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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

From Today's Papers - 14 Jan 09


India may snap relation with Pakistan: Chidambaram

SOMAK SEN

13 January 2009, Tuesday

IN A bid to pressurise Islamabad to cooperate in the investigation of the recent Mumbai mayhem, India may cease business, transport and tourist links with Pakistan very soon. While speaking to the media, P Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister warned on Tuesday (January 13) that several links that exist between India and Pakistan would cease to exist if Pakistan did not cooperate with India to bring the guilty to justice.

Chidambaram further added, “Why would we entertain Pakistani business people? Why would we entertain tourists in India? Why would we send tourists there?” But he did not mention that from when such measures would come into force.

Chidambaram expressed his anguish at Islamabad’s lackadaisical attitude in cooperating with the Indian authorities to bring the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks to justice. He also blamed that Pakistan is doing nothing to eliminate the Lashkar-e-Toiba from its soil. Despite sound evidence, Islamabad shows complete reluctance in taking action against the offenders.

India has already handed over the evidence of the Mumbai attacks to the concerned authorities of Pakistan. The Indian foreign ministry has also sent the same evidence to the USA, the UK and other European countries.

Pressurise Pakistan to stop cross border terrorism

Satbir Singh Bedi 13 January 2009, Tuesday

ACCORDING TO a news report in the Times of India dated Jan 13, 2009, in the wake of Pakistan’s couldn’t-care-less attitude after the Mumbai attack terrorist was proved to be a Pakitsni national, India has asked the world not to sell arms to Pakistan. New Delhi has urged countries that are in the process of striking deals with Pakistan, not to go ahead with them. India has urged Ukraine not to sell T-84 tanks and Germany not to sell submarines to Pakistan.

In my opinion, India should also see to it that USA, UK, France, China and other countries also do not sell arms to Pakistan by showing to these countries complete involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in the Mumbai attacks.

More importantly, India must pressurise these various nations of Asia and Europe like USA, UK, France, China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia etc. to give no grant-in-aid or loan to any Pakistani agency or individual or Government so that the funds could be diverted for aiding the terrorists.

India also must make Pakistan suffer by stopping all visas to Pakistanis and Bangladeshis to visit India. All trade with Pakistan must be stopped and all the money coming from Gulf countries and Arab countries to Indian nationals must be thoroughly checked so that no help is received by the persons who in turn help the terrorists. The border with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal must be totally sealed so that no terrorist could get within India from these neighbouring countries.

No print of any film from India should be allowed to go to Dubai so that it could be shown clandestinely in Pakistan. Let the Pakistani nationals be made to suffer in this way by banning the entry of them into India and by entry of their Indian relatives into Pakistan and also by banning the entry of prints of Indian films into Pakistan. Every pressure tactics must be applied in this regard short of a war with Pakistan because war will do incalculable harm to India also.

Mumbai Attacks: Saudi Intelligence Chief in Pakistan
By Muhammad Najeeb

Islamabad
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz arrived here Tuesday for talks on the situation in the region in the wake of the Mumbai terror carnage and on Pakistan' political situation, a senior official said.

The official said that Muqrin, who is considered to be a powerful man in the Saudi kingdom and is a close confidant of King Abdullah, will be meeting President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the situation after the Mumbai attacks.

However, a leading politician said that the focus of his visit is "stabilization" of Pakistan's politics.

"He would be meeting Zardari and (former prime minister) Nawaz Sharif to bring both the parties closer," said an official.

Muqrin had played an important role in Sharif's exile to Saudi Arabia when former military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999 and again when Sharif attempted to return to Pakistan in September 2007.

Officials said that Muqrin has been specially invited by Zardari to discuss the relationship with India and a possible rapprochement with Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Sharif pulled out from the coalition government led by Zardari's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after differences over the restoration of the Supreme Court judges who were sacked by Musharraf.

Muqrin will also attend a reception hosted by Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Ali Awadh Al-Asseri in his honour. Key political leaders would also attend the reception.

Muqrin had visited Pakistan last August ostensibly to broker a deal between Musharraf and the government that was threatening to impeach the former president. Musharraf had subsequently stepped down.

