NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Gen. Mike Hostage III, commander of Air Combat Command, has officially released the names of the officers who will be joining the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron later this year, to begin preparations for the 2015 demonstration season.
Lt. Col. Christopher Hammond, the director of operations for the 16th Weapons Squadron at the USAF Weapons School here at Nellis AFB, NV, will become Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron’s commander and lead pilot. He will have the unique dual responsibilities of commanding a force of more than 100 enlisted service members and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the squadron, along with leading all demonstration flights. Hammond will replace Lt. Col. Greg Moseley.
Capt. Alexander Goldfein, a F-15C pilot stationed at Kadena AB, Japan, will become Thunderbird No. 3, the squadron’s right wing pilot. During formation flying, he will fly as close as 18 inches from the No. 1 jet, demonstrating the training and teamwork of America’s Air Force. Goldfein will replace Maj. Caroline Jensen.
Capt. Nicholas Eberling, a F-15E pilot currently stationed at Seymore-Johnson AFB, NC, will become Thunderbird No. 6, the squadron’s opposing solo pilot. The solo pilots perform maneuvers that showcase some of the 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.
Maj. Scott Petz, a F-16C pilot currently stationed here at Nellis AFB, NV, will become Thunderbird No. 8, the squadron’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. Petz will replace Maj. Michael Fisher.
Capt. Christopher Scheibler, a flight surgeon stationed at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will become Thunderbird 9, the team’s flight surgeon. He will manage the health needs of the entire squadron while advising the commander on aero-medical issues.
“As usual, it was a challenge choosing from so many talented Airmen from within our Air Force,” Moseley said. “As we stay focused on safety and reconnecting the public with our nation’s military, we’re confident the Airmen we’ve chosen are well-qualified to serve as Air Force ambassadors. I’m excited about the future of the squadron.”
The USAFADS retains 12 officer positions, with each serving a two-year tour of duty. By design, the position openings are staggered, so the squadron maintains continuity of experience and leadership. In odd-numbered years, Thunderbirds 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, and 12 are replaced.
The year 2015 will be the squadron’s 62nd 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 pride, precision and professionalism embodied by American Airmen serving around the world.