The Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron has released its 2009 air show schedule. (Complete list) The Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform more than 73 shows in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Far East during 2009, their 56th season. “We are focused on making this season thrilling for audiences from Ocean City, Md., to the Far East,” said Lt. Col. Greg Thomas, the team’s commander and leader. The season kicks off March 21-22 at Luke AFB, Ariz. Among the shows, the team will perform in Battle Creek, Mich., on July 4th, and in Cleveland, Ohio, for Labor Day. The squadron will be in the Far East from late September through October. Its final appearance this year will be Nov 14-15 at Nellis AFB, Nev. This year marks the first time that an Air National Guard pilot and an Air Force Reserve pilot are part of the elite group. The Thunderbirds also recently completed a swap of their older F-16 Block 32 aircraft for more advanced and powerful F-16 Block 52 airplanes that will debut this season.
The Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness revised the Defense Department’s COVID-19 guidelines. The new rules clarify what’s meant by being “up to date” on vaccinations and when personnel must wear masks in vehicles, among other changes.