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San Antonio-based pilot tapped to join Air Force Thunderbirds team


  • Facebook / Air Force Thunderbirds
The elite Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team this week used social media to introduce a new operations officer, who happens to be based at San Antonio’s Kelly Field.

Major Thomas Werner of the 182nd Fighter Squadron at Texas Air National Guard at Kelly Field will serve as the team’s operations officer starting in June. His tasks will include overseeing all air space coordination, safety observation and ground communication with the pilots during aerial demonstrations.

The organization called Werner “an experienced leader and skilled F-16 pilot.” Makes sense: he's garnered more than 2,400 flight hours, including 912 spent in combat support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Thunderbirds demonstration team originally began as the 30th Aero Squadron, activated for the first time during World War I in 1917. The squadron has seen several iterations since then — inactive and active alike — but currently operates as the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, known publicly as the Thunderbirds.

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