Barksdale pilots support Pilot for a Day program

  • Published
  • By Carla Pampe
  • Air Force Global Srike Command Public Affairs
Pilots with the 2nd Bomb Wing here brightened the lives of seriously ill children May 1 by supporting Naval Air Station Corpus Christi Texas' Pilot for a Day program.

Members of the 20th Bomb Squadron here recently flew a training mission to NAS Corpus Christi, that allowed them to do several passes over the Air Station for 11-year-old Eric Davis, who was participating in the Pilot for a Day program.

"George Ruiz, the Pilot for a Day director, contacted 2nd Bomb Wing scheduling members in the fall of 2008 regarding the program," said Capt. Tim Miller, from the 2nd Operations Support Squadron. "The 2nd Bomb Wing leadership agreed to support the Pilot for a Day program on a non-interference basis with a B-52 Stratofortress low approach to the NAS Corpus Christi airfield. Our aircrew gets great training with off-station approach practice as well as supports the local community."

"The Pilot for a Day program has been going strong since 2001," Capt. Tim Robinson, the Training Squadron 35th Flight Leader at NAS Corpus Christi, said. "With the addition of a U.S. Air Force (T-1A Jayhawk) fly-in from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, and a B-52 fly-over, Pilot for a Day continues to get better for the kids that visit our base. A (child) has an awesome schedule of events geared toward making them feel like a real pilot."

So far, NAS Corpus Christi has hosted more than 105 children from Driscoll Children's Hospital, Corpus Christi, Texas.

"This program allows us to give hope and encouragement to an ill child and their family who has had a pretty tough life so far," Captain Miller said. "NAS Corpus Christi is close to our normal training areas and air refueling tracks. The flight planning and off-base approach practice is invaluable to our aircrew members."

"At the beginning of the day the child gets to pick out their personal callsign," Captain Miller said. "Eric chose the callsign 'Skull,' the same as the 20th BS aircraft's callsign. The B-52 low approach was the highlight of Skull's day."

He added that members of the 2nd Bomb Wing are really excited about continued support for the program.

"When our schedule allows, we support this event each month," Captain Miller said. "The squadrons enthusiastically support the program by sending squadron T-shirts, hats, coins and other memorabilia in addition to the low approach, to help make the child's day that much more memorable."