Cajun’s Aviation Dream

Our mission is to carry on the legacy of Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno by helping stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion for aviation.

Maj. Stephen “Cajun” Del Bagno lived for aviation. As a high school student, he volunteered to clean toilets, wash hangar floors, and airplanes in exchange for flying lessons at his local airfield, CP Aviation. From these humble beginnings, Stephen embarked on a worldwide adventure, flying more than 3500 flight hours in over 30 civilian and military aircraft. As a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot, Stephen proved to be a natural leader and skilled aviator, ultimately being trusted to fly the most advanced fighter aircraft ever built, the F-35 Lightning II. 

Stephen worked extremely hard, overcame numerous obstacles and was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of flying for the elite U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds as the #4, Slot Pilot.

He inspired everyone he encountered to dream big and to never give up. When engaging with fans, family and friends he always stressed his 4 P’s to Prosperity: Find your Passion, that will give you Purpose, be Persistent in your pursuit, be Personable (Humble, Credible, and Approachable) and you will Prosper. Both in an out of the cockpit, Stephen embodied the finest qualities of his country, his service, and the spirit of the Thunderbirds. 

On April 4, 2018, the world suffered an unimaginable loss as Maj. Del Bagno perished during a routine aerial demonstration training. In his 34 years, he mastered the art of persistence, embodied being a “good dude”, took pride in giving back to his community and stayed humble in his pursuit for excellence. He is missed beyond measure and this foundation will continue Stephen’s legacy and allow his family to help stellar young Americans chase their own dreams to fly and pursue their passion for aviation.

I had a chance to do one of my Thunderbird prints for Papa Joe and his wife for their Fundraiser. I knew it was a worthy cause to help them raise money. They told me after the event that the prints were well received!! I will reach back out next year!!! This print is also displayed on the wall of a popular BBQ restaurant right across the road from the main gate at Nellis AFB. I talked with Astro #1 Thunderbird and this is the first place the team even got to see my Art. They loved it as well!!

If you would like to donate..


Dave Budd

Hi..I'm Dave. Webmaster here at Photorecon. The boss also laughs and says I'm the Chief Photographer. I live in Las Vegas and I cover most of the West Coast events with Joe. I do most of the upkeep of the site.

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