One Climbed West
Since World War I, the armed forces have paid tribute to fallen comrades using aerial salutes involving flyovers of formations of aircraft. When pilots were killed, missing in action, or are later deceased, they are sometimes referred to as having "flown west." During their funeral services, a "missing man" formation is often flown, with one of the aircraft in that formation pulling up, signifying the honored dead's ascention to Heaven.
In "One Flew West," as a tribute to their fallen pilots and crewmembers, I have tried to recreate the Missing Man Formation as flown by Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs. Thunderchiefs flew more strike missions over Southeast Asia then any other aircraft, most over over North Vietnam. Over 350 were lost to enemy fire, with the great majority of those losses over North Vietnam.