The Air Force <had> lost a scout pilot

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Senior Member
The Dreamcatcher. S.King.

In June of '95, the Air Force had lost a scout pilot in NATO's no-fly zone, near the Croat border. The Serbs had made a very big deal of Captain Tommy Callahan's plane, and would have made an even bigger one of Callahan himself, if they caught him; the brass, haunted by images of the North Vietnamese gleefully parading brainwashed pilots before the international press, made recovering Tommy Callahan a priority.

Can someone tell me please why in the sentence above the past perfect was used instead of past simple tense i.e. “the Air Force lost a scout pilot…” ?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    It is usual, when giving context/background to a story, that the description, preceding and setting the scene for the main event, is in the past perfect.
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