Colonel helps subdue unruly passenger on flight

November 30, 2011 8:48:56 PM PST
A suburban colonel serving in the Air Force Reserve was called to duty on board a flight from Chicago to Washington.

A flight attendant enlisted the help of Colonel John Tree to subdue an unruly passenger.

Colonel Tree of Long Grove was in uniform Monday when he boarded United Flight 448.

"The flight attendant from the first class cabin ask that I join her up in the front," said Tree.

The plane was flying to Reagan National Airport in D.C., but before reaching the ground, a drunken passenger was screaming and kicking the walls in first class.

"The gentleman was shouting at us, full of obscenities. We kept telling him to get back into his seat and we basically closed in on him and walked towards him and essentially created a human wall to get him back to his seat," said Tree.

At the gate, police arrested Charles Beckman of Redwood City, California. The 56-year-old was charged with public intoxication and interfering with a flight crew.

Colonel Tree returned to Chicago Wednesday for a candidates forum. Tree along with Brad Schneider and Illeea Shayman are Democrats running in the 10th Congressional District.

Tree says Monday's flight was about the military.

"I know the Americans trust the military. She asked me to come up there because I was in uniform. It could have been anybody, had they been in uniform, I'm sure she would have asked them, so I'm proud to have done it," said Tree.

Tree was in Washington to work at the Pentagon the last few days.

The Department of Defense does not endorse any political candidates. But the military is on Tree's resume.

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