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.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
image001

It’s a way of life

Maj. Ronald Marquez Air Force Instruction 1-1 Paragraph 1.5 states, A way of life. “The mission must be accomplished.” Luke AFB is taking a small break from that mission, back-to-back four-day weekends for some. This means ...
 

 
600-Jesus-Nativity504

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Courtesy graphic Do we have the humility and strength to hear the truth from those beneath us? “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field … All they that heard it wondered at those things which were ...
 
 
a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-dvd_600

Fly Over: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ and ‘Home Alone′

On DVD: ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ I love Westerns, both dramatic and comedic, and I was eager to watch this movie with the tagline “From the guy who brought you ‘Ted.’” That alone should have been ...
 
 

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...
 




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