The commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mark D. Kelly, has officially approved a one-year extension for the 2019 – 2020 officers to remain on the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the 2021 demonstration season.
This decision was made to maintain the team’s continuity and operational readiness to perform world-class demonstrations. This was a difficult decision, but one that was ultimately in the best interest of the Thunderbirds after a majority of the team’s 2020 air show demonstrations were canceled due to the coronavirus.
The following officers have been extended:
Lt. Col. John Caldwell, 2019-2020 Commander and Leader, will continue to fly the No. 1 jet and command the 130-person squadron.
Maj. Michael Brewer, 2019-2020 Right Wing Pilot, will transition to the Slot Pilot and fly the No. 4 jet for the 2021 demonstration season.
Maj. Michelle Curran, 2019-2020 Solo Pilot, will continue to fly the No. 5 jet as the team’s Lead Solo Pilot.
Maj. Jason Markzon, 2019-2020 Advance Pilot and Narrator, will continue to fly the No. 8 jet and narrate the team’s aerial demonstration during performances.
Lt. Col. (Dr.) Noel Colls, 2019-2020 Flight Surgeon, will continue to serve as Thunderbird 9 and provide medical care for the squadron’s team members and their families.
Maj. Zane Taylor, 2020 Slot Pilot, will transition to Right Wing Pilot and fly the No. 3 jet for the 2021 demonstration season. The position swap between Brewer and Taylor was made to ensure continuity of experience and preserve the team’s future aerial demonstration capabilities and readiness.
Maj. Trevor Aldridge, 2020 Left Wing Pilot, will not continue on the team in 2021 due to unexpected health reasons.
“Trevor has served the Thunderbirds honorably; and we are very appreciative of his hard work and dedication during the 2020 season,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, Thunderbirds commander and leader. “Trevor and his family will be sorely missed and supported as he transitions to his next assignment.”
The Thunderbirds public affairs team will make an official announcement once the Left Wing Pilot for the 2021 demonstration season is selected.
Officers currently serving as Thunderbirds 6, 7, 10, 11 and 12 will continue to serve their tour of duty for the 2021 demonstration season.
Source: USAF Thunderbirds press release.