The commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, Arizona, deserves a big pat on the back. Somebody who lives near Luke AFB wrote to the local paper complaining about a flight of four F-16 fighters that disturbed his/her day at the mall. The response from the squadron commander of the F-16 unit reminds all Americans of the sacrifices our military personnel are making daily for all of us.
“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 impress the cashiers at Mervyns’ early-bird special? Any response would be appreciated.”
The squadron commander’s response follows:
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 am 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 parents 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 Air Force Base, Arizona
Captain Jeremy Fresques was a member of the United States Air Force Academy, class of 2001.