U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Select New Officers for 2019 Season


On July 20, Commander, Air Combat Command General Mike Holmes officially announced the new officers who will be joining the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds team for the 2019 air show season.

Lieutenant Colonel John Caldwell of the 28th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida will assume the position of Thunderbird No. 1, the squadron’s Commander and Team Lead. In this role, Caldwell will be responsible for commanding more than 120 enlisted personnel and 11 commissioned officers assigned to the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Caldwell will be succeed the team’s current commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Walsh.

Captain Michael Brewer of the 334th Fighter Squadron will take over the position of Thunderbird No. 3, the team’s right wing pilot. Brewer is currently stationed with the 334th Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina. Brewer will be replacing Major Nate Hoffman.

Major Whit Collins, the current lead solo pilot for the team, will transition to the role of Thunderbird No. 4. Collins will replace Major Nick Krajicek, the team’s current slot pilot.

Captain Michelle Curran of the 355th Fighter Squadron will assume the position of Thunderbird No. 6, the Opposing Solo Pilot. Major Matt Kimmel, the current Thunderbird No. 6, will transition to lead solo in 2019.

The position of Thunderbird No. 8 will be taken over by Major Jason Markzon, 35th Maintenance Operations Flight Commander and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot assigned to the 13th Fighter Squadron at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Markzon will succeed Major Branden Felker.

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