Heavy Clashes in Gaza City,
60 Targets Struck From the Air


Gaza/Tel Aviv
Israeli soldiers fought heavy battles with militants early Tuesday as ground troops on Gaza City's outskirts pushed deeper into a southern neighborhood.

Israeli fighter jets and helicopters also carried out dozens more attacks during the night, most of them as they were providing air support to the ground troops against Palestinian militants confronting them, a military spokesman in Tel Aviv said.

A total of 60 targets were struck, including more smuggling tunnels and a hotel in the north of the Strip in which militants had gathered and were planning to carry out a shooting against the ground troops, he said.

The fighting around Gaza City intensified, as international efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the Gaza crisis continued.

The UN Security Council - whose resolution of Thursday calling for an immediate ceasefire has thus far not been heeded - was scheduled to meet again in New York Tuesday.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was also set to travel to the region Tuesday for direct talks with the parties. He was scheduled to make stops in Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria and Kuwait.

Ismail Haniya of Hamas, the de-facto prime minister in Gaza, emerged in a pre-recorded televised address from his hide-out for the second time since Israel's Gaza offensive began Dec 27, saying his movement was willing to cooperate on any initiative that would "end the aggression against our people".

He mentioned an Israeli withdrawal and the full opening of border crossings as conditions. Gaza will not break and "victory" is near, Haniya vowed.

His movement and other militant factions continued their attacks against Israel, firing some 20 rockets Monday. The Palestinian toll of the offensive - launched to end more than seven years of such rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza at southern Israel - stands at at least 919 killed and more than 4,300 wounded. Thirteen Israelis have been killed.

Army dismisses reports of Pak build-up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13
The Army today rubbished reports of Pakistan’s military build-up along the borders, saying presence of the neighbouring country’s troops seemed like routine exercise, while asserting that it was always ready to tackle any eventuality.

It also claimed that the infiltration from across the border with Pakistan had gone down every year since 2005.

“It only seems like routine movements and exercise-related relocation of troops by Pakistan and not a build-up, but we are always ready for any situation,” Army’s western commander Lt-Gen T K Sapru told reporters here after an investiture parade.

He said infiltration from across the border had gone down since 2005-06 when he was a corps commander in Jammu and Kashmir. Sapru had, before becoming an Army commander, headed the Nagrota-based 16 corps posted near Jammu.

Infiltration has in the last two or three years come down considerably. Perhaps, after 2005-06, it has come down from 400 to 20/30 in a year, he said.

Earlier, Sapru presented gallantry medals, decorations and service medals to about 50 Army officers at the investiture ceremony after reviewing the parade in which the Army exhibited its might with T-90 tanks, Brahmos cruise missiles, OSA-AK air defence guns and a march past by special forces and troops.

Security Council to meet on Gaza today


AFP/ PTI / United Nations January 13, 2009, 10:36 IST


The Security Council is to hold closed-door consultations today on UN chief Ban Ki-moon's upcoming trip to the Middle East to press for a Gaza ceasefire, diplomats said.

Ahmed Gebreel, a spokesman for Libya's UN mission yesterday said the 15-member council would meet at 2030 IST Tuesday.

Ban "is traveling to the region and he wants to brief the council on his visit," the Libyan diplomat added.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the council's meeting today.

Earlier today, Ban told a press conference that he would leave for a week-long tour of Egypt, Israel, the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Kuwait, where he was to attend an Arab League summit next Monday.

'A strike against training camps is certainly viable'

January 13, 2009

Dr Gary Samore, vice president and director of studies at the New York-based think tank Council on Foreign Relations, believes the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai has brought South Asia front and centre as the most crucial foreign policy challenge for the incoming administration of US President-elect Barack Obama.

Dr Samore feels a certain immediate connection to the attacks: He, along with wife Paula and daughter Kate, were at the Taj Mahal hotel when it was attacked on the night of November 26, and believes he and his family were lucky to escape.

The former senior US National Security Council staffer during the Clinton administration and long time US State Department official told Rediff India Abroad's Aziz Haniffa that it would be a mistake for Obama to appoint a special envoy for South Asia.

Have the Mumbai attacks of November 26 changed the foreign policy template for incoming President Barack Obama, do you think?

