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The USAF Thunderbirds Alumni Association

Active duty Thunderbirds founded the Thunderbirds Alumni Association in 1975. Up to that time the organization's biennial reunion was run by the Team itself, and several defense contractors donated small premiums to the effort. The Team was concerned that it might be in violation of Air Force regulations by using active-duty personnel to coordinate with defense contractors, even though they held the events in civilian locations off-base. As a result, Major Chris Patterakis, Commander/Leader, floated the idea that an organization other than the Team should run the reunions. It was a very busy year, and the idea languished.

In October 1975, a confluence of events not associated with the Team provided the impetus for the establishment of such an organization. After consulting with Capt. Bob Gore, his information officer, Major Patterakis ordered the formation of an alumni association and gave Captain Gore the responsibility of pursuing the task.

Captain Matt Mattingley, the Team's executive officer, withdrew monies from a fund that the Team officers maintained in order to write a check to the Nevada Secretary of State. Attached to the check was an application for incorporation and bylaws hastily written by Gore and Mattingly using those of the Mormon Genealogy Society as a guide. The Thunderbirds Alumni Association (TBAA) was in business.


The Thunderbirds Alumni Association exists to promote the comradeship of former and current members of the U. S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron "The Thunderbirds" and to ensure that "Once A Thunderbird, Always A Thunderbird" is a continued commitment from each member and that excellence remains the benchmark by which we measure all we do. Under the Internal Revenue Code, (IRC) the Thunderbirds Alumni Association is a 501C (19) veterans organization.

Thunderbirds Alumni Association Membership

The Thunderbirds Alumni Association has four categories of membership: alumni, team, honorary and associate.

Alumni membership

Alumni membership is extended to all who served with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron " Thunderbirds" in the capacity of officer or enlisted, who wore the patch and have been certified as worthy by their Commander/Leader.

Team membership

Team membership is extended to current team officers and enlisted who have satisfactorily completed their training period.

Honorary membership

Honorary membership is extended to team-selected Honorary Thunderbirds and Honorary Crew Chiefs.

Associate membership

Associate membership may be extended to people who have been assigned to the team, such as Chaplains or Flight Surgeons (prior to 1994). Associate membership may also be extended, by a majority vote of the TBAA Board of Directors, to spouses of deceased alumni members, key personnel or special friends who support the team or association.