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A fighter plane formation
flies over a solemn
ceremony, a wingman
carrying a smoke tracer
, spirals away into oblivion ...
The Missing Man Formation's creation is unclear, some say it was invented as a tribute to The Red Baron, Manheim von Richthofen by the British WWI pilots as a sign of respect to a fellow flying ace. It became part of the ceremonial during World War II.
The USAF Thunderbirds flew this formation in 1969 in honour of the Vietnam POWs, then the first military aerobatics unit to do so.
Today it is regularly flown during Rememberance Day, Memorial Day and military ceremonies remembering comrades lost.
Node dedicated to Sgt. Marc D. Léger, Cpl. Ainsworth Dyer, Pte. Richard A. Green and Pte. Nathan Smith lost to friendly fire on the Afghanistan campaign.