Beverly Perlson of The Band of Mothers reached out to American Airlines when she heard that a Gold Star family was booed on their recent flight to bring their beloved son home. Bev wrote: “Sgt John Perry sacrificed his life in Afghanistan to save the lives of his Brothers. Such great love is extraordinary and noble. And that is The Band of Brothers. Please keep his family in your prayers. I have no doubt Sgt. Perry is in the arms of his Brothers who have gone before him. My prayers are with his family. ”
Bev reports that American Airlines responded to her concerns about what took place on this flight. Here is the response she received from an American Airlines representative:
American was honored to have this family onboard. We will always make every possible effort to ensure a smooth journey in such difficult circumstances.
The SMFPHX flight took a delay due to a mechanical issue jeopardizing the family’s onward connection.
To ensure the family could complete their journey we moved the incoming aircraft across concourses, had some of our team members meet the family off the plane and held their outgoing aircraft for a short period.
Bev adds: “It appears the pilot showed much compassion to this family. Perry and his family made their connecting flight, and the pilot in Phoenix stayed at the gate for 40 minutes to make sure they made it on board. I want to believe that if the passengers in First Class had known a little more about what was going on, they would have reacted with more compassion. I have contacted the reporter on this story in hopes that I can talk to the Perrys and let them know that there are tremendous amount of Americans who are grieving with them and who truly appreciate the sacrifice their son made for all of us. I hope I get the chance to apologize to them for the careless behavior of those on the plane.”
“Gold Star family of slain Stockton soldier booed on flight,” by Nicholas Filipas, Recordnet.com, November 18, 2016:
STOCKTON — The father of a soldier who was killed last weekend in Afghanistan was disappointed and hurt after airline passengers booed him and his family as they flew to meet his son’s remains.
Stewart Perry, an ex-Marine who lives in Stockton, said the ordeal left him feeling disrespected.
“It was really disgusting on the passengers’ part,” he said Friday.
His son, Sgt. John Perry, was one of two killed in an explosion at a United States airbase on Nov. 12. He was honored at a memorial service in Lodi on Thursday and will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
John Perry, 30, and Pfc. Tyler R. Iubelt of Tamaroa, Illinois, died from their injuries after the attack by an apparent suicide bomber at the Bagram Airfield at about 5:30 a.m. local time.
The Department of Defense said this week that the blast also took the lives of two U.S. contractors working on the base. Sixteen other U.S. service members and one Polish soldier participating in a NATO mission were wounded.
Perry was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He was at the base supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
An avid runner, he had been preparing to participate in a 5K run at the base in northeast Afghanistan as part of a post-Veterans Day activity to benefit disabled veterans.
Stewart Perry said he, his wife, Kathy, and daughter were flying on an American Airlines flight from Sacramento on Monday to Philadelphia, with a quick transfer in Phoenix. From Philadelphia, they traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to receive his son’s remains.
For unknown reasons, Perry said, the flight to Phoenix was 45 minutes late. The crew feared the delay might cause the Perrys miss their connecting flight.
So, when the plane landed in Phoenix, the captain made an announcement for all passengers to remain seated and to let a “special military family” exit the aircraft first, Perry said.
Several passengers in first class began to boo and complain, Perry said.
“Some people were saying ‘This is just baloney,’ and ‘I paid for first-class for this?’ ”
He said American Airlines “did everything they could” to accommodate his family.
Perry and his family made their connecting flight, and the pilot in Phoenix stayed at the gate for 40 minutes to make sure they made it on board.
Perry said he does not know if the passengers from Sacramento knew there was a Gold Star family on board, nor does he know if there was a similar reaction from people sitting in coach.
“It was just disgusting behavior from people in first class; it was terrible to see,” Perry said. “You could see the disappointment from the flight crew.”…