On Jan 7, The USAF Demonstration Squadron changed Commanding officer Lt. Col. Christopher Hammond with Lt. Col. Jason Heard who took command of the Thunderbirds and became the 35th Commander/Leader of the Squadron.
Colonel Heard earned his commission in 1999 as a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Initially, Lt. Col. Heard was an F-15E Weapons Systems Operator prior to attending pilot training. He subsequently served in F-15E squadrons as an instructor pilot and evaluator. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, he led an F-15E squadron in combat as an expeditionary squadron commander. He has logged more than 3,000 flight hours with 788 hours of combat experience. Colonel Heard is in his first season with the team and hails from Sugarland, TX.