Events

May 17, 2012

Air Fest 2012: U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

Tags:

On May 25, 1953, the Air Force’s official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th Air Demonstration Unit, was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. The unit adopted the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States.

USAF Photo by Staff Sgt. Kristi Machado

Seven officers and 22 enlisted were selected for the first demonstration team. From these humble beginnings and this group of men, the Air Force Thunderbird legend was born.

The team flew and maintained the F-84G Thunderjet. The straight-wing configuration of the F-84G was considered well suited for aerobatic and demonstration maneuvers.

Always trying to display the most advanced fighters of the age, the swept-wing F-84F Thunderstreak became the team’s new aircraft in 1955.

After one season in the F-84F Thunderstreak, the Thunderbirds traded aircraft again and became the world’s first supersonic aerial demonstration team as it transitioned to the F-100C Super Sabre in 1956. That same year, to simplify logistics and maintenance for the aircraft, the Thunderbirds moved to Nellis AFB, Nev.

Nearly forgotten, the F-105B Thunderchief performed only six shows. Following an unfortunate accident in the F-105, the team transitioned back to the Super Sabre and the F-100 remained with the team for nearly 13 years.

In the spring of 1969, the team received the first of the new McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom IIs. In 1974, a spreading fuel crisis inspired a new aircraft for the team, the T-38A Talon.

Remaining true to its character to showcase the latest advancement in America’s fighter technology, the first F-16A assigned to the Thunderbirds was delivered to Nellis AFB on Jun. 22, 1982.

U.S. Air Force photograph by Technical Sgt Justin D. Pyle

In 1997, the Thunderbirds performed 57 demonstrations for more than 12 million people in the spirit and theme of the Air Force’s 50th anniversary.

Since the team’s inception, 325 officers have worn the distinguished emblem of “America’s Ambassadors in Blue.”
The Thunderbirds Show Line consists of 24 professionals in various aircraft maintenance specialties. During the 2012 season, its 59th year, the team will spend more than 200 days on the road.

Millions of people have witnessed the Thunderbirds demonstrations, and in turn, they’ve seen the pride, professionalism and dedication of hundreds of thousands of Airmen serving at home and abroad.

Each year brings another opportunity for the team to represent those who deserve the most credit: the everyday, hard-working Airmen voluntarily serving America and defending freedom.

For more about the Thunderbirds, visit www.afthunderbirds.com.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher

Rising Six adds splash of color to drill weekends

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Megan Crusher Runners are dowsed with color by volunteers as they round the last station before crossing the finish line during the 5K Fun Color Run Aug. 9, hosted by the 452nd Air Mobility Wing ...
 
 

B-17 duty was tiring yet memorable

(Second in an 11-part series that was first run in the Beacon in 2007) B-17 Flying Fortresses were noisy, cold and reliable, men who flew and repaired them for the 452nd Bombardment Group recall. “It was so loud, I could yell in the pilot’s ear from six inches away and he couldn’t hear me,” said...
 
 

Service members receiving RAND Military Workplace Survey

FORT MEADE, Md. — About 580,000 service members have begun receiving emails or letters inviting them to participate in the first RAND Military Workplace Study, Defense Department officials said. Active and reserve component members in all military branches and the Coast Guard are being invited to participate. “The survey is unprecedented in its scale and...
 

 

452 Aerial Port Support Flight hosts Marine training operation

More than two dozen light armored reconnaissance vehicles, equipment and personnel were transported by the 1st Light Armor Reconnaissance Battalion from Camp Pendleton, California, to launch a training operation at March Air Reserve Base, July 21. This exercise allowed the 1st LAR the ability to apply capabilities and core mission essential tasks learned at their...
 
 
Courtesy photo

HomeStrong USA gives opportunity for free home-ownership to local military veteran

Courtesy photo A volunteer, working with HomeStrong USA, makes repairs on the outside of a home that is being renovated for a deserving veteran. The non-profit organization donates renovated single-family homes to eligible vete...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2014

BONE MARROW DRIVE HERE SEPT 13 March Top 3 Association is hosting the C.W. Bill Young Department of Defense Marrow Donor Program, Salute to Life Drive on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014 in the grassy area outside the base Fitness Center, Bldg. 465 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. It’s quick and painless! Please join us in...
 




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