Even before the attacks, there was a lot of focus on the Afghanistan-Pakistan issue. The attacks have now expanded that concern, and one of the big issues for the next administration is how to manage South Asia. There is some talk about appointing a special envoy who will be responsible for all of South Asia, including India, and Richard Holbrooke is the person that's usually mentioned.

I think that is a mistake; I think that will lead us back into the old thinking about India and Pakistan. It seems to me there are a lot of difficult issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is all one problem, but trying to roll India up into that is going to make things complicated and will not necessarily help matters, because it immediately raises the issue of Kashmir.

India has reacted strongly to statements by Obama suggesting a special envoy to help resolve the Kashmir dispute.

Exactly. We all want a solution to Kashmir, but we don't want those terrorist attacks to be seen as responsible for pressure on India and Pakistan to resolve Kashmir because that only encourages more attacks. I am not an expert, but it seems to be there are some interesting things happening in Kashmir anyway with the elections, and there seems to be a shift away from violence toward using more democratic means, and obviously that's something that everybody wants to encourage.

NSG commandos to participate in R-Day parade

PTI | January 13, 2009 | 15:33 IST

The 'heroes of Mumbai' will be a major attraction at the Republic Day parade this year, with the National Security Guard sending a contingent to join other uniformed services to march on Rajpath for the first time in its history.

"The NSG will be sending its marching contingent to the parade for the first time this year in its nearly 25-year history. And this invitation comes in recognition of the service they rendered during the Mumbai terror strikes on November 26 last year," a defence ministry source told PTI on Tuesday.

Earlier, the NSG's role during the Republic Day parade was limited only to providing security cover to the contingents and the VVIPs present there.

Since its raising in 1984, NSG has been tasked to carry out anti-terrorist operations and to protect India's top political leadership.

The government is likely to honour 14 security personnel from the recommended names with top gallantry medals this year, sources said.

"Nine personnel are likely to be awarded the Ashok Chakra and five others, the Shaurya Chakra and Kirti Chakra," sources said.

Most of the personnel nominated for the gallantry medals participated in the 26/11 Mumbai operations, including the three senior police officers who died during the terrorist gunfire, sources added.

No troop build-up by Pakistan: Army

PTI | January 13, 2009 | 15:31 IST

The Indian Army today dismissed reports of Pakistan's military build-up along the borders, saying presence of the neighbouring country's troops seemed like routine exercises, but asserted it is always ready to tackle any eventuality.

It also claimed that the infiltration from across the border with Pakistan had gone down every year since 2005.

"It only seems like routine movements and exercise-related relocation of troops by Pakistan and not a build-up. But we are always ready for any situation," Army's Western Commander Lt-Gen T K Sapru told reporters here after an investiture parade.

Sapru said infiltration from across the border had gone down since 2005-06 when he was a corps commander in Jammu and Kashmir. Sapru had, before becoming an army commander, headed the Nagrota-based 16 Corps posted near Jammu.

"Infiltration has in the last two or three years come down considerably. Perhaps, after 2005-06, it has come down from 400 to 20/30 in a year," he said.

Earlier, Sapru presented gallantry medals, decorations and service medals to about 50 army officers at the investiture ceremony after reviewing the parade in which the army exhibited its might with T-90 tanks, BrahMos cruise missiles, OSA-AK air defence guns and a march past by Special Forces and troops.

Chidambaram meets chiefs of Army, NSG

PTI | January 13, 2009 | 15:14 IST

In an attempt to kickstart the process of setting up National Security Guard hubs in the country in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday discussed the matter with Army and NSG Chiefs. During the hour-long meeting, Chidambaram sought assistance from the army to operationalise the hubs in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad in the first phase, Home Ministry sources said.

He also discussed provision of trained anti-terrorist forces by the defence forces for cities like Bangalore, which will not have such a hub in the first list. Chidambaram has said that certain cities will be covered by a trained anti-terrorist force provided by defence forces -- for example Bangalore will be covered by the Army. Indian Army's Parachute Regiment's headquarters is in Bangalore and has seven Special Forces battalions under its command.

These SF troops are deployed to carry out actions against terrorists in the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir. In the course of time, more NSG hubs will be set up in different parts of the country and ultimately there will be a hub in virtually every state capital, the Home Minister has said.

