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PGR Airport Recovery Mission for US Navy Petty Officer Brian Lundy, KIA
Posted By Robbie Cooper On 9/14/2011 @ 4:53 pm In Military,War on Terror | 23 Comments
On 09 Sep 11, Navy Petty Officer Brian Lundy died while on a dismounted patrol in Marjah, Helmand province (Afghanistan). Lundy, a Navy Corpsman, was assigned to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.
This morning, around 10:00 am, his remains arrived home to his family in Austin, TX via a chartered jet from Dover Air Force Base.
I joined about 30 fellow Central Texas Patriot Guard Riders at the Atlantic Aviation terminal at ABIA airport to help welcome home this fallen hero, to stand in support of his mission, his sacrifice, and to show our respects to his family.
We ride our bikes out onto the flight line and form a welcome line, with the waiting family at the front end. There are usually a flock of onlookers in the terminal windows wondering why a gang of bikers with massive US Flags flying from their rear fenders is being allowed out onto the tarmac. As we line up in formation with our flags, followed by a black limousine and hearse, our mission soon becomes apparent to all who are paying attention.
It’s obvious that someone very important is making their final journey home.
When the plane touches down, it passes under a water cannon salute from the local fire department, and then slowly rolls to a stop in front of the military Honor Guard, the waiting family, and the stoic PGR riders.
It seems like an eternity passes with the plane sitting on the tarmac, with nothing more than the sound of other planes taking off and landing at other gates, before the leader of the Honor Guard barks his orders and the six man formation moves in unison to the side of the plane. And an eternity longer before the cargo door slowly opens to reveal its precious Flag-draped cargo.
I think these airport recovery missions are always the most emotionally gut wrenching for me, more so often times than the funeral. It’s usually the first time the grieving family actually sees their beloved fallen Soldier. And whatever gut-wrenching emotions they felt when they first heard the news seem to flow again anew upon seeing that casket for the first time.
It was no different today. PO Lundy’s sister came over to our group before her brother’s plane arrived to thank us for being there to honor her brother. There was no media to mark this moment in time. No crowds to acknowledge the family’s immense loss and sacrifice. If not for the PGR, nobody would have born witness to a fallen Soldier coming home. Which is why I’m thankful for the PGR riders for being there to show these families that their sacrifice has not gone unnoticed.
She told us that her brother rode motorcycles, too, and that it would mean a lot to him having us here today.
Here’s the video I took of the chartered jet landing in Austin, and being greeted by the Navy Honor Guard, the PGR, and Lundy’s family:
We stood silently at attention as the family walked toward the waiting casket holding their son and brother. Instinctively reaching out to touch the casket for the first time…His sister was barely able to walk across the tarmac, having to be helped and supported by a family member, and then watching her breakdown into loud painful sobbing when trying to walk away…collapsing to the ground in tears, and being helped back to her feet and walked slowly back to the waiting family car.
And we stood a few feet away, at solemn attention, all of us grieving, praying, and searching for our own strength.
We then led the procession, escorted by at least 20 motorcycle cops, through downtown Austin to the funeral home about 20 miles northy. It’s always an amazing site to see the 4th busiest stretch of interstate in the United States completely shut down to traffic other than our procession. Very appropriate for the solemnity of the moment. I hope his family felt how important their son and brother was today, and that their loss did not go unnoticed.
Every local television and news agency in Austin has teams of reporters digging through Gov. Rick Perry’s garbage on behalf of Team Obama/Soros. But not one of them could bother to send out a single reporter or camera crew to cover the homecoming at the airport of one of our city’s fallen sons during a time of war. Shame on you, Statesman, Tribune, KEYE, KVUE, and KXAN. Shame on all of you.
The funeral for Petty Officer Brian Lundy will be held a week for today, in Round Rock, before his burial at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery near Ft. Hood.
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