Team McChord welcomes newest Pilots for a Day – Nicholas and Daniel Duffy
By Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 06, 2016
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- The 4th Airlift Squadron welcomed the two newest Team McChord 'honorary' "Pilots for a Day," Nicholas and Daniel Duffy on May 26 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
McChord's Pilot for a Day program invites children of all ages, military or civilian, to be a guest of the 62nd Airlift Wing and one of McChord's squadrons for an entire day. The program strives to give each child a special day and a break from whatever challenges they may face.
The brothers, who have overcome their own personal challenges, were accompanied by their parents Angela and Sgt. Stephen Cid, 66th Theater Aviation Command, Washington National Guard.
The brothers started the day at the McChord Field Fire Station where they were able to put on fire fighter gear and explore the fire station, as well as put out a simulated aircraft fire.
After the fire station stop they were given a military working dog demonstration, visited the McChord air traffic control tower and the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.
Following a catered lunch, the brothers were able to experience a simulated parachute freefall with a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape specialist.
From there they toured a C-17 Globemaster III and had a chance to sit in the cock pit. They then transitioned from the C-17 to the flight simulator where they had a chance to participate in a C-17 simulation fight.
Staff Sgt. Brooke Breeden, 4th AS C-17 loadmaster, started coordinating the day's events nearly two months before it occurred.
"In the past I've been part of small portions of the Pilot for a Day program," said Breeden. "I wanted to experience the whole thing and see the children's faces. I wanted to give them something good to remember forever."
The boys' father Sgt. Stephen Cid, said the day's events were nothing short of perfection.
"It was seamless," said Cid. "Everyone was waiting and prepared for us."
Cid said he knows just how much time and effort it takes to get this type of facetime with military members who have important jobs to do.
"Today it wasn't about everyone's mission, it was about this mission right here, today was about the boys," Cid said. "There could've been many reasons for them to say 'no' or they couldn't support it, but they did. They [the boys] went where most people don't get the opportunity to."
Angela Cid, the boys' mom, said the biggest event to happen all day was the boys were the center of everyone's attention.
"Today was all about them," said Angela Cid. "They were glowing all day."
She said watching them interact with people who have her respect was humbling.
"The boys respect people in uniform," said Angela Cid. "To watch these individuals who are in charge of so many important things was incredible. There is no amount of thank you's that I can say to express my gratitude."
Stephen Cid said he's been in the military for 18 years and until this day he had never seen the inside of an air traffic control tower or the cock pit of any aircraft.
"I can't thank everyone who has played a part in this enough," said Cid. "We will be talking about this for a long time to come."
In the parent's words, busy Airmen slowed everything down for two little boys who usually the world speeds up and passes by.
Nick's favorite part of the day was food and his brother Daniel's was the flight simulator.
Daniel said the simulator gave him the feeling of actually flying a plane, nerves and all.
"I was stoked," said Daniel. "It was amazing. All I'm going to say is 'God bless the 4th AS'."
Nick said that aside from the incredible food and snacks the best part of the day was being treated with respect.
"I felt like I was older than I actually am," said Nick. "It felt good."
The day concluded with pizza and ice cream and some farewell words from the unit.
"We are all happy to have you here," said Lt. Col. Elizabeth Scott, 4th AS commander. I know you've both faced some challenges in life but you've embodied our motto [Fly, Fight, and Live Proud] by overcoming the struggles. We're proud to have you here as part of the fighting fourth."