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Friday, January 8, 2010

Thunderbirds are coming and looking for a hero

The Thunderbirds are coming to town and are looking for someone who's been good.

In the spirit of heroes like the Wright Brothers and of Airmen serving their country around the world, the Thunderbirds’ Hometown Hero program seeks to feature local heroes from communities where the Thunderbirds perform. A selected hometown hero will be scheduled to fly in one of the Thunderbirds’ F-16Ds.

The selected hero will fly with the Thunderbirds before the 2010 Open House and Air Show at Maxwell. The show is scheduled for March 27-28 and will highlight 100 years of flight since the Wright Brothers established their flying school at a site now part of Maxwell.

Nominations are solicited from local civic groups, law enforcement and other public safety agencies, education institutions and any other area where people perform acts of heroism or mentorship. Heroes might include, but are not limited to, an average citizen who heroically saved a life; a renowned teacher; a community humanitarian; a local firefighter, paramedic or police officer; one who mentors children or volunteers as a coach or tutor in a youth program; or someone who dedicates his/her life to working with at-risk children.

Hometown Hero flights are not a reward for an individual’s action. Instead, it is a way to showcase American people doing amazing things in their communities.

Nominees for the Hometown Hero flight must pass physical requirements and other qualifications. To nominate an individual for the Hometown Hero flight with the Thunderbirds, send an e-mail message to with the subject “Hometown Hero Nomination,” or write to Hometown Hero Nomination, Air University Public Affairs, 130 W. Maxwell Blvd, Maxwell AFB, AL, 36112. Provide a brief (less than 250 words) description about the nominee and the heroic act or community service for which the person is nominated. Please include a reliable phone number, the nominee’s full name, and their city of residence.

Nominees must meet Air Force flying Class II medical standards and must weigh between 140 and 211 lbs. (waivers must be requested outside this range; absolute max. and min. weight is 103-245 lbs.), be no taller than 6'5", no older than 55, have a men's boot size between 5 and 13; have a chest size between 34" and 48", waist size no larger than 38”, and must be able to speak and understand English. If selected, nominees must complete application materials. The flight, which will be scheduled on or around March 25, is subject to cancellation by the Thunderbirds for any reason, including weather, operational, logistical, medical, or other factors.

Those ineligible for the program include, but are not limited to, elected and appointed officials, newscasters, reporters or others who have the ability to garner publicity in their own right. People with felony convictions are not eligible for a flight under this program.

Nominations must be received (not postmarked) no later than Friday, Jan. 22, 2010. Nominations received after this date will not be considered.

Air show information can be found at The site is being continually updated, so check often.

For more information, call Ms. Lisa Warr at Air University Public Affairs at (334) 953-2014.


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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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