Missing US Pilot in Italy

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mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 30, 2013 - 08:55am PT
http://www.modbee.com/2013/01/29/2553700/twain-harte-air-force-pilot-missing.html

Luc is a close friend of my climbing mentor who lives in KC.

He is a Twaine Hart local and is expecting his first child very soon.

Wishing the best here.

Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 30, 2013 - 08:57am PT
Heres to the RESCUE of him, hopefully SOON!
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 30, 2013 - 08:59am PT
Prayers that he is found alive and well with just a good story to tell.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Jan 30, 2013 - 09:27am PT
ah hell,
hoping for a safe ejection
and rescue.

regards.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 30, 2013 - 09:50am PT
terrible news--

at least they know the general crash site
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 30, 2013 - 10:03am PT
The pilot, Luc, has been my friend and climbing partner since 1999, his senior year in high school. We met when he asked me to mentor his high school senior exit project (the project was establishing a new rock climb). I am almost exactly 20 years older than him. Now we climb together whenever we can.

I could type paragraphs about what a fine young man he is. About how wonderful he is to climb and to hang out with. About how much my wife and daughters have always loved Luc and his wife Cassy (they were high school sweethearts).

I last saw him at he and his wife's baby shower near Christmas. He is so looking forward to being a dad. Their daughter is due in about one month.

If he doesn't come out of this, then the world is a totally, totally f#%ked place.

I don't pray. If any of you do, then please do it now. As hard as you can.
QITNL

climber
Jan 30, 2013 - 10:14am PT
Hang in there, Brad. Thanks for the heads up, Mucci.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 30, 2013 - 10:16am PT
Will do Mtnyoung..
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 30, 2013 - 11:47am PT
Hey Brad, I remembered your connection to Luc.

He is in many prayers, all across america right now.


mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 30, 2013 - 12:02pm PT
Josh,

Our whole town is on edge about this. Luc and his family are well loved here. From the teachers and the students at the high school to our local news people, to anyone talking in town, everyone is hoping beyond hope that this turns out well My wife is checking Facebook a few times an hour. I'm clicking "renew" on the Aviano airbase home page every 15 minutes just hoping for good news. My older daughter has asked a me a few times now what I think. It's hard to even talk to her about it.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Jan 30, 2013 - 12:32pm PT
Positive thoughts being sent on so many fronts.


I truly hope he's just chillin in a life boat waiting for the pick up.


Amazing guy with a good eye for photos too.

mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 30, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
From a posting on Facebook:

" we have good evidence now that Lucas was able to eject from his jet. He has really good survival gear on including a special suit and raft. He has food, water, even fishing hooks! Now we need to find him! There are hundreds of people looking for him, the Italians and US Air Force and Navy have been awesome!!!!"

The weather in the Adriatic Sea has been awful, including dense fog. There is hope.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 30, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
Big sea takes time.. He is out there waiting patiently, as trained.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Jan 30, 2013 - 02:29pm PT
Thx Brad
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 30, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Here's hoping his ejection was within limits and went as well as possible.

He's had good training about how to deal with that chute, seat kit, raft, signals and so on.

There's some damn good PJ's on the case too, along with the host.

Fingers crossed. Drive on Air Force.


Hmmmm, didn't even realize he's been missing since Monday. Cold out there.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 30, 2013 - 03:47pm PT
Here's a link to an article on the Aviano airbase web site that tells a lot about Luc and his family, and about the status of the rescue efforts:

http://www.aviano.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123334491

graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Jan 30, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
From mtnyoung's link:

"Luc is a self-reliant outdoorsmen who would sleep every night under the stars if he could," Cassy added. "He's a sky diver, he's a rock climber and he's a certified scuba diver. He is also a health nut and in great shape."
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 30, 2013 - 06:00pm PT
Still hoping for good news. At least no one was shooting at him.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 30, 2013 - 06:02pm PT
From a posting on Facebook:

" we have good evidence now that Lucas was able to eject from his jet. He has really good survival gear on including a special suit and raft. He has food, water, even fishing hooks! Now we need to find him! There are hundreds of people looking for him, the Italians and US Air Force and Navy have been awesome!!!!"

The weather in the Adriatic Sea has been awful, including dense fog. There is hope.

Now that is excellent news..

I feel like he has a damn fine chance
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:22am PT
It appears that the Italian Coast Guard has found his body.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:24am PT
Dammit...Condolences to all the friends and family- was so hoping for a positive outcome..
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Sebastopol
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:31am PT
Big hug to you and your family Brad.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:37am PT
Ah Brad, I wish there were words......

DMT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:40am PT
My sincere condolences.....he was serving his country and from all that i have read it appears that he was an exceptional human being.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:56am PT
Heartbreak


Susan
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:58am PT
He truly was exceptional. Luc made me realize that the generation after mine was a better set of people in many ways. More aware of the world, more understanding of others, and kinder to other human beings. Smarter and stronger too.

This photo of Luc was taken at the top of Lone Pine Peak (obviously, I'm the one with a shirt on):




He was so strong, so careful and so utterly competent. I can't even start to imagine what went wrong.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:15am PT
So sorry. If he ejected, it's most likely there was a mechanical malfunction. Sometimes competence isn't enough, and accidents just happen.
Flying those jets is a dangerous profession. Every year dedicated pilots who defend our nation and our interests abroad don't make it back.
It never gets any easier and saying they're heroes sounds very hollow right now, but in time, his family and friends will be able to take consolation from that.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:29am PT
GDAVIS,,,better rethink that one bud..
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:32am PT
Ahh crap.....

I am so sorry about your friend.
Anastasia

climber
InLOVEwithAris.
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:36am PT
My deepest condolences to all his friends, family, and his town. I can't imagine facing my life with my baby Aristides without Bill. I can't imagine his wife's pain and suffering. May the child be born healthy and easily. May she find her way so even though she will ALWAYS miss him, that she will find the balance and feel strength and joy for knowing him.

Anastasia
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:55am PT
rwedgee

Ice climber
canyon country,CA
Jan 31, 2013 - 08:59am PT
I am so sorry.
mrtropy

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:00am PT
Very sorry to hear that Brad. I am sure it has hit your small community very hard. Condolences to all.....

Jeff
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 31, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Very sorry for this outcome.

Best regards to his family and close friends.

Untimely.

Josh.
Jason Torlano

Social climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:09am PT
Sorry for your lost. "Lest we forget the fallen soldiers of yesterday"
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:20am PT
Credit: Sierra Ledge Rat
10b4me

Boulder climber
Somewhere on 395
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:25am PT
Condolences to friends and family
klk

Trad climber
cali
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:43am PT
awful news.

big blow to the entire community.

condolences
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 31, 2013 - 09:52am PT
Very very sorry to read this.

All of our condolences to Luc's family and friends.

The climbing world is less, and the US Air Force is less today.

Salute.


Credit: survival







Credit: survival
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 31, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jan 31, 2013 - 10:42am PT
My deepest condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of this amazing patriot.

Soar on, Luc....
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
Jan 31, 2013 - 11:23am PT
That's a sad tale.

Condolences to his family and friends, especially his child and widow.


labrat

Trad climber
Nevada City, CA
Jan 31, 2013 - 11:35am PT
:-( Sad news. RIP
Michelle

Social climber
Toshi's Station, picking up power converters.
Jan 31, 2013 - 11:39am PT
I've been in semi shock since this went down and I immediately thought of you Brad. Big loss for Twain Harte and the world. My thoughts are with his family and the many people I know at home struggling with this loss.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:18pm PT
After Luc and I had been climbing together for a while he told me he wanted to do some longer routes in the High Sierra. We did a few such routes before he left for the Air Force Academy and one during a summer when he was home.

He was an incredibly strong climber and in good cardio/hiking shape too.

Our first longer climb was The Nevabe Ridge on Mount Morgan North. This route is only class three, but it's a long, long ridge with a lot of elevation gain.

We started fairly early, each carrying our own day packs. I'm strong, and by that point I'd done well over one hundred High Sierra routes. I hiked steeply uphill toward the actual ridge. Luc meanwhile hiked a little ahead. He was very strong, and 20 years younger than me.

As we sometimes did, the two of us exchanged some well meaning banter during the day. For the first hour or so Luc stayed ahead of me. He'd periodically stop to shout back: "are you OK old man?" And, "are you going to make it ?" I assured Luc that I'd make the summit, but that I'd do so at my own pace.

After the first hour of hiking Luc slowed noticeably. I kept up my normal, "all day" pace. Soon I was waiting for him. I didn't say anything, I just waited. After a few hours he was really lagging; this was his first time ever at these altitudes, and he lacked experience and obviously hadn't paced himself.

Finally, when the summit was in sight, I told Luc that I was going to continue at my pace and that I'd wait for him there. I went ahead, and when I arrived, I ate lunch. It was 15 minutes before Luc arrived.

He was amazed at the views; this was really his first time in the high mountains. I said nothing more about having to wait for him. Obviously, he'd stopped with the "old man" comments long before. We descended to the car by mid-afternoon.

Point made.

A year later we did the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. We roped up for some of this, but did most of it without gear. Even after we untied, we stayed fairly close to each other for the majority of the climb. It was obvious that Luc was pacing himself, now smarter and more experienced up high.

However, as Lone Pine's summit came into view, Luc quietly picked up his pace (on class two terrain by now). Did I mention how strong he was? He gradually pulled ahead of me toward the summit. He then waited for me there for 15 minutes. After I arrived he never said a word about his wait.

Counter-point made.

We spent the rest of that Lone Pine trip cragging on the east side.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:25pm PT
Military aviation is very dangerous even peacetime.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:28pm PT
rest well Luc
notburcheyLOL

Boulder climber
Jan 31, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/31/world/europe/italy-missing-jet/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

It's nice that they chose a picture of him on a climb for this story.

It's amazing how you can never meet a person, but reading personal stories and learning of their loss can really get at you. I'm sure there are several reasons for this.

Rips the heart to think about a guy like this passing and leaving behind a wife and little girl that will never know her dad. So sad.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jan 31, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
Bump for THE most significant thread on the site right now....

Rest in peace, Luc.....
SalNichols

Big Wall climber
Richmond, CA
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:06pm PT
I spent most of my adult life working to make sure that these kids came home on their own two feet, so events like this break my heart. My deepest condolences to all of you, family and friends, that knew Luc.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:26pm PT
I'm so sorry.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
Jan 31, 2013 - 07:30pm PT
What a tragic loss.
Norwegian

Trad climber
Pollock Pines, California
Feb 1, 2013 - 04:06am PT
a sad situation.
i extend my respect to him
and my sympathies to
those whom are struggling thru
this.
scuffy b

climber
heading slowly NNW
Feb 1, 2013 - 09:28am PT
I'm so sorry, Brad. Best wishes to you and your families.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 1, 2013 - 09:45am PT
Our first longer climb was The Nevabe Ridge

great first long day for a fit n00b

sounds like a great time. nice memories
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Feb 1, 2013 - 10:18am PT
The Air Force has announced that Luc is being promoted - posthumously - from captain to major.

I still remember the weeks after he finished flight school almost ten years ago. Like any new military pilot Luc had hoped for an assignment to fly fighters. Instead he was asked to stay behind and become an instructor at the flight school itself. Although he understood what an extreme compliment this was - a judgment even that he had the maturity, expertise and people skills to immediately become a teacher - he was still a little disappointed.

He eventually got his assignment to fighters.

When he did his tour in Afghanistan he placed an American flag in his cockpit during one mission. He gave me that flag together with a certificate that it had flown a combat mission with him in his F-16. The flag hangs on my wall.

