For as long as there has been jets in the sky, there have been maintainers launching them. For the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds,” it is no different.
Every F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the Thunderbirds has a two-person team responsible for the successful launch, recovery, maintenance, and overall safety and cleanliness of that jet. This elite group of maintainers responsible for the Thunderbirds ground show is called ‘Showline.’
As it is with any squadron, each aircraft has a dedicated crew chief (DCC) and an assistant dedicated crew chief (ADCC) and to have their own jet they have to be the best of the best.
“Being competitively assigned to the Thunderbird maintenance team in and of itself is a spectacular career achievement, those that are further selected to be members of “Showline” truly represent the most capable logisticians and maintainers that the Air Force has to offer,” said Capt. Mike Bell, Thunderbirds’ Maintenance Officer. “To be selected to Showline, we first consider the maintainer’s technical ability and duty performance while on the team.”
Once a member is selected to become Showline, they immediately take on the responsibility of their aircraft.
“Our duties include breaking down the jets and preparing them for flight, ensuring all components are complete and serviced, setting up the cockpit with the pilots vital gear, and making sure the jet is spic and span for the show,” said Tech. Sgt. Kristyne Pierson, 5 Load assistant dedicated crew chief.
The job of Showline doesn’t stop at jet maintenance, as ‘Ambassadors in Blue’ they become part of the face of the enlisted corps in the United States Air Force to the American public.
“Other things we participate in are attending hospital visits, Make A Wish events, and a plethora of college and high school visits as we fulfill our promise to recruit, retain and inspire the next generation of Airmen,” said Pierson.
Although the jets are our most visible assets, it is the Airmen who make the mission possible.
“These members selected to Showline are charged as a team to represent the thousand of maintainers who work in tough conditions both at home and deployed in the effort of combat sortie generation,” said Bell. “It’s our collective privilege to showcase to the American public the capabilities of their Airmen.”
The following Airmen have been selected to serve as the Thunderbirds’ 2021 Showline:
1 Load: SSgt. Nicholas Martinez, TSgt. Paton Holmes
2 Load: SSgt. Andrew Harris, TSgt. Zachary Martin
3 Load: SSgt. William Wiles, SSgt. Corey Allen
4 Load: SSgt. Xavier Knapp, SSgt. Ryan Jackson
5 Load: SSgt. Jessica Englishbee, TSgt. Kristyne Pierson
6 Load: SSgt. Melvin Laxamana, SSgt. Christopher Thompson
7 Load: SSgt. Edward Santana-Acosta, SSgt. Jimmy Navar
7.Load: SSgt. Charles Bolles, SrA Alphonso Nelson
.7 Load: SSgt. Joshua Echevarria,SSgt. Corey Brooks
.7. Load: SSgt. Elijah Huntley, SSgt. Joshua Sacerio
8 Load: TSgt. Zachary Gant, SSgt. AC Buenaventura
8.Load: TSgt. Walter Rueda-Perez, SSgt. Anthony Rojas