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PRESS RELEASE: Thunderbirds Commander Relieved of Duty

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  • United States Air Demonstration Squadron



Nellis Air Force Base

United States Air Demonstration Squadron

4445 Tyndall Avenue

Nellis AFB, NV 89191

Phone: (702) 652-9932

Twitter: @afthunderbirds


Advisory No. 20171129-01
Date: Nov. 29, 2017

Thunderbirds Commander Relieved of Duty

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, 57th Wing Commander, relieved Lt. Col. Jason Heard of command of the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron upon the completion of the 2017 season effective Nov. 20, 2017.


While Heard led the team through a highly successful show season, Leavitt lost confidence in his leadership and risk management style.


Leavitt determined that new leadership was necessary to ensure the highest levels of pride, precision and professionalism within the team.


"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but one that is ultimately in the best interests of the Thunderbird team. I am personally grateful for Jason's dedication to the 2017 season," Leavitt said.


Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh, the Thunderbird’s 2016-2017 Operations Officer, has temporarily assumed responsibility of the team until a new commander is selected.


The Thunderbirds are preparing for the 2018 season, training their new pilots, and look forward to inspiring crowds around the country.