June 10, 2009 (by Air Demonstration Squadron Public Affairs) - The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, commonly known as the 'Thunderbirds,' announced incoming officer selections today for the 2010 demonstration season.
Lt. Col. Case Cunningham, serving at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., will join the team as the 33rd Commander/Leader of the "Ambassadors in Blue."
Capt. Chad Shenk, stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB
, N.C., will serve as the Right Wing for the squadron as Thunderbird No. 3.
Capt. Paul Jelinek, stationed at Luke AFB, Ariz., will take over as the Opposing Solo, Thunderbird No. 6.
Maj. John Gallemore, serving at Hill AFB, Utah, will join the team as the Advance Pilot/Narrator, Thunderbird No. 8.
Capt. Thomas Bowden, currently stationed at Little Rock AFB, Ark., will become the new Flight Surgeon, as Thunderbird No. 9.
"All Thunderbirds are hand-selected based on a proven record of service, capabilities in their field and a demonstrated commitment to excellence that matches the nearly 700,000 Airmen we strive to represent daily," said Lt Col. Greg Thomas, Squadron Commander/Leader and Thunderbird No. 1.
The 2010 selection of Lt. Col. Cunningham, an F-22 pilot, marks the first time in history that a Raptor pilot has been chosen to join the Thunderbirds. Pilots selected for the team flying different airframes will undergo several months of F-16 familiarization training before they begin practicing the aerial demonstrations with the Thunderbird pilots.
"Each year many great Airmen apply to serve with the Thunderbirds," said Colonel Thomas. "We select the most qualified individuals to join the team based on their overall capabilities and ability to represent all Airmen."