Till then, states have been asked to raise and deploy their own anti-terrorist forces and the Centre has promised to help them.

Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and NSG Chief J K Dutt were accompanied by their senior officials. Sources said General Kapoor spoke of shortage of hands to help in setting up such hubs.

Woman power behind navy's new training centre

PTI | January 13, 2009 | 13:23 IST

For 60-year-old Chandigarh-based architect Namita Singh, designing the structure for the Ezhimala naval academy, India's premier naval officers' training centre, was a challenging task. But the toil was worth it, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh commissioned the establishment on January 8.

"I feel quite elated and proud of myself and my team of engineers to be part of the nation's endeavour to build Asia's biggest academy at Ezhimala, as the entire design has been evolved considering the site's natural features," a beaming Namita Singh told PTI in an interview in Kannur, Kerala.

Terming the work at the academy as "most complex", Namita Singh said she took up the challenging assignment a decade ago and "it essentially is a beautiful and dream site to work on".

The sprawling academy project, including a host of building complexes, roads and other trunk services like waterpipe laying, street lights, hospitals and Olympic standard swimming pool, were meticulously designed in such a manner that works and materials were suited to the humid and saline weather of the coastal belt, she said.

The imposing main building complex is located at a height so that it is visible in the entire area, she said.

Namita, who runs the Chandigarh-based Satnam Namita and Associates, was chosen through complex design tests by a panel appointed by the defence ministry and secured the job of designing the academy costing over Rs 720 crore.

The academy is surrounded by hills, backwaters and flanked by the Arabian Sea and spread over a 2,452 acres of land.

The task before Namita Singh was to design a building complex without disturbing the serene environment.

While the flora and fauna have been kept intact, a large area of forest cover is still left untouched, she said.

Namita Singh, a visiting professor with the Chandigarh College of Architecture in the early 1980s, prepared a model of the 2,452 acre land before designing various projects within the sprawling academy.

"Before commencing work, our team paid a private visit to Indonesia and Thailand to get first hand information about the design of modern buildings including five-star hotels in coastal cities in those nations," she said.

Aptly making use of materials like stones retrieved while digging, Namita Singh took into account the humid and salty moisture content along the coastal belt and used items like ceramic coated tiles and special paintings and metals resistant to corrosion.

"We used locally available granite and laterite building materials to prevent the main buildings from getting spoilt due to salty air blowing in from the sea. However, the use of costly items was limited to selected buildings, to ensure that the project cost did not rise beyond the estimated cost," she said.

Interestingly, various accommodations built on the hilly slope were planned in such a way that each house built on tier system had separate space for garden. Dedicated efforts were also made to ensure ventilation, thereby avoiding the need for going in for cost effective air-conditioners.

For Namita Singh, it could have been the proudest moment of her 38-year-long career as the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sureesh Mehta specially mentioned her while lauding the efforts of various persons and agencies involved in developing the exceptional project.

Bids received for towed, light howitzers; trials in February

January 13th, 2009 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS #

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) In a development that would push the Indian Army’s decade-old modernization plan of its artillery, overseas vendors have submitted bids for 180 155mm/52 caliber towed and light howitzers and the trials are expected to commence in February or March, a senior official said Tuesday.The defence ministry had issued the request for proposals (RFPs) for three variants of the howitzers - light, wheeled and self-propelled - a year ago.

“The procurement process for the towed and light howitzer is proceeding as planned. Bids have been received from all the vendors and trials of the guns are planned in February or March,” the senior army official told IANS.

The bids for the 120 self-propelled howitzers are due in February. The entire deal is valued at $2 billion.

“The trials for self-propelled howitzers are planned in May-June,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The eventual contract is to include transfer of technology to build the howitzers in India.

The army is seeking to purchase some 400 pieces of the 155mm/52 calibre howitzer to ramp up depleting stocks of a similar number of guns it had bought from Swedish manufacturer Bofors in the mid-1980s.

“Of these, 140 will be light howitzers that will be spread over seven regiments. Because of advances in metallurgy, this version, as its name implies will be lighter while performing the same as the other two versions,” another officer explained.

The remaining guns will be of the towed and self-propelled variants.

That original deal had been mired in controversy over allegations that Bofors had paid Rs.640 million ($16 million) in bribes to secure the order. The army’s inventory has now dwindled to some 200 guns due to wear and tear.

The Supreme Court has absolved all those accused in the case but the Bofors taint continues, even though the gun has come out on top in a series of field trials held over the past few years. The last of these was in the icy heights of Leh in November 2006.

The fresh tendering has been necessitated as Defence Minister A.K. Antony is said to have asked for the selection process to be made more broad-based as only the Bofors gun remained in contention after the other two were eliminated.

The Israeli Soltam fell out of the race after its barrel repeatedly burst during field trials, while a third gun, the South African Denel, was dropped after the Indian government accused the manufacturer of corruption in another defence deal.

The Bofors gun with its ’shoot and scoot’ capability had proved its mettle during the 1999 Kargil operation when the army went into action to evict Pakistani infiltrators from the Himalayan heights.

Even before the army had publicly acknowledged the utility of the gun in 1998, the government of then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had reopened negotiations for the purchase of additional Bofors guns.

The return to power of the Congress in 2004 changed the complexion of the issue because it was during late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s time that the original deal was negotiated. The Congress, in fact, had been voted out of power in 1989 on the Bofors issue

How far is the War?

Tanveer Jafri

January 13, 2009

The war clouds seem overcasting the two nuclear equipped countries India and Pakistan. It all started between two big giants of Asia after the terror attacks of nuclear 26, 2008 on Mumbai. This is not a mere blame that persons who attacked Bombay were Pakistani. It is true and is being accepted by America, Britain, many prominent leaders of Pakistan and even by some media agencies that the only arrested person in Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Amir Qasab, who was arrested by Indian security agencies on 26th November is a citizen of Pakistan. Ajmal himself has pleaded that he is a Pakistani national and has given arguments in its favour to Pak embassy in India and has asked from Pakistan for legal help too. But it is a matter of sorrow that the government of Pakistan is trying to create a situation of tension by basing its arguments on false facts instead of following the truth. The misfortunate circumstances that arose at the time of 2001, attack on Indian parliament have again come to the forefront.

Now the world is anxiously watching the situation arising between India and Pakistan. The circumstances are deteriorating fast and there may be a burst in the form of war. Indian foreign Minister Parnab Mukharji is repeating it again and again that all the options for dealing with Pakistan are open before India. Indian defense minister has also asked the Indian army to be on alert. It is said that there is a hint from even the high ranking military officers of India that Indian army is ready. Indian military chief has visited the Indo-Pak borders Siachin area too. There are also talks- that Pakistan is ready for self defence. Even Pakistan has started dumping his army on Gujrat and Rajasthan border. But despite all these there is no big movement of armies from Indin side on the border. It all shows that repeating of Indian foreign minister that all options are open does not mean the military action but it is to put more international pressure on Pakistan and demand from United Nation and UNSC to put some new sanctions on Pakistan.

One thing that gives satisfaction on the tense atmosphere between the two countries is that both the countries are feeling that the main aim of the terrorists is to obstruct the peace talks going on between the two countries. Firstly the terrorists aimed at many holy places in India. Their main aim was to increase the communal tension to the extent that may result in communal riots. But the roots of communal harmony in India are so deep that the terrorists could not succeed in their aim. People of India saw the unholy deeds and attack of the foreigner terrorists on the ancient, historical sacred places in India. After that these enemies of humanity aimed at the markets full of rush. These persons of devil nature many times aimed at the innocent and unarmed people who were busy in purchasing on the eves of holy festivals such as Eid and Deepawali. But bravo for the Indian society, that has limitless toleration power. It was not moved by the terrorist deeds and did not become aggressive but went on finding the short coming in its security measures.

The world witnessed the attacks of the foreigner on one side and on the other side there were attempts between India and Pakistan to improve and sweeten the bondage at the administrative level. But on December13, 2001, the toleration overwhelmed when the terrorists trained in Pakistan and having Pak citizenship attacked the Indian Parliament. At that time, too, Pakistan refused to accept that the killed terrorists who attacked the Indian Parliament were pakistanies. As a result of it, the circumstances deteriorated so much that both the countries called back their ambassadors. The means of transport were closed between the two countries. Even the armies of both the sides were ready to face each other. But the war did not break out because of the international interference and deep understanding of leaders of the both countries. And so armies were called back in the barracks.



