Airline passengers refuse to wait for body of servicemember to leave aircraft

A former airman’s posting is going viral after the video he shared to Facebook June 6 shows airline passengers disrespecting a fallen active-duty airman.

In what appears to be his final flight in a coffin draped with an American flag, Staff Sgt. Andre Taylor’s remains are seen being removed by an Honor Guard detail from the cargo hold of a Delta flight.

Rolling video in disbelief, Ken Fitzgerald, a former KC-135 boom operator, writes of his disappointment in people after passengers disregarded aircrew instructions to remain seated while Taylor’s remains were being removed from the aircraft.

Fitzgerald writes, “After FOUR announcements for folks to remain seated until our fallen Airman was escorted off first and his family breaking down just outside the window, EVERY INDIVIDUAL except the flight crew and a few of us nonrevs paid our respects. Seriously people?”

Fitzgerald said during a phone interview passengers on the Delta flight from Phoenix to Detroit were well aware of Taylor’s remains were on board.

“Before we loaded in Phoenix, people were watching from the terminal as Staff Sgt. Taylor’s remains were loaded into the aircraft,” he said. “Then, on descent, two requests were made for passengers to remain seated, then two more announcements were made again on the tarmac. The really sad thing … we arrived to Michigan early, and people still rushed to get off the plane — really sad,” Fitzgerald told Popular Military.

According to Taylor’s obituary, Taylor age 28, passed away June 24. Andre was born in Lansing May 24, 1989, the son of Timothy Taylor and Lenora (Michael) Cauther. He was a proud serviceman for the past 10 years with the U. S. Air Force, serving at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix. Andre was preceded in death by his father, Timothy. Surviving are his children, Adrianna and Ayden; mother, Lenora Cauther; father, Michael Cauther; sisters, April (John Jones) Cullimore, Tiffany (Benjamin) Dobson, Alicia (Vanderver Howard) Taylor and Montoya (Michael Vang) Taylor; 10 nieces and nephews and many friends also survive. A private family service was held.


Then Senior Airman Andre Taylor (left), 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron lead crew member, and Senior Airman William Harris Jr., 61st Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member, listen to an instructor in the training hangar during Luke Air Force Base’s first-ever F-35 Lightning II weapons load training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

Those wishing to make memorial contributions in Taylor’s name can donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.  Popular Military made an inquiry to Luke Air Force base to determine Taylor’s cause of death but has yet to hear back from Taylor’s unit.

Rest In Peace Staff Sgt. Andre Taylor

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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