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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Air Force Thunderbirds Too Male, Too White

The Air Force’s vaunted Thunderbirds jet fighter aerobatics team is not diverse enough inside the cockpit.

Brig. Gen. Christopher M. Short, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, said in an email last month that of 15 pilot applicants for three openings, 14 are white.

He asked fighter wing commanders to stir up more candidates who “don’t necessarily look like each of you.” He bemoaned the fact that, not only is there a lack of diversity, but the number of applicants to make the world-famous team has taken a puzzling drop in the past two years.

“I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbirds team,” is how Gen. Short begins his email.

“While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” Gen. Short wrote.

All eight current Thunderbird pilots are white males. Of the eight, six fly the demonstrations, one flies as the lead and narrator, and one is the operations officer. They fly on the team for two years, and three of the six demonstration fliers are replaced annually.

Gen. Short told the story of former Thunderbird pilot Caroline “Blaze” Jensen, the team’s right wing and No. 3 (now one of the openings), who was not only a skilled performer but also a public relations asset. The longest lines of fans seeking autographs typically formed in front of her.



Anonymous said...

Election Day cannot come any sooner ...hopefully we can see an end to the constant Progressive rhetoric taking aim at American opportunities through the prism of Political Correctness.. and it's belligerent activism

Anonymous said...

How about choosing on ability and performance and not color or sex.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I want the most qualified in these positions, regardless. Certain times and places where political correctness takes a back seat.

Anonymous said...

6:41-Election day or not,this crap will always be with us.

Claudia Balzac said...

Sure, go right ahead...use "affirmative action" instead of ability, aptitude and skill, to choose the most qualified pilots.

That'll clear itself up.

Anonymous said...

Why not? Because of the Oscar nonsense there will now be an asterisk next to future African American nominees because they HAD to nominate them.Oscar nominations are decided by virtue of over 5,000 Academy voters with an African American female at the head of it.Any future nominations will therefore be cheapened.The Thunderbird hiring principle is the same.Merit appears to have no place in society anymore.

Anonymous said...

Woman who fly airplane upside down have crack up.

Anonymous said...

General PC should cut his retirement papers.

There are a finite number of active duty pilots currently trained to fly the Thunderbirds' aircraft. And from his comments they've already had a female on the team so that bubble has been burst.

Since they fly in quite a few shows being on the team probably represents a continuous deployment in many respects.

Maybe he can snag another star by recruiting an illegal alien transgender pilot!