Since that incident, the circumstances in the world especially in south Asia have changed a lot. After the attack of 9/11, America has declared war against terrorism. Under this mission, to finish the Talibani terrorism, the American armies entered Afghanistan. Pakistan is the main associate of America, in this mission of America to end terrorism. The America and Pakistan's armies are jointly trying to end the Taliban's control in the tribal area on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. During these circumstances, the terrorists came from the soil of Pakistan and attacked Mumbai in such a way that has shocked the pride of the Indians. The anger that came in the Indian people, because of Mumbai attacks can be imagined that because of it, Indian home minister, the chief minister of Maharashtra and its home minister have to leave their chairs. After the Mumbai attacks, now India is not in favour of allowing any terrorist to do its nefarious activity on the soil of India. The Indian government is taking steps to save the country from any such attacks in future. For it the modernization of security agencies, the change in the cabinet and change of the chief minister of Maharashtra and even new laws to control the terrorism have been adopted

On the other side, the circumstances in Pakistan are also pitiable. The terrorist network that grew and got nourishment in Pakistan has taken Pakistan in its whirlpool. The killing of Benazir Bhutto, the dangerous attacks on former president Pervez Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif, operation lal masjid, the damaging of Meriot hotel by a suicide vehicle, the attack on Denmark embassy and arrest of many armed terrorists in Pakistan are proofs that the terrorism has strong hold on the soil of Pakistan and perhaps it is beyond its control. That is why the rulers in Pakistan repeat it again and again in reply to Indian accusation that Pakistan itself has been badly affected by terrorism.

The analyst who analyses the terrorism say that now the main motive of the terrorists is to increase the tension between India and Pakistan to the extent to bring both the countries in war and to leave the peace talks going in between them. The sources say that if Pakistan has to open the war at the Indian border its armies may have to come on the Indian border. There may be two options for Pak army. One is that Pak army will stay at both places. One is the tribal areas of Afghan-Pak border and the second is the Indian border. If it leaves the American army alone in the tribal area at Afghanistan border that too will not be good for American army. In all these circumastances all the terrorists in Pakistan may make a joint move to control the nuclear weapons present in Pak. Obviously, both Pakistan and America and even the whole world know it well.

So the conclusion is the meaning of the all options for India is open is probably there will not be war. Because the war will help the terrorists to fulfill the desire that India does not want. One thing is clear the terrorism has taken its roots deep in Pakistan. If its network is not uprooted at the earliest may be with or without the help of America. It will be prove as a sinus. The terrorist can adopt any mean or wicked level to harm Pakistan. As there happened, that Pakistan had a narrow escape as it was going to be declared a terrorist country. As a good neighbors India also wishes peace and prosperous future for Pakistan. But it is necessary that the terrorist network there must me destroyed at the earliest

This is a complaint and the reply to USAF jets flying low over a mall in Phoenix, AZ, USA.

Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization who complain about the noise from the base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were.

Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB actually wrote to the local paper complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.

The complaint:

'Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base: Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune!
Does the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special? Any response would be appreciated' .

The response:

Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets'. On June 15, at precisely 9:12 A.M., a perfectly timed four- ship fly by of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques.

Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At 9 A.M. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured.

A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom.

We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show?' The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you . . . Jesus Christ and the American Servicemen and Women of the U.S. armed services.. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.
USAF

1 comment:

  1. There are very few cities in India that can boost of a rich legacy and unique and exciting diversity as that of Hyderabad. Be it the fascinating and captivating forts and ancient monuments, the inimitable existence of the age old culture of the Nawabs, the delicious and mouth watering Hyderabadi cuisine, or the new born hard core business aspect, every facet of this city is a persona in itself. Emerging like a phoenix as the next big thing in the Indian business circle, the hotels in Hyderabad have also upgraded to compete with any international hotel on a given day. Most of the premium Hyderabad hotels have all the standard business features although there are exclusive Business hotels in Hyderabad nowadays and the number is ever increasing. Recently the Andhra Pradesh government gave the 24-hour liquor license to the four star, five star and the five-star deluxe hotels in Hyderabad. This step has brought the Hyderabad hotels nearer to the standards of the international hotels.

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