A Tyndall Air Force Base officer has been selected to lead one of the Air Force's most high profile commands.
Lt. Col. Matthew "Pipper" Bradley will take over the Thunderbirds Aerial Demonstration Team next year.
He is currently the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron Operations Director, but during his next tour, he will be commanding the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
As commander of the Thunderbirds he will be responsible for 120 pilots and crew members selected from Air Force units around the globe.
"We just represent the U.S. Air Force, the guys and gals going out and doing the real mission, securing America,” Lt. Col. Bradley said. “The Thunderbirds are a way to show thanks back to the American public."
Becoming a Thunderbird is something Bradley and his three young sons have been dreaming about ever since he took them to their first air show.
"My youngest son got a flight suit for Christmas so he wears that around the house like he's a Thunderbird."
Lt. Col Bradley has spent most of his career flying F-15 Eagles, the Thunderbirds fly the F-16 Falcons.
"Next January I'll fly with the Thunderbirds and train with the 2014 team. Get ready for the air show season."
Besides flying about 30 air shows a year, the thunderbirds also make appearances at schools and hospitals in the towns where they perform.
Bradley will serve two years as commander of the Thunderbirds.
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