An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

714th TRS welcomes “Pilot for a Day” at Little Rock AFB

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rhett Isbell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

What do you want to do when you grow up? It is a common question children are asked. Sadly, some children don’t get a chance to fulfil those dreams because of circumstances out of their control. The Pilot for a Day program helps to make some of those dreams come true. Caden Carbajal visited the flight line of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 26, 2019, with the surprising news that he’d be part of the program.

The Pilot for a Day program aims to foster a professional relationship with the local community by giving children receiving long-term medical care an immersive trip into numerous squadrons on base.

The 714th TRS gave Caden, who was born with a rare kidney disease, his very own flight suit and flight jacket along with patches to show his new place in the squadron, before an exclusive tour of some of the different units around base and a C-130J with his name on it.

“It’s a humbling experience to get to know Caden,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kenny Jubb, 714th TRS assistant director of operations. “Everyone that assisted with the tour was very eager to help out.”

Caden interacted with Airmen from around the base as they showed him their work spaces and the different job aspects they enjoy. He was able to see the aircraft control tower, a C-130J, explosive ordinance disposal, the fire station, and to try on a pilot’s helmet and night vision goggles, among other things.

“You could see the smile on his face when he got to do the different activities,” Jubb said. “I think he really liked going onto the plane and seeing his name on it. He also got to play with the robots at EOD. The EOD guys were really impressed with how skillful he was at controlling them.”

Touring the base with Caden were his mom and brother Eli who were able to experience the day’s events with him.

“He really liked the tour,” said Amanda Carbajal, Caden’s mother. “I like to see him experience special things and just have a good time and take his mind off things. He'll tell everybody, especially when he goes to school and tells his friends.”

Jubb was unsure if Caden would be able to finish out the day’s activities, due to his health concerns, but he made it through the long day.

“He was a bit tired in the morning and wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but as the day went on he really warmed up,” Jubb said. “It was nice to see him with a smile on his face. The fact that we could put that smile on his face and make him a pilot for a day was awesome.”