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Air Force Thunderbirds resume flight
operations two weeks after death of one of their own
By: Michelle Tan
Two weeks after a training accident claimed the life of one of their own, the Air Force Thunderbirds are back in the air.
“Today, the Thunderbirds will resume practice flights over the Nevada Test and Training Range,” Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, Thunderbirds commander, wrote in a statement released Wednesday. “While our hearts are still heavy with the loss of our wingman Cajun, we know he’d want us back in the air and preparing to recruit, retain and inspire once more.”
Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, call sign “Cajun,” died April 4 when his F-16 crashed at the Nevada Test and Training Range during what the Air Force described as routine aerial demonstration training.
As they mourned, the Thunderbirds canceled appearances at three air shows — the March Field Air and Space Expo at March Air Reserve Base in California, the Sun-N-Fun Fly-In and Expo at Lakeland, Florida, and the Wings Over Columbus at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi.
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