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1929 - Saugus train robber Thomas Vernon apprehended in Pawnee, Okla. [story]
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| Thursday, Apr 5, 2018

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Slot Pilot Thunderbird 4, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, a graduate of Saugus High School, was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range April 4, 2018 at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight.

“We are mourning the loss of Major Del Bagno,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander. “He was an integral part of our team and our hearts are heavy with his loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”

An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap.

The team’s participation at the March Air Reserve Base “The March Field Air & Space Expo” has been cancelled. It is unknown how this accident will impact the remainder of the 2018 Thunderbirds Season.

According to the Thunderbird website, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno is the Slot Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 4 jet. He is a 2005 graduate of Utah Valley State University, and commissioned from Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Ala. in 2007.

Before joining the Air Force, Del Bagno was a civilian flight instructor, corporate pilot, skywriter, and a banner tow pilot.

He enjoys snowboarding, water sports and spending time with family and friends. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Del Bagno served as an F-35A Evaluator Pilot and Chief of Standardization and Evaluation, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Fla.

He has logged more than 3,500 total flight hours in over 30 different aircraft, with 1,400 hours as an Air Force pilot. Del Bagno is in his first season with the team and hails from Valencia, Calif.

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird 4/Slot Pilot, preforms preflight checks in his F-16 Fighting Falcon at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 26, 2018. Del Bagno was killed when his aircraft crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a practice aerial demonstration on April 4, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

 

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird 4/Slot Pilot, prepares to march to his F-16 Fighting Falcon during a modified ground show practice at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 26, 2018. Del Bagno was killed when his aircraft crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a practice aerial demonstration on April 4, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

 

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird 4/Slot Pilot, and Staff Sgt. Michael Meister, Thunderbird 4 Dedicated Crew Chief, await the signal to start their F-16 Fighting Falcon during a practice show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 14, 2018. Del Bagno was killed when his aircraft crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a practice aerial demonstration on April 4, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

 

Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, Thunderbird 4/Slot Pilot, (pictured third from the left) marches to his F-16 Fighting Falcon alongside the five other Thunderbird pilots during a practice show at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 14, 2018. Del Bagno was killed when his aircraft crashed on the Nevada Test and Training Range during a practice aerial demonstration on April 4, 2018. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Boitz)

 

Stephen Del Bagno’s Saugus High School graduation picture. Del Bagno graduated in 2001.

 

Del Bagno stands next to a plane he flew in high school. He received his pilot’s license during the 2000-2001 school year.

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22 Comments

  1. Jeanne says:

    So sad! What year grad?

  2. Link not working – Forbidden message

  3. So sorry for the Delbagno’s lost! Thoughts and prayers for the family!

  4. 🙏🏻 Prayers for your family and friends. Thank You for your ultimate sacrafice💔🌹🇺🇸

  5. William Reel William Reel says:

    God Bless 🇺🇸

  6. Jen Sherman Jen Sherman says:

    Hector Sherman Jimmy Sherman

  7. Bea Carbajal says:

    My deepest condolences to Joe Del Bagno and family for the loss of their son Maj. Stephen Del Bagno. May Our Lord bring you all peace and comfort at this difficult time. RIP Maj. Stephen Del Bagno and Thank You For Your Service To Our Country.

  8. Erin King Erin King says:

    Wow this is awful!! Steve was on swim team with me back in high school and used to always talk about being a pilot. I’m so sad. 😢

  9. How heartbreaking! God bless him, and his family. May God hold them close during this difficult time. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

  10. Brooke Edwards we went to high school with him

  11. RIP..Sympathies to your family.

  12. He was an amazing person and died doing what he loved the most in the entire world! We have truly lost someone special! I’m honored to have known a top of his class Air Force pilot and Thunderbird!

Leave a Comment


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