Meet the first black female Thunderbirds officer

Elizabeth Howe
May 27, 2020 - 8:26 am
Capt. Remoshay Nelson


Capt. Remoshay Nelson joined the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the 2020 season as the first black female officer to do so. 

Nelson joined the team as Thunderbird No. 12, the public affairs officer responsible for the team's marketing, recruiting, and publicity programs. The Howard University graduate commissioned in 2011 through an ROTC program. The Douglasville, Georgia native joined the team from her previous duty station as the Chief of Public Affairs for the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea. 

"We have one life to live and so I want to do that by giving back and by showing people what is possible," Nelson told NBC 4 Washington. "Just to achieve as much as I can when I have the opportunity to do so."

While the 2020 demonstration season has been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the team has been performing flyovers to honor healthcare workers on the frontlines against the virus. 

Blue Angels, Thunderbirds take to skies together

The squadron performs approximately 75 demonstrations each year and has never canceled a demonstration due to maintenance difficulty. More than 300 million people in all 50 states and 58 foreign countries have seen the red, white and blue jets in more than 4,000 aerial demonstrations. Since its creation in 1953, only 330 officers have been part of the team. 


Reach Elizabeth Howe on Twitter @ECBHowe.

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