I always joked with Luc about him giving me a ride in a two-seat trainer/fighter. His standard response was that he was "still trying" to set such a flight up.
Tami

Social climber
Canada
Feb 1, 2013 - 10:24am PT
mtnyoung - so very sorry for your loss & condolences to Luc's family.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Feb 1, 2013 - 10:25am PT
So excellent for the USAF to give him that promotion. He has left a large Legacy though, in the form of those he trained and flew with, and in the service to our country as well as his little one. Then there are those he traveled the mountains with,, A life WELL LIVED although tragically short.

21 guns for the SALUTE....
coz

Gym climber
Belmont
Feb 1, 2013 - 11:13am PT
So, sorry to the friends and family of Luc...

He seems like a great young man, who gave his life for the greater good.

He is a bigger hero to me, than any top climber.

SC.
notburcheyLOL

Boulder climber
Feb 1, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Spoke with my Dad (AF) last night about this poor Gent and his family. My Dad had lots of questions, was curious about his rank (he guessed Major).

I'm curious as to what the AF does for a fallen soldier's family in a case like this? I'm assuming the retirement benefits he's accumulated would go to the family later. Do they help in any other way financially?
splitclimber

climber
Sonoma County
Feb 1, 2013 - 11:15am PT
RIP

sorry for your loss Brad and Mucci
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 1, 2013 - 11:58am PT
http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123334599


Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Feb 1, 2013 - 12:00pm PT
http://benefits.va.gov/persona/dependent_survivor.asp
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 1, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
Coming from a family of pilots and having had some long nights as a kid not knowing which plane and crew was involved with a crash I know it can be tough, all the more so with this outcome. Always hard to lose someone and someone who lived well. Condolences.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Feb 1, 2013 - 03:54pm PT
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Feb 6, 2013 - 12:31pm PT
Military Memorial Sevice

http://www.aviano.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123335298

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
I grew up on air force bases. When there is a crash fatality they do this thing where four jets come over the base in formation, then one flies straight up and out of sight. Super sad.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Condolences to family and friends.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Feb 6, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

This poem by John Gillespie Magee Jr, is always in a prominent place on the wall of my home where I read it every day.

So sad to lose another kindred spirit.

When there is a crash fatality they do this thing where four jets come over the base in formation, then one flies straight up and out of sight.

I've attended too many of these...honoring all those who have left us, not just the pilots, but all who have gone before us; and reminding what a blessing it is every day to still be alive and able to look across the sky and the waters and the trees and the birds calling out...
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
Thoughtfull comments on an untimely death.


My condolences go out to all of the family and friends of whom Luc touched in everyday life.

sharperblue

Mountain climber
oakland, california
Feb 6, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
no comfort here, but 600 years of empathy

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/09/how-could-you-go-ahead-of-me.html
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Feb 6, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
It says a lot about Luc that 1,000 people attended his funeral at Aviano air base (God, I hate to even type the words "his funeral").

I read some of Cassy's words, which also say a lot about Luc and quite a bit about Cassy herself:

"If he were here, he would challenge each and every one of you to go climb that mountain you've been waiting to climb, he would tell you to plan that trip you haven't planned, he would tell you to call that friend you've been thinking about, and he would tell you to be sure to tell your loved ones you love them every day. So I challenge you now, for him, and in his memory."

I can practically hear him saying just these words. He lived that way.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
Feb 7, 2013 - 09:39am PT
I am so sorry for your loss and of course my sincere condolences to his family. It hits close to home as my brother flew for many years of his military career, and I visited him at the Aviano base when he was flying missions during the most recent Balkan War. People would be surprised if they knew how many pilots are lost even during "peacetime" manuovers - it's a very dangerous job.
Peace, Phyl
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Mar 16, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
I got to meet Serene Gruenther today. She's five weeks old. She's so beautiful and very alert. Although I'm a little out of practice for holding such little girls, it seemed to come back to me quickly.

Luc's funeral is tomorrow at our high school.

I attached a blue rubber "live like Luc" wristband to my climbing pack.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 16, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
I'm glad he's going to have a memorial in his home town as well as far away. That's important for a lot of people.
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