The loss of a great leader
On behalf of and from the Army Aviation Association of America and Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association in Hawaii, we extend our sincere condolences for the loss of the Black Hawk helicopter on Jan. 2. As helicopter pilots, we share the grief caused by such accidents.
Please convey our thoughts to the families of those who died, those who were injured, the military officers and service members of the Republic of China, and to the people of Taiwan. You lost a great leader in the death of Chief of the General Staff General Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴) in that crash.
Fifty years ago, our nations served side by side in Vietnam. We have a long history of standing with you in peace, in conflict and in disaster.
At Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, the story of the American Volunteer Group and Colonel Claire Chennault forming the Flying Tigers is remembered as another group of aviation pilots who fought side by side with you for freedom. We pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives so that others could enjoy our way of life — government by the people, for the people.
I met Shen several times when he visited Hawaii as the commander of your air force, and I personally share your admiration for this leader and your loss.
Please express our regards with the families, your government and your people as you lay these heroes to rest.
We pray for Shen, the pilots and crew of the Black Hawk helicopter, and those who lost their lives in the crash. We pray for the well-being of the people of the Republic of China, and we hope always that one day we will enjoy peace on this Earth. Until that time, we will stand strong with you in defending our democracies and our freedom.
Kenneth H. DeHoff Jr., Executive director emeritus Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor
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