The Air Force’s Newest Pilot Has Already Won a Few Battles of His Own


There’s a new Air Force pilot in town, and he’s proven himself to be a fighter.

John Austin, a 2-year-old leukemia survivor who battled the disease since he was 4 months old, spent last Thursday as an official airman, just like his dad. The 58th Airlift Squadron and the Altus Air Force Base “Pilot for a Day” program in Altlus, Okla., set the adventure up for him.

He’s only been off treatment since October, so this is a whole new world for us, just to have him at home playing and being silly,” John’s mom, Kristy said. “We’re just really excited to get to do normal things with him.”

On a day where no hospitals or doctors were in sight, John played in the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III, met some military dogs, shot water from a firetruck and took a simulation flight over Oklahoma City, all while wearing his standard-issue flight suit.

“It was something I didn’t expect,” John’s dad, Jason, told KSWO in the video below. “I certainly expected them to help take care of us but everybody has done amazing things.”

Check out photos from John’s big day below:

Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)
Cancer survivor becomes pilot for a day
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon)

Witness more Mighty moments. Like us on Facebook.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Leukemia

Football Star's Choice for Flower Girl Has Everyone Cheering

Earlier this month, the Cincinnati Bengals picked former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron in the fifth round of the NFL draft. McCarron recently made an arguably bigger pick — he and his fiancee, Katherine Webb, have chosen Starla Chapman, a 5-year-old leukemia survivor, as their flower girl. Starla met McCarron in 2011 at University of South Alabama [...]

Simple Gesture Shows Man Battling Leukemia Just How Much His Neighbors Care

Charlie George walks his dogs (and cat) every morning and evening. “And then sometimes in between if it’s not too hot,” he told KTRK. But recently, his fight with leukemia has made it difficult for him to walk around his Garden Oaks neighborhood in Houston, Tex. The community took notice. What began as one neighbor setting [...]

How a Little Boy With Leukemia Became Friends With a World Series Champion

The aggression of Brady Wein’s acute myeloid leukemia made doctors believe he wouldn’t live past the age of 2. But in June 2014, Brady will turn 6. During his battle, by complete coincidence, Brady met Major League Baseball player Jonny Gomes, who now plays for the Boston Red Sox. The two instantly connected. Below is the [...]

A Scary Diagnosis Won’t Stop This Runner From Returning to the Boston Marathon

“I started this race and I want to finish,” Elinor Scott tells KARE 11 in the video below. The 51-year-old from St. Louis Park, Minn., was about one mile short of completing the Boston Marathon in 2013 when she came to a police barricade. A text message from her daughter let Scott know that two explosions [...]