July 23, 2014 – Join us for a night to remember Friday, August 1, at Theater in the Woods as five generations of United States Air Force Thunderbirds take the stage and talk about the history of the elite flight demonstration team.
Since May 25, 1953, the Thunderbirds have flown in front of more than 300 million people. The unit was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and took on the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore of the southwestern United States. Following the Korean War, the mission of the unit was to show the American public the safety, reliability, and maneuverability of jet-engine aircraft, which were still new at the time.
The team has always used combat-capable fighters for its performances. This includes the Republic F-84G Thunderjet (1953-54); the Republic F-84G Thunderstreak (1955); the North American F-100 Super Sabre (1956-68); the Republic F-105B Thunderchief (1964); the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom (1969-73); and, of course, the F-16 they’ve been flying for almost 40 years.
This once in a lifetime panel will include the 2014 Thunderbird pilots and Thunderbird alumni, Maj. Gen. Brian Bishop; Col. Stephen B. Dwelle; Maj. Gen. Charles “Chuck” Simpson; Brig. Gen. Dan Cherry; Maj. Gen. Hank Canterbury; and making a spectacular evening even greater, joining us will be U.S. Air Force Col. Todd “Tales” Canterbury.
Col. Canterbury and his father, Maj. Gen. Hank Canterbury are the only father and son duo to ever serve on any demonstration team. Tales was the Solo pilot from 2002-2004 (three years on the team), and the Lead Solo No. 5 for two years.
The program is slated for 8-10 p.m.