A DIFFERENT KIND OF "WAKE UP CALL"
SQUADRON  LEADER AT LUKE AIR FORCE BASE
IN ARIZONA REMINDS US THAT FREEDOM
IS NOT FREE, IN A WAY YOU WILL NOT SOON
FORGET - MILITARYCORRUPTION.COM RENDERS
A HEARTFELT "SALUTE" TO
LT COL SCOTT PLEUS, COMMANDING OFFICER
OF THE 63RD FIGHTER SQUADRON

A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB deserves a  big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near  the Arizona Air Force base wrote his local paper complaining about a group of  F-16s that "disturbed" his/her day at the mall.  When that individual  read the response from Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter  Squadron, it must have stung quite a bit.  At least we hope it did.

"Here's the 'question of the day' for Luke Air  Force Base," the whining civilian wrote.  "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 to impress  the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special?  Any response would be  appreciated."

The swift reply came as follows in a letter to the  same newspaper:

Regarding A WAKE-UP CALL FROM LUKE'S JETS (Letters,  Thursday): On June 15, 2005, 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, 26, of Clarkdale, AZ, who was  previously stationed at Luke AFB, was assigned to  the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla. at the time of his death.  Also killed with Capt. Fresques in the May 30, 2005 crash of an Iraqi Air  Force plane on a training mission in eastern Diyha Province were: Maj. William Downs, Capt. Derek Dargel and S/Sgt. Casey Crate.

At 9 a.m. 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 rifle 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 have to thank  for the morning air show?"  The 58th Fighter Wing will forward your  thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and "thank" them for you, for  it was in the captain's honor that my pilots flew the most honorable mission of  their lives.
 
     Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
     CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
     Luke Air Force Base, Arizona