AF response to a complaint of jet noise at an air base in Arizona-Truth!

Air Force Response to Complaint of Jet Noise at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

A letter to the editor of a local newspaper near Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.  It complains about jet noise from a group of F-16s.  It asks “Whom do we thank for the morning air show?”  An Air Force officer wrote a response that said you could thank the widow and parents of an airman who was killed and who was being honored by the formation of jets.

The Truth:

This exchange of letters to the editor was published in the Arizona Republic newspaper in June, 2005.

Luke Air Force Base is located west of Phoenix near Glendale, Arizona.

The original complaint letter was published in the newspaper on June 23 and was written by Tom MacRae.

The response that is included in the eRumor was penned by Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, the commanding officer of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke, and published on June 28.  In it, he explained that the flyby was in honor of a fallen airman, Captain Jeremy Fresques, who died in Iraq.

McRae wrote a follow-up letter to the newspaper that was published on July 9 in which he apologized for his original complaint:

I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my
unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby (“A
wake-up call from Luke’s jets,” Letters, June 23).

I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have
insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known.

I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have
served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized
for any discomfort my letter has caused.

This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise.

I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the
four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman
and woman in this war in which we are engaged.

I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I
must address that. I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran. I
love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are

Please accept my heartfelt apologies.

Tom MacRae, Peoria

Captain Fresques died on May 30, 2005.  He was one of four American airmen who were killed in the crash of an Iraqi air force Comp Air 7SL during a training mission in Iraq.  The Iraqi pilot was also killed in the crash. Fresques was assigned to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron in Florida although he had at one time been chief of communications and information for the 56th Communications Squadron at Luke Air Force Base.