FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. --
Fairchild Air Force Base has made a 7-year-old boy’s dream come true when he received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a pilot for a day Oct. 5, 2018.
The 384th Air Refueling Squadron worked with the Spokane Shriners Hospital for Children to bring Isaiah Watkins, a second grader at North Idaho Christian School, to Fairchild to experience a day in the life as a KC-135 pilot.
Isaiah was born with fibular hemimelia, a rare birth defect that affects one in every 40,000 births, where one leg is missing part, or all, of the fibular bone.
He received a tour of the 384th ARS, his own flight suit, an official briefing, and sat on the flight deck of one of Fairchild’s very own KC-135 Stratotankers.
“We have such an incredible relationship with the local community, and I am extremely excited to see how Team Fairchild Airmen came together to create a very special day for Isaiah,” said Lt. Col. Sean McClune, 384th ARS commander. “It was a day that he, and my Airmen, won’t soon forget.”
Amidst the patches, coins and an official 384th ARS morale shirt, Isiah was treated like a pilot. They broke away from the tour to scarf down some pizza and cookies before entering the KC-135 Stratotanker simulator.
“Everything is amazing!” said Isaiah.
The base and Shriners Hospital for Children have been working together for over five years to make dreams like Isaiah come true.
“Working with organizations like Shriners to make this come together just shows how much of a difference we can make as community partners,” McClune said.
It was that partnership that allowed the Watkins family to have such an unforgettable afternoon.
“This was pretty cool,” said Ken Watkins, Isaiah’s father. “It’s something totally out of the norm that he will remember forever.”