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.


 
 

 
Pg-3

Honorary commanders bid farewell

Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus, 56th Fighter Wing commander, speaks to the outgoing honorary commanders Sept. 17 at Club Five Six. The Honorary Commander Program fosters relationships between local civic and business leaders and base p...
 
 

News Briefs September 26, 2014

CPTS closed The finance office is closed Monday and Thursday. It will be open regular business hours, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information, call 1st Lt. William Liaw at 623-856-6035. Comprehensive Airman Fitness Comprehensive Airman Fitness Training is Oct. 14 through 16. It is a three-day course for Airmen...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Senior Airman Jordan Provencher-Olaes 56th Communications Squadron Network infrastructure technician   Hometown: Chandler, Arizona Years in service: Two Family: Parents, Bridget and Rustico Olaes; brothers, Devon and Ethan Provencher Inspirations: My parents gave me the strength and courage to strive in all areas of life; CS leaders’ mentorship has inspired me to be the very...
 

 
Airman 1st Class Cory Gossett

POW/MIA day commemorated at Luke

Airman 1st Class Cory Gossett Members of the 56th Fighter Wing Honor Guard perform the folding of the flag at the conclusion of the POW/MIA retreat ceremony Sept. 19 at Luke Air Force Base. A warm, breezy late summer afternoon ...
 
 

Chaplain’s thoughts …

Luke Air Force Base held a ceremony to honor America’s prisoners of war and missing in action Sept. 19. There are 83,189 personnel still unaccounted for from conflicts dating back to WWII, according to the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office. These numbers represent countless American families who grieve because they do not...
 
 
Senior Airman Grace Lee

TAP changes to better prepare Airmen for civilian life

Senior Airman Grace Lee Dawn Reynolds, American Veterans representative, speaks to a Transition Assistance Program class. The Luke Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center Transition Assistance Program has recently und...
 




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