Bomb Squadron Honors Boy's Cancer Fight - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Bomb Squadron Honors Boy's Cancer Fight

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A young boy whose father died in the crash of his fighter plane is now fighting cancer, and airmen around the world are banding together to pull him through.

Lieutenant Dave Mitchell died in the training crash at Luke Air Force Base in 2008.

His son - born after his father's death and now five years old - has recently been diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Now - at Minot Air Force Base and at bases in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, airmen are lining up to have their heads shaved, in solidarity with little Braden Mitchell.

Captain Michael Devita of the 23rd Bomb Squadron at Minot Air Force Base was a friend of Braden's father and quickly signed up to help show support.

(Capt. Michael Devita, 23rd Bomb Squadron) "In Afghanistan, that's where it originated and I'm hoping after we get some pictures from this we're going to pay it forward and have other people I went to pilot training with that fly other airplanes, F-16, A-10, and so forth all do this so we can have a constant flow of people supporting Braden. Because it's about him and we want to keep his spirits up so he can fight through the chemo and move on past this."

And so today, with freshly-shaven heads, members of the squadron headed to the flight line -- braving the below zero wind chills and showing off their newly-bald heads for a photo to be sent to Braden.

Captain Devita hopes Braden comes to visit after he recovers from his cancer.

(Capt. Michael Devita, 23rd Bomb Squadron) "Hopefully when this is all past him he'll grow up and be an F-16 pilot like his dad and he can help someone else out one day when he's all grown up." "Or maybe you can talk him into being a B52 pilot" "Maybe a B52!"

Captain Devita says Braden loves airplanes and will be ecstatic to receive photos of various Air Force planes while he battles his cancer.

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