71st RQS engineers shave heads, support fellow Airman's son

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brigitte Brantley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
A group of Moody Airmen recently shaved their heads to show support for their fellow Airman's son, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Several members from the 71st Rescue Squadron gathered together at the home of Tech. Sgt. Charles Giltner, 71st RQS plans and exercises NCO in-charge, and his wife Katrina, to show support for their 8-year-old son Sam.

"When we told Sam that we would have to shave off all his hair because it was falling out due to the effects of the chemotherapy treatment," said Mrs. Giltner. "He didn't want to do it because he thought the children at his school would make fun of him for not having hair. He didn't want to be different from them."

With a little bit of convincing, they found a way to get him to shave his head without making him feel like it was a negative result of his diagnosis.

"Sam thought it was really cool that a group of adults would come out and shave their heads with him," Sergeant Giltner said. "Since there were many individuals who did this with him, it made him feel it was okay not to have hair."

To Sam, the action of the engineers shaving their heads meant a lot, but to the engineers, it was just helping a member of the Air Force family.

"When you are serving in the military, you're usually stationed far from home," said Staff Sgt. John Cooper, 71st RQS flight engineer. "This means that the individuals you serve with are like family and they are there to provide the support you need in difficult times, such as having one of your children diagnosed with a form of leukemia. Shaving my head to show support for Sam was an easy decision and I really hope he gets better."

Sam's father feels that what this group of men showed him is that the individuals in his squadron are truly more than just the people he works with.

"When so many of the guys from my squadron volunteered to shave their heads with my son, it meant a lot to me and my family," said Sergeant Giltner. "Engineers tend to be a small, tight-knit group of individuals and they thought nothing of doing this. Being stationed at Moody has felt more like we are part of a family than anywhere else we've been assigned."