Publius / June 3, 2016

Military Readiness Is Also Deadly

A Blue Angels pilot and at least five soldiers at Fort Hood perished.

Thursday was a particularly tragic day for the Army, Navy and Air Force.

At Fort Hood, Texas, at least five soldiers perished when their truck overturned in raging flood waters. Four more are missing, and rescuers are still searching.

A Blue Angels pilot died in a crash while practicing for an upcoming airshow in Tennessee. Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss went down with his #6 F/A-18, refusing to eject so that he could put his aircraft into a field instead of the surrounding high-density housing. In doing so, Capt. Kuss gave his own life to protect others. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

“I started flying when I was a young kid,” Capt. Kuss said in a video the Navy posted last year. “I always had a love for it, worked really hard through school, went to college and eventually got into the military. I wanted to fly the fastest, meanest thing I could. And that’s why I’m here today, because I was fortunate enough to get to fly the F-18 Hornet. It’s been a great experience every time I strap into it.” Godspeed, Captain.

While our own Mark Alexander celebrated the graduation of his son from the U.S. Air Force Academy, one of the Thunderbirds conducting the post-graduation airshow crashed, as it was returning to Peterson AFB. Our sources indicate that, because Barack Obama remarks were 20 minutes longer than scheduled, the Thunderbirds were airborne longer prior to the initial flyover, and consequently, Dash 6 ran out of fuel. The pilot safely ejected just before putting his F-16 down in a field, again, staying with his aircraft until the last moment in order to ensure that there were no civilian casualties on the ground. Perhaps the CO and pilot will get and executive pardon?

Precision flying teams are entertaining and good to promote military support and recruitment, but the flying formations all constitute combat readiness exercises for the pilots and crews.

Our Armed Forces personnel confront danger every day, whether facing enemies abroad or in readiness training to confront those enemies. It is dangerous business either way, which is why we end each edition with this note: Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Thursday’s striking events are a pointed reminder that such prayers are always needed, even when service personnel are close to home.

(Revised.)

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