A Dream Come True
(February 27, 2011)
|JOINT-BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii — “My favorite part is ... all of it!,” said 7-year-old Haley Tyrrell as the shuttle stopped behind the lowered ramp of a C-17 Globemaster III tactical transport aircraft Feb. 18. Her eyes opened as wide as the plane's massive cargo area as a smile crept from ear to ear across her face. Today, she would become a pilot.|
First Lt. Audrey McCabe escorts Haley and Zachary Tyrrell back to a shuttle bus Feb. 18, 2011 during Haley's “Pilot for a Day” tour at Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. “Pilot for a Day” is a program that allows children with severe illnesses to take a break from treatment to visit an Air Force base and learn all things aviation. Haley recently finished chemotherapy and overcame brain cancer in the process.
|Haley was selected as a “Pilot for a Day,” by Joint-Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, which included a military working dog demonstration, a C-17 tour and a flight in an advanced C-17 simulator.|
“Pilot for a Day” is a program that gives children with severe illnesses the chance to take a break from strenuous treatments to experience a day in the life of an Air Force pilot.
Haley has recently finished chemotherapy and was declared cancer free. One of Haley's doctors recommended her for the “Pilot for a Day” program after she overcame a brain tumor. The program gives children with a severe illness the chance to experience a day in the life of an Air Force pilot.
“She was so excited she woke up at five o' clock in the morning,” said Wendy Cockshell, Haley's mother. “She asked me,
|‘Am I really going to be a pilot mom? Do I really get to fly?'”|
|During her day as “pilot,” Haley and her family were greeted by C-17 pilots who gave accompanied her on the tour, teaching Haley all things aviation. They also helped her fly the C-17 simulator.|
Haley said flying was easy and that she could be a pilot someday.
“In the simulator she took off and flew and only a year ago she couldn't move or speak,” Cockshell said with watery eyes.
First Lt. Audrey McCabe, a C-17 pilot escorting Haley, said Haley was a natural.
“She's been happy and energetic the whole day,” she said. “It feels good to be able to help out and they seemed to like it. It's been a good time.”
Haley, with her brother Zachary at her side, finished her day as the honored guest of Col. Sam Barrett, 15th Wing Commander, JBPH-H, at her graduation ceremony. She was presented with Barrett's personal challenge coin and a graduation certificate.
The excitement from “Pilot for a Day” was a stepping-stone for the family as they awaited an even bigger surprise.
Haley and Zachary's father, Gunnery Sgt. Patrick Tyrrell, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, is slated to come home from the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., this week. The battalion just finished Enhanced Mojave Viper training, their last training requirement preparing them for deployment.
Gunnery Sgt. Tyrrell said he was very excited after hearing of the exclusive opportunity his daughter received.
“He's so delighted and was very excited about the opportunity,” Cockshell said. “I'm calling him afterwards to let him know how it went.”
The only way for Cockshell to describe the day was, “a dream come true.”
“It's amazing that so many people went through so much trouble to create this beautiful day for my daughter,” she said. “I'm almost at a loss for words. We're so thankful.”
For more information on the “Pilot for a Day” program contact Kapi ‘olani Medical Center's Child Life Program at 808-983-8320 or your local Air Force public affairs shop.
Article and photo By USMC LCpl. Tyler Main
Marine Corps Base Hawaii – Kaneohe Bay
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