USAF Thunderbird pilot says flying is a dream

Published 04/24 2014 10:57PM

Updated 04/27 2014 08:16PM

The roar of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds took over Barksdale Air Force base Thursday afternoon.

The Thunderbirds are the main attraction of the Defenders of Liberty Air Show this year.

“It'll be fast, it'll be coming from every direction, and there's always something to show you the professionalism and precision of the United States Air Force," says Major Warren Carroll.

Six out of the eight pilots will be performing, and they spent much of the afternoon surveying the area.

"What we do is we fly around and we look at all the different references on the ground, where the different lines are going to be, where we're going to be flying the maneuvers, like when we want to do the loops and the rolls, and all the high speed passes that you're going to get to see this weekend," Major Caroline Jensen.

Major Jensen has been flying with the Thunderbirds for two years.

"What I really wanted to be a fighter pilot, and I was lucky like a lot of people on the team,” says Major Jensen. “We've all served in combat, been deployed, and the Thunderbirds that was something opportunity that came to me later, and I was really excited to get a chance to go and do it."

For her, the opportunity fulfills a life-long dream.

"When I was a 13 year-old kid, I saw the Thunderbirds fly, and that's why I'm here today,” says Major Jensen. “I hope I'm inspiring the next generation, the future of the air force." 

Flying hundreds of miles per hour, sometimes within feet of her neighbor, Major Jensen says this is a show you don't want to miss.

Plus, this show season, the Thunderbirds are honoring Army Staff Sgt. Michael Garcia. 

In 2011, SSgt. Garcia was killed in an IED attack in Afghanistan, and his name will be flown on the lead aircraft to remember his service and sacrifice.

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