06/11/09 — Seymour Johnson AFB pilot picked for team

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Seymour Johnson AFB pilot picked for team

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on June 11, 2009 1:46 PM

A 4th Fighter Wing officer has been selected to fly with one of the most storied flight demonstration teams in the world.

Capt. Chad Shenk was announced Wednesday as an incoming officer for the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Shenk, who will soon be known as "Thunderbird No. 3," will serve as the "Right Wing" for the team.

The Thunderbirds are based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and tour the country -- and the world -- each year.

Officers chosen for the team generally serve a two-year assignment and, if needed, can be integrated into fighter squadrons at Nellis during that time.

The team was activated in 1953 as the 3600th Air Demonstration Team at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and gave its first performance at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyo.

By August 1953, they had flown 26 shows in their F-84 Thunderjets, led by Maj. Gen. Dick Catledge.

Today, the team performs dozens of times each year in F-16 Fighting Falcons.