JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Airmen stationed at Joint Base Charleston (JBC) on Wednesday invited a special fan to tour a C-17.
12-year-old Braiden Adkins has cerebral palsy; one of his favorite things to do is watch planes fly through the skies.
“It’s calming and it’s something we all enjoy,” said Braiden’s dad, Matt. “And, now our youngest son, Jace, has taken off with it and he really loves airplanes, too.”
On July 4, the family went to Melton Peter Demetre Park to watch a C-17 — piloted by Capt. Dennis Conner of the 701st Airlift Squadron — and two F-16s fly down the South Carolina coast as part of the Salute from the Shore.
Braiden’s mom, Leslie, posted a video of the boys watching the planes to Facebook, and it caught the eye of Capt. Conner’s wife.
She showed the video to Capt. Conner, who said he was “touched by the video of this family who obviously loved their children and were willing to do whatever it took for their special needs son to see the planes fly over.”
Capt. Conner reached out to the Adkins family and invited them to see the plane up close.
Matt thought it was too good to be true. “I could not believe the pilot of the C-17 we just saw earlier that day had messaged me. It blew my mind,” he said.
The JBC team pulled out all the stops for the visit. Capt. Conner gave a special thanks to Master Sgt. Chris Holland of the 315th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron who gave the family access to the aircraft hangar. He said other team members were eager to spend time with the family as well:
“You look around and you see so many maintainers who nobody asked to come out here but they were drawn to the occasion. Everyone wanted to help and participate just to make it happen for the family. It’s huge. The fire department, the police, our maintenance team, our loadmasters and our pilots; it’s actually very touching to see everyone come together and make this happen for a random family who they have no ties to here.”Capt. Dennis Conner, 701st Airlift Squadron