremonies highlight our dedication to the Air Force’s most valued resource — the Airman.

As military members and Defense Department civilians, you are the Air Force’s most valuable asset. At all levels in the military, the men and women who make the mission happen are the critical components for success.

As an Air Force, we face a variety of threats today, ranging from terrorists to the tragic suicide rate. As we continue to honor those who have served before us, we absolutely need to take care of each other today, and ensure no one is left behind, on or off duty. Every Airman is absolutely critical to the mission.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Staff Sgt. 
STACI MILLER

CMS aircraft fuel systems provides push for pilot

Staff Sgt.STACI MILLER Airman 1st Class Gary Esposito, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems apprentice, prepares to inspect a 370-gallon external fuel tank on Luke Air Force Base. Esposito inspected the tan...
 
 
Senior Airman 
GRACE LEE

Latest F-35 has fastest induction to ALIS

Senior AirmanGRACE LEE The 14th F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter to arrive at Luke Air Force Base is shown Dec. 5 on the flightline. Airmen at the 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit worked quickly to get the aircraft ready to...
 
 

Gratitude cultivates exceptional leadership

Several months ago I was inspired by the phrase “cultivate an attitude of gratitude.” The topic was presented in a religious context; however, I found these words significant and profound when considered as a tenent of exceptional leadership. Cultivate is an action verb. The word brings to mind images of an experienced gardener patiently tending...
 

 

Leadership vs. management

Have you ever had a boss or someone that made you want to come to work every day, someone you would do anything for without question? Then you were probably working beside a leader, not a manager. The biggest difference between managers and leaders is the way they motivate people who work for or follow...
 
 

Decking the halls …

Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer Andrea Mathis, 56th Force Support Squadron Fighter Country Inn accounting clerk, decorates a Christmas tree Dec. 4 in the lobby at the Fighter Country Inn at Luke Air Force Base. Base lodging is available to active-duty service members, retirees and dependents on a space-available basis. For more information, call 623-856-3941.
 
 

Safety begins with asking ‘What could go wrong?’

I’m sure most of us have been told to “be safe” at some point either by a commander, supervisor or even a co-worker. This holiday season will probably not be any different. Someone will use this simple phrase in the next few weeks, and it will feel like a cliché to you, but what does...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin