July 12, 2017 10:35:49 AM
The crash of a military transport plane that claimed the lives of 16 servicemen in Leflore County on Tuesday is a tragic reminder not only of the sacrifice our military is called to make, but that what we often take for granted represents a genuine risk.
As is often the case, when word of the crash began to circulate, our first thoughts turned immediately to Columbus Air Force Base, which has been training pilots for more than 75 years now.
Although the crash was not related to CAFB -- the transport plane was carrying personnel and equipment from North Carolina to a training site in the western U.S. -- we naturally find a lump in our throats whenever there is news of such a crash, especially if it occurs in Mississippi.
Every day, young pilots in training fly over our community and we have grown so accustomed to the sight that we seldom, if ever, consider the prospects for tragedy.
Our comfort is an outgrowth of CAFB's impressive safety record. It is a reflection of the talented young men and women who train here, the expertise of their trainers and the dedication to maintaining the aircraft in meticulous condition.
If this training is considered a routine part of life in our community, it is because of CAFB's exemplary performance.
Even so, there is always potential for disaster such as the one we witnessed Tuesday.
Today, we hold the families of those 15 Marines and one Navy corpsman in our hearts. We stand in awe of their sacrifice and are mindful of the debt of gratitude we owe to all who serve.
We also are reminded that these "routine" training flights we have grown so accustomed to are not entirely without risks.
Today, and in the days to come, when we see those CAFB pilots in the skies over our community, it seems only right that we pause for a moment and recognize their service and the sacrifice they stand ready to make.
Some things are easy to take for granted. The important work performed by our servicemen and civilian workers at CAFB should not be obscured by their expert performances.
We grieve for the loss those families and our nation has suffered, and are thankful for the service our military provides.
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