News: Covington native selected for Air Force demonstration flying team
Story by A1C Briana Jones
31 Fighter Wing Public Affairs
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy - An Aviano airman assigned to the 31st Operations Support Squadron was recently chosen to serve as Thunderbird No.2 with the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron for 2013 and 2014.
Capt. Joshua Boudreaux, 31st OSS aircrew flight equipment commander, is scheduled to assume the role of the elite squadron's left wing position, demonstrating the skill, precision and teamwork of today's Air Force by flying inches away from other Thunderbirds.
Boudreaux first heard of his selection after receiving a phone call from the current Thunderbird officers.
"Hearing their voices saying congrats was very humbling, but I was also very honored," Boudreaux said. "All the members [I competed against] are wonderful people and true professionals so to be selected out of that group was just a huge honor."
More than 30 pilot applicants from around the Air Force were narrowed down based off of experience in each applicant's careers and the final six were interviewed by the 57th Wing commander and the Thunderbirds' commander and team. After the interviews, the final applicants shadowed the Thunderbirds they hoped to replace, in order to learn how the team interacts amongst each other and the work and effort that goes into accomplishing the mission week after week. After this integration period, the newest Thunderbirds are chosen.
Boudreaux earned his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 2003 and has been stationed at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., Luke AFB, Ariz., and Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. He has held numerous positions including chief of programming, assistant flight commander, flight commander, and instructor pilot and has received multiple leadership and academic awards.
"Capt. Boudreaux is awesome. It's really that simple. He's a leader, a combat proven fighter pilot, a true professional, and has a unique ability to translate his love and dedication to our service to the people around him," said Lt. Col. Jason Bailey, 31st OSS commander. "Now as a Thunderbird, he'll be able to use that rare talent to reach out to people across the world on behalf of our Air Force."
Being selected as a Thunderbird can be a life and career changing opportunity with its own built-in challenges; however, Boudreaux said he is excited about the challenges he might face and is ready to face them head on.
"When you are in the military, people every day and everywhere see you as a symbol and an ambassador for all who wear a uniform and that is a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly," said Boudreaux. "I want to be able to tell some of my stories and share my experiences, as well the experiences of those who I have served with. I am humbled to be given that opportunity."