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2004 grad makes 2018 Thunderbirds list


U.S. Thunderbirds Public Affairs, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada/July 3, 2017

A 2004 Air Force Academy graduate has been selected to join the Thunderbirds next year.

Maj. Eric Gorney, a 2004 Academy graduate, is assigned to the 613th Air Operations Center at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. He’s slated to fly as Thunderbird No. 7, the team’s operations officer.

His duties with the Air Force aerial demonstration team will include airspace coordination, ground communication with the pilots in the air and safety observation. Gorney will replace Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, a 2002 Academy graduate.

The other officers selected are Capts. William Graeff, 88th Fighter Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Texas; Stephen Del Bagno, 58th Fighter Squadron, Eglin AFB, Florida; Matthew Kimmel, 79th Fighter Squadron, Shaw AFB, South Carolina; Lauren Venturini, 704th Munitions Support Squadron, Ghedi Air Base, Italy; and Kassandra Mangosing, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.

Also selected was Maj. Raymond Geoffroy, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

“The entire field of officer applicants this year was phenomenal,” said Lt. Col. Jason Heard, Thunderbirds commander. “The seven officers selected for the team will no doubt bring the level of pride, precision and professionalism to uphold the tradition of excellence of our team.”

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, selected the officers for the Thunderbirds 2018 demonstration season.