The newest member of
Seymour Johnson AFB's 334th Fighter Squadron cannot even reach the
rudder pedals in an F-15E Strike Eagle, but that does not keep Evan
“Big E” Moriarty from being one of the squadron’s
The 5-year-old Fayetteville, N.C., native recently had a
cancerous tumor the size of a football successfully removed. He and
his family visited the base April 15.
“He loves jets -- his favorite movie is ‘Top
Gun,’” said Evan’s mother, Shana Moriarty.
“He was so excited to come and spend the day with everyone
Besides his mom, Evan’s two older brothers and two of his
grandparents came along. Evan’s dad is in the Army and
currently deployed. Their visit here was coordinated between the
Make-A-Wish Foundation and the base’s junior enlisted group,
Enlisted Airmen Gaining Leadership Experience and Skills.
“We’d been working on getting Evan here for a few
months and everyone on base really pulled together to make it
happen,” said Airman 1st Class Natasha Sloan, the enlisted
group’s president. “He’s a special little guy and
really is like a little brother to me now.”
Maj. Mark Slocum, of the 334th FS, escorted Evan and his family
around base. The visit started in the Eagles’ lounge, where
Col. Mike Holmes, 4th Fighter Wing commander, presented Evan with a
flight suit, jacket and helmet bag -- all covered in various
patches from around the base.
After changing into his
new threads, it was over to wing life support where Staff Sgt.
Brent Knight taught him all about parachute safety.
From there, Major Slocum took Evan and his family to the
flightline, where maintainers had a fully loaded Strike Eagle
waiting for them. Evan’s name and call sign were painted on
After seeing the jets, Evan and his family visited the 916th Air
Refueling Wing where they saw a KC-135 Stratotanker up close.
“He really loved seeing the refueler and laying down in
the back,” Mrs. Moriarty said.
After a catered lunch at the 334th FS with several of his fellow
Eagles, Evan and his family got a whirlwind tour of the base,
including stops at the fire department, air traffic control tower,
military working dogs section and Airman leadership school.
While at ALS, Evan participated in a retreat ceremony, and Tech.
Sgt. Patrick Seiler presented him with the flag they flew that
With the day almost done, the group stopped back at the 334th FS
where they received gifts from several people around base --
including a model of an F-15E, coins from various squadrons, and
autographed pictures of Tom Cruise in his “Top Gun”
suit and one from President George W. Bush.
“It’s so fantastic to see so many people giving so
selflessly to people they’ve never met before today,”
Mrs. Moriarty said. “This was truly an experience I
won’t forget. Everyone here has shown Evan a level of
compassion I’ve never seen before.” [ANN Salutes Senior
Airman J.G. Buzanowski, 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs]