Leader Blues

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TOP STORY >> Base doctor will soar with Thunderbirds

By AIRMAN 1ST CLASS
ROCHELLE CLACE
19TH Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When the Thunderbirds, the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, announced officer selections for the 2010 demonstration season, a Little Rock Air Force Base captain was just what the doctor ordered … literally.

Capt. (Dr.) Thomas Bowden, 62nd Airlift Squadron flight surgeon, was picked to become the team’s new flight surgeon, or Thunderbird No. 9.

The doctor reports for training in early November and begins touring with the team in early 2010.

His new position will require him to travel with the “Ambassadors in Blue” for the next two years.

“As the team physician, my primary responsibility is providing medical care for the 130-member team with a priority placed on keeping the pilots in optimum health to fly their rigorous year-round flying schedule,” said Bowden. “I will also be providing pre-flight medical exams to the people selected for media and hometown hero flights.”

Bowden expressed how he felt when he found out he was selected for the position. “It was a mixture of pride, exhilaration and relief of anticipation after an application process that lasted about six months,” he said. “It’s an immense honor to be selected for this position, especially given my background in the Air Force.”

The doctor entered the Air Force as an Airman Basic in 1991, serving as a C-141B loadmaster at McChord Air Force Base prior to returning as a physician. Being a Thunderbird is a dream come true for him.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of keeping the team healthy and fit for duty to meet the demands of one of the busiest schedules in the Air Force. I am also looking forward to traveling and meeting new people. I love being a physician and I love interaction with people. This duty will provide the best of both worlds and I’m excited to begin,” said Bowden.

Selection for the air demonstration team is competitive and the officers selected will be representing the Air Force in its entirety. The team is truly the “Best of the Best.”

In an article published by the Air Demonstration Squadron, Lt. Col. Greg Thomas, commander and Thunderbird No. 1 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., said, “All Thunderbirds are hand selected based on a proven record of service, capabilities in their field and a demonstrated commitment to excellence that matches the airmen we strive to represent daily.”