Season Will Open At Rose Parade In Pasadena, CA January 1
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have finalized their 2014 show schedule. In its 61st season, the team is slated to perform 66 demonstrations at 34 locations. The flying unit, officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, will perform its first public flyover of 2014 at the opening of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 1.
The announcement of the schedule confirms the Defense Department’s commitment to supporting community engagement. Last October, in an internal memo to military service chiefs, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stressed a continuing need to maintain military demonstration teams. “Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States Military and in its most important asset — people,” Hagel asserted. “It is our obligation to sustain that trust well into the future.”
The resumption of demonstrations is good news for the squadron’s Airmen, who normally spend up to 220 days a year traveling. “We’re glad to be back,” said Lt. Col. Greg Moseley, Thunderbirds commander and lead pilot. “But, right now, we’re focused on training. While we’re excited to know we’ll be able to tell the Air Force story on the road, we’re completely focused on ensuring we have a safe show season.”
Charged with demonstrating the professionalism of Airmen and the capabilities of modern airpower, the Thunderbirds were formed in 1953. The 2014 season marks the 32nd year the squadron has performed in the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Assigned to Air Combat Command, the squadron is composed of nearly 130 Airmen serving in more than two dozen Air Force job specialties.
The primary product of that teamwork is a Thunderbirds aerial demonstration, which is approximately 40 maneuvers, varying between formation flying and solo routines. The entire show, including the beginning ground ceremony, lasts about one hour. A typical air show travel season extends from March to November.