Press Releases

Thunderbirds Pilot Identified

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Nellis Air Force Base Public Affairs                                                                                                  

4430 Grissom Ave. Suite 107

Nellis AFB, NV 89191-7078

Phone: (702) 652-2750; Fax (702) 652-9838


                                                                                                                                                Release No. 3

                                                                                                                     Date: 2018-04-05



Thunderbirds Pilot Identified


NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron Slot Pilot Thunderbird 4, Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, was killed when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed over the Nevada Test and Training Range April 4, 2018 at approximately 10:30 a.m. during a routine aerial demonstration training flight.


“We are mourning the loss of Major Del Bagno,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander. “He was an integral part of our team and our hearts are heavy with his loss. We ask everyone to provide his family and friends the space to heal during this difficult time.”


An investigation is being conducted into the cause of the mishap.


The team’s participation at the March Air Reserve Base “The March Field Air & Space Expo” has been cancelled.  It is unknown how this accident will impact the remainder of the 2018 Thunderbirds Season.