Tulsa ANG hosts pilot for a day

Col. Rick Poplin, 138th Operations Group (OG) Commander presents "pilot for a day" Josh Payton with the keys to the OG during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Col. Rick Poplin, 138th Operations Group (OG) Commander presents "pilot for a day" Josh Payton with the keys to the OG during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, "pilot for a day" admires his new dog tags while serving as an honored guest of the 138th Fighter Wing Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, "pilot for a day" admires his new dog tags while serving as an honored guest of the 138th Fighter Wing Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Aircrew Flight Equipment Technician, Tech. Sgt. Craig Michael adjusts a helmet for an honored guest of the 138th Fighter Wing and "pilot for a day" Josh Payton Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Aircrew Flight Equipment Technician, Tech. Sgt. Craig Michael adjusts a helmet for an honored guest of the 138th Fighter Wing and "pilot for a day" Josh Payton Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" and Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone watch F-16's take off near the runway Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" and Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone watch F-16's take off near the runway Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" is briefed on the cockpit functionality of an F-16 by Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" is briefed on the cockpit functionality of an F-16 by Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" with parents A1C Jacky Payton and wife Marie, sister Gracie and brother Jared during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" with parents A1C Jacky Payton and wife Marie, sister Gracie and brother Jared during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

- Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" is briefed on the operations of an F-16 by Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

- Josh Payton, the 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" is briefed on the operations of an F-16 by Maj. Michael "Deuce" Scorsone Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" stand with family and friends during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Josh Payton, 138th Fighter Wing's "pilot for a day" stand with family and friends during his visit as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Col. Rick Poplin, 138th Operations Group (OG) Commander presents "pilot for a day" Josh Payton with a token of his appreciation for visiting as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla.  The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began.  (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt.  Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

Col. Rick Poplin, 138th Operations Group (OG) Commander presents "pilot for a day" Josh Payton with a token of his appreciation for visiting as an honored guest Feb. 19, 2015, at the Tulsa Air National Guard base, Tulsa, Okla. The pilot for a day program is intended to recognize and honor children with potentially life threatening illnesses and started at the 138th in May 2012, and has hosted seven children since it began. (U.S. National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Preston L. Chasteen/Released)

TULSA AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Okla. -- Mr. Josh "Guns" Payton became the 138th Fighter Wings (FW) newest honorary pilot February 19, during the units "pilot for a day" recognition program held here.

The pilot for a day program was created to allow children with potentially life threatening illnesses to spend a day interacting on base and sharing in some of the experiences of an F-16 fighter pilot. 
 
"The program is something that we are doing locally to help give back to the community and we keep it simple without a lot or red tape," stated Lt Col Ryan Jones, 138th FW pilot for a day program coordinator.  "We have a lot of really great people on this base who help to make this happen for these young folks."

Josh, the son of A1C Jacky Payton and wife Marie, of Collinsville, Okla., was diagnosed in September 2014 with ewing sarcoma cancer.

"It was a big surprise because I didn't realize it was one event, just for one child," stated A1C Payton.  "It's a big deal for Josh because he had just started in Civil Air Patrol then he got diagnosed, so now he's not able to join until his treatments are finished.  So for him to be able to come out and do this, it's meant a lot to him, it's really lifted his spirits up."

A1C Payton is a traditional guardsman at the 138th Fighter Wing where he works as a Personnel Specialist in the Logistics Readiness Squadron.

"We're not going to stop, we're going to keep doing this," stated Lt Col Jones.  "It's not just one person that benefits, but everyone involved benefits." 

The program was launched at the 138th with Jones, who brought the program from his previous unit, the 149th Fighter Wing, San Antonio, Texas. 

Josh is Tulsa's seventh pilot for a day since the program started at the 138th in May 2012.