My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.)
"Are they military?" I asked.
'Is there an escort?' I asked.
'Yes, I've already assigned him a seat'.
'Would you please tell him to come to the Flight Deck. You can board him early," I said...
A short while later a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier.
不久, 一位陸軍士進來: 衣裝整齊, 他自我介紹, 我問他陣亡者 .
The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. 'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia ,' he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.
護駕詡詡如生地介紹陣亡者: "他要回他的家鄉: 維吉尼亞!"
I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military, and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the Flight Deck to find his seat.
我問他可以為他做任何事? 他說沒有! 我告訴他: 他的任務是軍旅最艱難的! 感謝他為陣亡者與他的家屬所做的一切! 付駕駛和我起立, 跟他握手. 他離開駕駛艙返座!
We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight, I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin.
起飛忙碌, 沒有狀況, 三十分鐘後, 空服長打電話進來!
'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is also on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left.
"我剛才發現: 陣亡者的家屬也在飛機上! 父母 妻子和兩位女兒, 也來迎他返鄉! 他們很難過: 登機以前, 他們沒有看到棺木!
We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia . The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.
我們飛向一個大轉折機,場 要在那裏等上幾個鐘頭! 陣亡者之父表示: 家人無法看到棺木, 十分難過! 他問: 可以讓他們在目的迎接棺木下機嗎?
I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.
聽得出來空服長急切地問我能做甚麼? "我這就去辦! 會回妳的話!"
Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.
空中通訊, 一般靠電子郵件. 我決定不用, 直接用對講機聯絡調度員, 我向調度員解釋狀況: 機上有陣亡將士家屬和他們的意願! 他說: "瞭解! 會回你的話!"
Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:
兩小時以後, 我們已經接近降落, 會開始忙碌, 我需要給這些家屬回話. 我簡訊調度員, 我將他的回答存下來, 如下:
'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now, and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family.
機長: 對不起花了我不少時間回您的話, 我們現在有個程序, 我需要做點安排! 你抵達時, 一個護駕小組會陪伴家屬, 到飛機旁邊的輸送帶, 一輛車會載遺體, 一輛專車載家屬!
The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal, where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home.
家屬會被送到起飛的候機室, 棺木可以在家屬注視下上機, 只有家屬在場, 絕無閒雜人等!
Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.
機長: 飛航控制多是退役軍人, 請幫我們向家屬致哀. 謝謝!
I sent a message back, telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'
我回信謝謝他們很棒地完成任務! 把信息印出來, 交給空服長給家屬. 她感謝地說: 這對他們, 意義深長!
Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.
降落是忙碌的, 我們滑行到月台, 每邊有十五個登機口, 總是忙得不可開交. 我進入航道, 向控制報到時, 他們告訴我: 航道停止所有的交通, 等待我們!
'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller, we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'
"護駕小組已經準備好迎接你們!" 一切看起來就緒. 我想到: 當我把繫緊安全帶燈關掉的時候, 所有的人都會跳起來準備下機, 家屬無法馬上下機! 當我們接近登機門, 我請副駕駛告訴地面人員: 我會停機宣佈事情, 地面說: "不急! 把事辦好"
I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said: 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking: I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'
我把飛機停好, 打開廣播: "各位女士先生, 我是機長, 我停在登機門之前, 特別報告: 我們有一位很特殊的乘客, 值得我們特別的尊敬: 他的名字是: XXX 士兵, 最近犧牲. 他躺在我們腳下貨艙, 護駕的是XXX軍士, 士兵的父母妻子和女兒也在機上, 我們整個飛行工作人員請求所有乘客留在座位, 讓家屬下機. 謝謝!
We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.
我們繼續到停機門, 完成飛機關機動作. 幾分鐘後, 我開了駕駛艙的門, 只見兩位在前面的空服員正在哭泣: 不尋常的狀況! 她們告訴我: 飛機停妥, 所有乘客安坐不動, 讓家屬下機!
When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later, more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.
家屬起身取行李, 一位乘客開始鼓掌, 馬上有人跟進, 不旋踵, 整個機艙都在鼓掌! 人們說: 神保佑你們, 我很遺憾, 謝謝! 為你驕傲! 等等很溫暖的話, 隨著他們下機的腳步! 迎接小組陪同他們到輸送帶, 陪伴他們衷愛的士兵
Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.
許多乘客謝謝我的宣布. 我說: 我會一再地如此宣布. 可是: 無論我說啥, 都無法挽回陣亡者的生命!
I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA.
很誠敬地: 我希望您仔細想這個故事, 以及許多付出犧牲,保護我們安全的軍人!
I know everyone who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me. Prayer chain for our Military... PLEASE SHARE THIS! Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women.
我知道: 你們應該流了許多眼淚! 請為我們的軍人祈禱!
They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and respect.
When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world... There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.
GOD BLESS YOU!!!
Thank you all who have served, or are serving. We Will not forget!!!!