Editor’s Note: FighterSweep Fans, I’m not quite sure what to say about this one. “I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity, and [aircraft type] background.” That is a line out of an email written by the Wing Commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Brigadier General Christopher Short, the man presiding over the pool of applicants for the America’s Ambassadors in Blue–the Thunderbirds. The last time we heard, applicants were…applicants.
There are qualifications a pilot applying for a position on the team needs to have in order to even be considered. An airplane is the greatest equalizer in the world. It doesn’t care if you’re male or female, Caucasian or Asian, short or tall, skinny or overweight, Christian or Jewish. It responds to control inputs made by a pilot. And that pilot needs to have or her A-game…every…single…time the team flies.
The Air Force’s vaunted Thunderbirds jet fighter aerobatics team is not diverse enough inside the cockpit.
Brig. Gen. Christopher M. Short, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, said in an email last month that of 15 pilot applicants for three openings, 14 are white.
He asked fighter wing commanders to stir up more candidates who “don’t necessarily look like each of you.” He bemoaned the fact that, not only is there a lack of diversity, but the number of applicants to make the world-famous team has taken a puzzling drop in the past two years.
“I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbirds team,” is how Gen. Short begins his email.
“While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” Gen. Short wrote.
We encourage you to check out the original article at the Washington Post, in its entirety, right here. Then let is know your thoughts!
(Featured photo courtesy of the Washington Post)