Friday, October 21, 2011

Here's one former Pan Am employee who is also glad Gadhafi is dead.

From WorldNet Daily News:
NEW YORK – Just two months short of the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, the man who many believed ordered the mass executions was himself killed outside his hometown in Libya today.
Moammar Gadhafi was reported to have been slain outside his birthplace of Sirte by rebels who overran one of the last cities not controlled by the new transitional government.
For the families of Pan Am 103, the death of the mercurial Libyan strongman meant some closure can finally begin on one of the worst terrorist attacks of the 20th century. The bombing left a total of 270 killed: 259 on board the Pan Am flight and 11 on the ground.
As a former employee of Pan Am, I also welcomed the death of Moammar Gadhafi. The bombing of Pan Am flight 103 took place just three years before the airline went out of business. The ensuing investigation had pointed out some security flaws at the Frankfurt, Germany base that may have allowed the Libyan terrorist's bomb to be placed on board the airplane. The horrific consequences of that terrorist act set the stage for a downward spiral that Pan Am was never able to recover from. I worked for Pan Am in New York City at JFK International Airport for the last 30 years of its existence, from 1962 to 1991 and I saw first hand the later part of the history of the "world's most experienced airline". The same airline that pioneered air travel, built airports in South America and across the Pacific and "taught the world how to fly".
Certificate given to passengers crossing the Equator. Click to enlarge.
Throughout most of the history of Pan Am the airline was a symbol of the United States of America and because of that it was a favorite target for every would-be terrorist and hijacker who had a grievance against America. In 1948 the Soviet Union had cut off food and fuel to the American sector of West Berlin and Pan American World Airways flew those needed supplies into West Berlin during the Berlin Airlift. During its later years several Pan Am aircraft were either hijacked or blown up by Middle Eastern terrorist groups. During the Vietnam War, Pam Am provided the R & R (Rest and Recreation) flights for American troops between Saigon and Tokyo. A Pan Am L-1011 was the last flight out of Saigon that evacuated children and personnel just before the city was overrun.
In 1976, prior to airline de-regulation, Pan Am employees opposed government rule that kept airline from serving US cities. 
During the Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), more than a dozen of Pan Am's fleet of B-747s were called into service to participate in sending military equipment to Saudi Arabia as part of the CRAF program. The Civil Reserve Air Fleet is part of the United States's mobility resources. Selected aircraft from U.S. airlines, contractually committed to Civil Reserve Air Fleet, support United States Department of Defense airlift requirements in emergencies when the need for airlift exceeds the capability of military aircraft. That war effort contributed to Pan Am's loss of revenue due to the cancellation of many passenger flights because of equipment shortages. Eight months later the company shut down forever.
Pan Am may be one airline out of many that no longer flies but it is surely one that is not forgotten. I am so grateful that those who helped bring it down have finally paid the ultimate price for their crimes.

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