USAF Thunderbirds inspire many to become pilots

USAF Thunderbirds arrive at Peterson AFB for the Air Force Academy's graduation/FOX21 Christina Dawidowicz
USAF Thunderbirds arrive at Peterson AFB for the Air Force Academy's graduation/FOX21 Christina Dawidowicz

PETERSON AFB — See the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly and some see a dream soar with them.

“I’m actually interested in flying fighter planes and I would like love to become a Thunderbird in the future if possible,” said cadet first class Lacey Dreppard at the Air Force Academy.

The air demonstration squadron is back in Colorado Springs for the Air Force Academy’s graduation, giving the public an opportunity to see them in action, once again.

“They are just so amazing, how all the coordination works and it’s really cool,” said Elise Anton was there for the Thunderbirds’ arrival.

“It’s real inspirational to see the little girls here today who are interested in flying, and then to see the cadets who are interested in going after those hard, sought-after spots that traditionally have been you know, male-dominated,” said Lt. Col. Vivien Wu, director of operations for the 306th Operation Support Squadron.

Air Force officials say 20-percent of the pilot core is made up of female pilots, but it’s a percentage that’s grown over time.

“They’re some of the best pilots in the Air Force. You have to track to become a fighter pilot, which is hard enough in itself, you have to be the top of your career field to be able to become a Thunderbird and that would be so exciting for me to be able to do that,” Dreppard said.

For many, the Thunderbirds serve as an inspiration.

“The men and women that are overseas right now, turning wrenches, getting jets ready, flying in combat, defending bases, providing all the support that it takes to get jets in the air and bombs on target.” That’s what it means to be an American Airman and a Thunderbird,” said Maj. Joshua Boudreaux, Thunderbird #2, Left Wing.

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