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

Chief of staff visits Luke

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, spent time meeting with Airmen and leadership Monday at Luke Air Force Base. Welsh highlighted Airman health, wellness and quality of life activities. He also...
 
 

Mentoring fosters dreams, strengthens us

A few days ago while reading an online commander’s call, I came across an article dated Dec. 31, 2014, stating President Obama proclaimed the month of January 2015 National Mentoring Month. Although this topic is thoroughly discussed in our Air Force today, I felt compelled to write on its importance all the same. In a...
 
 

Have you joined the Air Force yet?

I enlisted into the Air Force in February of 1997. However, I didn’t join the Air Force until March of 1999. No, I’m not talking about the Delayed Enlistment Program. There was no doubt that after high school I would attend college. However, not having applied for any scholarships and realizing that I didn’t have...
 

 
Courtesy photo

Prevention training goes face-to-face

Courtesy photo Maj. Jennifer Tomlinson, Air Education and Training Command Medical Readiness Division deputy chief, serves as facilitator during the AETC Medical Services and Training directorate annual Air Force Suicide Preven...
 
 
Senior Airman
JAMES HENSLEY

Thunderbolt looks to future

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Maddie Baker, 56th Dental Squadron acting commander secretary was an Air Force Honor Guard member prior to crossing over to the dental field. As the commander’s secretary, she plays a piv...
 
 

Tuskegee Airmen commemorated

The Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter of Tuskegee Airman Inc. celebrated the 2nd Annual Tuskegee Airman Commemoration Day with a wreath ceremony Wednesday at the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park. The Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day is the result of legislation signed into law by former Arizona Governor Janice Brewer in 2013 and is the first such law...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin