It is with a heavy heart that I adjourn tonight in memory of Major Stephen Del Bagno, a local hero who tragically lost his life in a flying accident in April.
Major Del Bagno was a pilot with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, known to us all as the Thunderbirds. He was completing a training flight when his F-16 Fighting Falcon crashed at the Nevada Test and Training Range.
He was a hometown boy from Valencia and graduated from Saugus High School before attending college at Utah Valley State University. After completing his degree, Major Del Bagno was commissioned two years later from Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.
Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, he served as an F-35A stealth jet evaluation pilot with the 58th Fighter Squadron in Florida. Major Del Bagno became the first F-35 pilot to fly with the Thunderbirds.
Given the call sign “Cajun,” he was the squad’s slot pilot and flew behind the team’s Number 1 plane in its signature diamond formation.
Prior to joining the Air Force, he worked as a civilian flight instructor and corporate pilot. He loved spending his time with family and friends, as well as participating in activities like water sports and snowboarding.
We are all deeply saddened by this sudden loss and our thoughts are with Major Del Bagno’s family and friends during this difficult time.