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: 08/23/2015

2015 Reunion Registration If you’d like to register and pay for the 2015 reunion, CLICK HERE.


 

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. See the names of the more than 2,000 people who have worn the Thunderbirds patch. Alumni, Associates, Honorary Thunderbirds and Honorary Crew Chiefs can update their own profile by clicking on the "Member Login" button above.

If you have other questions, please contact Al Eakle, the administrator, below.

Contact Us
Send an Email to:

ThunderLinks
             



  • Fundraiser Helps Parents of Former Thunderbirds
    Shawn “Norm” Pederson (Solo 2001- 02) is recovering from a cerebral aneurysm which he suffered in September 2014....More
  • Former Thunderbird NCO Competes in American Ninja Warrior
    A comment by his kids ultimately led a former Thunderbird to enter a nationally televised sports entertainment competition...More
  • Joining Forces Announces New Executive Director
    A former Thunderbirds Right Wing pilot has been named to lead a White House effort to support service members, veterans and military families....More
  • Former Thunderbird Helps Paralyzed Veterans
    A spinal cord injury ended the 14-year Air Force career of a former Thunderbird, who was recently reelected as a national vice president of an organization dedicated to changing lives and buildi...More
  • 2015 Reunion Itinerary
    Wednesday, Nov. 11 Reunion Registration Desk- Open from 2-6 p.m. at the South Point Conference Center. ...More
  • New Board Leads Association in 2016 - 17
    Results of elections are in and a new Thunderbirds Alumni Association Board of Directors will take office and start their four - year terms Jan. 1....More
  • New Board Leads Association in 2016 - 17
    Results of elections are in and a new Thunderbirds Alumni Association Board of Directors will take office and start their four - year terms Jan. 1....More
  • Planning Underway for 2015 Reunion Nov. 12-14
    Planning is in full swing for this year’s reunion Nov. 12-14 and once again the South Point Hotel, Ca-sino and Spa will host the three-day event....More
  • Thunderbirds Alumni Association offering new posters
    The Thunderbirds Alumni Association is offering two new posters through their website (www.tbaa.org) in the General Sales sub-tab under the Merchandise tab on the home page....More
  • 60 Years of Thunder Giclee Order Form
    60 Years of Thunder giclee's still available....More