Air Guard denied request to fly over Pearl Harbor
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The missing man flyover at Pearl Harbor is a tradition USS Arizona and National Park Service historian Daniel Martinez has witnessed every December 7 since 1985.
"When you see that aircraft apart in that missing man formation, every one of us individualize what that means," he said.
But that emotion won't be there this year. The F-22 Raptors piloted by the Hawaii Air National Guard are under orders not to perform.
"There have been restrictions on all kinds of flyovers across the country. We were not able to get an exception of policy to do this one," Hawaii National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony said.
Pearl Harbor survivors are understandably upset.
"I'm totally disgusted. The one day of the year when we're honoring our military from World War II," said retired U.S. Army Sgt. Allen Bodenlos.
"Every year I watch for the flight. I have those flights on the camera. To not see a flyover, I can't imagine," said Delton Walling, who was aboard the USS Pennsylvania when Japan attacked in 1941.
Anthony had hoped the Secretary of the Air Force would let the Guard do the flyover since the F-22's will already be in the air flying a $70,000 training exercise. Adding the flyover would have added some cost.
"There's so much money being spent for other things. I think this is very important. I don't see the reason why we can't spend the money for it," Ohio resident Nancy Wolverton said.
In place of the fighter jets, two vintage training aircraft from World War II will soar above Pearl Harbor in a fly by. Veterans agree at least it's something.
"They're honoring the vets and that'll be great," Walling said.
"That I'll enjoy," said Bodenlos.
"We recognize that at this point it doesn't look like this is going to change anytime soon, and these vets deserve better than what we're giving them right now. So we're going to do a better job, hopefully for you next year," vintage aircraft pilot Harry Greene said.
The Air Guard hopes it will have the honor back next December 7. Right now it doesn't look good.
"My understanding is that the Air Force has not approved any exceptions to policy since sequestration kicked in," Anthony said.
Until Washington gives the thumbs up, missing man flyovers over Hawaii skies will be a thing of the past.
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