June 2, 2011 (by SSgt. Jake Richmond) - The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. William M. Fraser III, has officially selected the officers who will be joining the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, "Thunderbirds" for the 2012 demonstration season.
Maj. Greg Moseley, a lieutenant colonel-select currently assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron's commander and leader. As the twofold duty title implies, his responsibilities will include commanding a force of more than 100 enlisted personnel and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the Thunderbirds, along with leading all demonstration flights. Major Moseley will replace Lt. Col. Case Cunningham.
Maj. Caroline Jensen, an Air Force Reservist serving as a T-38 instructor pilot stationed at Sheppard AFB
, Texas, will become Thunderbird No. 3, the team's right wing pilot. She will fly as close as 18 inches from the No. 1 jet during flight formations, demonstrating the teamwork and precision of America's Air Force. Major Jensen will replace Maj. John Gallemore.
Capt. Blaine Jones, an F-22 pilot currently stationed at Langley AFB, Va., will become Thunderbird No. 6, the team's opposing solo pilot. The solo pilots' perform maneuvers that showcase the maximum capabilities of the F-16 airframe. Maj. J.R. Williams, the current opposing solo pilot, will transition to the lead solo position in 2012, replacing Maj. Aaron Jelinek.
Capt. Michael Fisher, an F-16 pilot currently stationed at Luke AFB, Ariz., will become Thunderbird No. 8, the team's advance pilot and narrator. His duties will include advancing to show sites ahead of the team, coordinating logistical details with the local show organizers, and narrating to the crowd during performances. Captain Fisher will replace Capt. Kristin Hubbard.
Capt. (Dr.) Michael Carletti, a medical doctor currently assigned to Tinker AFB, Okla., will become Thunderbird No. 9, the team's flight surgeon. He will be responsible for providing medical care for the squadron, and keeping the pilots in optimal health to complete their rigorous, year-round flying schedule. Captain Carletti will replace Capt. (Dr.) Thom Bowden.
"I was extremely impressed with the dozens of quality individuals who applied for these competitive positions," said Colonel Cunningham. "It says a lot that these five exceptional officers stood out from the rest, based on their record of performance and their commitment to excellence. I'm happy to say the Thunderbirds will be in great hands next year and beyond, representing our amazing Airmen around the world."
The 12 officer positions on the team are two-year tours of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, so the squadron maintains continuity of experience and leadership. In odd-numbered years, Thunderbird Nos. 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 12 are replaced.
This year marks the Thunderbirds' 58th season as the Air Force's premier jet demonstration team. From mid-March till mid-November, the team travels around the country and abroad, showcasing the integrity, selfless service and excellence embodied by American Airmen everywhere.