THUNDERBIRDS COMMANDER RELIEVED OF DUTY

The U.S. Air Force has removed the commander of the Thunderbirds demonstration team due to a loss of confidence in his abilities to lead the squadron.

Air Force removed Thunderbirds commander
U.S. Air Force removed Thunderbirds commander Lt. Col. Jason Heard

According to USAF press release, Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander, relieved Lt. Col. Jason Heard of command of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron upon the completion of the 2017 season effective Nov. 20, 2017.

While Heard led the team through a highly successful show season, Leavitt lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style.

Leavitt determined that new leadership was necessary to ensure the highest levels of pride, precision and professionalism within the team.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one that is ultimately in the best interests of the Thunderbird team. I am personally grateful for Jason's dedication to the 2017 season," Leavitt said.

According to a spokesman for the Team, the accident that involved Thunderbird 8 on June 23 (More details here) was not the reason of his removal.

Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, the Thunderbird’s 2016-2017 Operations Officer, has temporarily assumed responsibility of the team until a new commander is selected.

The Thunderbirds have recently completed their acrobatic season 2017 during the Nellis Aviation Nation Air Show (Our reportage is available here).

The Demo Team is currently preparing for the 2018 season (Schedule is available here), training their new pilots, and look forward to inspiring crowds around the country.

Source, Image credit: USAF


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