NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Hostage III, has officially selected the officers who will be joining the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the 2014 demonstration season.
Lt. Col. Matthew Bradley, 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron director of operations from Tyndall AFB, Fla., will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron’s commander and lead pilot. As the twofold duty title implies, his responsibilities will include commanding a force of more than 100 enlisted service members and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the Thunderbirds, along with leading all demonstration flights. Bradley will replace Lt. Col. Greg Moseley.
Maj. Scott Petz, an F-16 pilot stationed here, will become Thunderbird No. 3, the team’s right wing pilot. He 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. Petz will replace Maj. Caroline Jensen.
Capt. Ryan Wick, 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 aircraft. Capt. Jason Curtis, the current opposing solo pilot, will transition to the lead solo position in 2014, replacing Maj. Blaine Jones.
Capt. Joshua Larsen, an F-16 pilot currently stationed at Shaw AFB, S.C., 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. Larsen will replace Maj. Michael Fisher.
The team is still reviewing applications for the position of Thunderbird 9, the team’s flight surgeon. An announcement will be made once the selection is finalized.
“All who applied demonstrated outstanding support to our Air Force and our nation,” Moseley said. “After an extensive interview and selection process, I’m confident the future of the Thunderbirds is in good hands.”
The 12 officer positions on the team are two-year tours of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, allowing the squadron to maintain continuity of experience and leadership. In odd-numbered years, Thunderbird Nos. 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 12 are replaced.
The year 2014 will mark the Thunderbirds’ 61st 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.