Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Thunderbirds History - How It All Began

In 1947, while the jet age was still in its infancy, military aviation was hurtled into the future with the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service. Just six years later, the Air Force wanted an air demonstration team.

The job of forming the team fell to Major Smokey Catledge, the unit's first commander/leader. His immediate task was to find six officers and 22 enlisted to form the first team and get them ready for their first demonstration at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. three weeks later.

The Air Force's official air demonstration team, designated the 3600th USAF Air Demonstration Unit/Flight, was activated on May 25, 1953. The unit adopted the name "Thunderbirds",influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the southwestern United States where Luke Air Force Base is located. Three months later the name “Thunderbirds" was added to the unit designation.

Last Update: 02/16/2019

 

Download the free app on your smartphone.
Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store


 

Welcome to the Thunderbirds Alumni Association website.

On it you will learn the history of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, "Thunderbirds," and the Thunderbird Alumni Association as well. If you are Thunderbirds Alumni, an Associate, Honorary Thunderbirds or Honorary Crew Chiefs and DON'T see your name listed it's because you haven't registered on the website. To register, click the "Member Login" button and when a new window opens, click the red Name not in ROSTER? Join Us link. If you are a register user and have forgotten you password, click the "Member Login" button and when a new window opens click the Forgot Password? Link.

If you have other questions, please contact Dylan Hulbert, the administrator, below.

Contact Us
Send an Email to:

ThunderLinks
                    

TBAA Endowment Fund >>



  • Graveside Services Slated for Col. (Ret) Roger Parrish March 22
    Graveside services will be held March 22 for former Thunderbirds Commander/Leader Col. (Ret)Roger Parrish at the Phoenix National Veterans Cemetery in Phoenix. Services are slated to begin at 11 a.m. ...More
  • REUNION 2019!!!
    The theme for this year's reunion is "Route 66" in honor of the 66th anniversary of the Thunderbirds. The dates are 14-16 November and the festivities will be hosted at the SOUTHPOINT hotel. It will...More
  • Thunderbirds have a new Executive Director
    the new Thunderbird Executive Director is Ms. Jody Roberts. She was on the team in the PA Admin shop from 1987 thru 1991. Welcome aboard Jody. And she can be reached at admintbaa@brighthouse.com...More
  • New challenge coin recognizes two Thunderbirds anniversaries
    The Thunderbirds Alumni Association (TBAA) will be launching a new fundraising effort to recognize two Thunderbirds anniversaries in 2018....More
  • New APPs available for Android, Apple mobile devices Those
    Those people with either an Android or Apple mobile device (phone, tablet or iPad) might want to download and check out TBAA’s new APP. The free downloads located in the Google Play store and Appleâ...More
  • Challenge Coin Bottle Openers
    This dog tag-shaped bottle opener salutes both the current Thunderbirds team and Thunderbirds alumni who came before them. The Dog Tag Bottle Opener features the Thunderbirds Patch on one side, and th...More