Air Force

July 25, 2014

Thunderbolt joins elite Thunderbirds

Tags:
Staff Sgt. TIMOTHY BOYER
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, took this photo March 15 during Luke Air Force Base’s Open House and Air Show. She had no idea at the time that just a few months later she would be selected to join the Air Demonstration Team.

Millions of people witness the precision aerobatic performances of the Thunderbirds annually, but few ever get to be part of the team.

Staff Sgt. Darlene Seltmann, 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs photojournalist, was selected to the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron and will be transferred to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, where she will become a Thunderbird.

“I was in shock after I was notified I was selected for the position,” Seltmann said. “A couple months ago I was taking photos of the Thunderbirds at our air show, and now I will be part of that team. It was such a rush of emotions. I remember sitting in my car crying because I was overwhelmed with happiness.”

In August, Seltmann will join the more than 120 enlisted Thunderbirds from a broad spectrum of Air Force specialty codes.

“Staff Sergeant Seltmann was selected because her records showed that she had a great breadth of experience as a photojournalist,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Martinez, U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron chief enlisted manager. “She will be doing the same job as she currently does at Luke, but with the added possibility of flying in the backseat of the F-16 Fighting Falcon to capture images.”

Seltmann was initially hesitant to apply for the position with the Thunderbirds.

“I really didn’t think it was possible for me because I have three children at home and my husband is also enlisted,” she said. “I contacted one of the team’s photojournalists to ask about the frequency of TDYs and such, and I found it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”

After conversations with her leadership and husband, Seltmann decided to apply.

“My husband always supports me and pushes me to be the best I can be,” she said. “I might not listen to him as often as I should, but he is one of the main reasons I’ve been successful.”

While the selection process is highly competitive, every Airman has the opportunity to apply to join the Thunderbirds.

“We have the awesome responsibility of representing more than 700,000 total force Airmen who make up the Air Force,” Martinez said. “The Thunderbirds are just ordinary Airmen executing an extraordinary mission.”

For those who may dream of being a Thunderbird but feel it is out of their reach, there is hope.

“I couldn’t help but think about how amazing it would be to be a Thunderbird,” Seltmann said. “I honestly didn’t have a clue if I stood a chance. I am glad I took the chance and applied.”
While those flying the jets are often the most visible members of the Thunderbirds, it takes a team to keep the demonstrations on track.

“I am a prime example as a photojournalist,” Seltmann said. “The Thunderbirds’ mission takes pilots, maintainers, schedulers and more. Just like the Air Force, every job is important to the mission. If you want to be part of the team, regardless of your career, apply. I got my dream job, and you could too.”

For more information on the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds visit www.afthunderbirds.com.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 
2_lemery_d2

Respect — want, earn, give, but don’t lose it

Lt. Col. David Lemery We all want it, some earn it, some are given it and some lose it. Respect can be defined as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements. As ...
 
 

Solve problems at lowest level

Crucial in our Air Force environment today is having the proper tools and skillsets available to deal with problems. There is literally something new almost every single day that will invoke problem solving skills. When faced with a problem, an important mindset to have is to resolve the issue at the lowest possible level. Some...
 

 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 

Fighting Falcons arrive at Holloman

Courtesy photo Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 308th Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base arrive in formation June 16 at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The 308th FS has inactivated and the soon to be activated 314th FS assumes the 308th FS mission of training F-16 pilots as a 56th Fighter Wing...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>