S: Wishes Come True
FC: Jim Clark October, 2009 | A Wish Come True!!
42: True American Hero Lt. Colonel TJ "T-Bone" Eaton was a passenger on board the commercial airline flight transporting Jimmy and family to meet Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. After hearing the announcement on board the airplane that there was a cancer survivor on his way to his "Make a Wish", TJ removed his 37 EBS Tigers patch from his uniform and presented it to Jimmy. This picture was taken of TJ during the deployment in Afghanistan in the aircraft on the way back to base.
43: "I really enjoyed meeting you guys in Minneapolis and am glad I could make Jimmy's experience even better. I'm glad Brett Favre turned out to be a good guy in person and that the weekend went well for all of you. As for the patch, I wore it throughout my deployment and carried it on each of my combat sorties. Some basic B-1B history - there are 3 deployable B-1B squadrons in the USAF, the 37th Bomb Squadron (Tigers) and the 34th Bomb Squadron (Thunderbirds) are both at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota and the 9th Bomb Squadron (Bats) is at Dyess AFB in Texas. Each squadron deploys for 6-month rotations and spends approx 12 at home after each deployment. The 37th, which was my squadron, has a tradition of designing a special deployment patch for each deployment. The one I gave to Jimmy was designed for this current deployment, which began in July (2009) and will end in late January (2010). As for me, I've been in the Air Force for 10 years now. After I graduated from pilot training at Columbus AFB in Mississippi in 2002, I was brought back right away as an instructor pilot in the T-37. I did that for 3 years, and one of my proudest achievements there was to start a program I'd seen at another AFB call the Pilot For a Day program. We invited children with illnesses and their families (just like you guys) to the base for a day of red carpet treatment. It was really a rewarding experience. My next assignment was to Dyess AFB where I learned to fly the B-1, after which I was moved to Ellsworth as my permanent duty station in 2007. I was lucky enough to earn my instructor rating in that aircraft also and flew 2 combat tours with all my missions taking place over Afghanistan - the most intense and rewarding flying I have ever done. Last year, I applied for and was interviewed for the B-2 stealth bomber program. I was fortunate enough to be selected in November of last year and arrived in Knob Noster, Missouri about 2 weeks ago to start my training - I was brought home early from my deployment to move here, which is why I was on the airplane coming home with you guys."