Cajun's Aviation Dream Fund

The Thunderbird team lost a beloved member of our family two days ago.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Major Stephen "Cajun" Del Bagno, the Thunderbirds' Slot Pilot.  The Thunderbirds, past and present, are a small team and this loss is deeply felt by all of us.  

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno lived for aviation. As a high school student, he mopped floors in exchange for flying lessons at his local airfield. From these humble beginnings, Stephen embarked on a world-spanning adventure, flying more than 3500 flight hours in over 30 civilian and military aircraft.
As a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, Stephen proved to be a natural leader and skilled aviator, ultimately being trusted to fly the most advanced fighter aircraft ever built, the F-35 Lightning II.
As Thunderbird #4, the Slot Pilot for the elite U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, he inspired countless young Americans to dream big. When engaging with fans and friends, he always stressed his four Ps to Prosperity: find your Passion, know your Purpose, be Persistent, and be Personable.
Both in and out of the cockpit, Stephen embodied the finest qualities of his country, his service and the spirit of the Thunderbirds. This fund will continue Stephen's legacy and allow his family to help stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion.


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Mike Beale 
Springfield, VA
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