Hello everybody. I wanted take a moment to provide you all an update here at the Thunderbirds. As you likely know, last Wednesday Thunderbird Four, Major Stephen Del Bagno, callsign: Cajun, was killed when his aircraft crashed during a training mission here at the Nevada Test and Training Range.
His loss comes as a shock to his family, friends and wingmen. We remember Cajun as an Airman, a warrior, a talented fighter pilot and a great friend with more than thirty five hundred flight hours in over thirty different aircraft. He lived to fly and inspire the next generation.
Right now we have three priorities. First, we’re taking care of Cajun’s family. The Air Force and the Thunderbirds are making sure they have all the assistance they need in this difficult time. This week, we’ll host his family for a memorial service where we’ll honor Cajun’s legacy and celebrate his amazing life.
Second, we are taking care of our squadron. We are a resilient team of high-performing professionals and we’re holding each other up, but we recognize we can’t always do it all alone, which is why we have a robust network of agencies supporting us as we mourn and recover.
Third, when the time is right, we’ll get back to executing our mission: to recruit, retain and inspire.
Moving forward, we’ll press on with the full faith and confidence of our leadership in pursuing these objectives.
In order to facilitate support to the family and team, and to ensure the safety of our flight operations, we’ll be cancelling our performances at Lakeland and Columbus Air Force Base. Further cancellations may occur and we’ll keep you posted as the schedule takes shape.
In closing, I’d like to thank all of our family, friends, fans and alumni out there who have been a tremendous source of strength this week. Thousands upon thousands of you have offered kind words of encouragement, condolences and loving tributes to Cajun’s legacy. We are deeply moved by your compassion and we ask that you continue to keep Cajun and his family in your thoughts. Thank you.
(To view the video of the statement, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulwts6zYHm0)