CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Officials from the 27th Special Operations Wing at the Cannon Air Force Base (CAFB) announced, two airmen for the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Air Demonstration Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

According to a CAFB press release, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Wolford and Senior Airman Keith Dickens Jr. CAFB Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were selected for the demonstration team based on their exceptional performance, leadership, and job knowledge.

“When I first got here, Dickens was an Airman First Class and still fairly new,” said Wolford. “I watched him constantly overthink things and worry something may go wrong. Then I gave him opportunities to learn by leading. He was uncomfortable but ready and willing to do it.”

“Our leaders are encouraged to remove barriers so Airmen feel empowered to seek independent initiatives to become experts in their field,” said U.S. Col. Harry Seibert, 27th Special Operations Maintenance Group commander. “TSgt Wolford’s deliberate development of SrA Dickens demonstrates the investment Airmen need for ownership, accountability and success.”    

Guiding Dickens’ through the Thunderbird application process also opened a door for Wolford to apply.

“When the Thunderbirds team called to inquire about Dickens,” explained Wolford, “I asked ‘while I have you, do you need a Tech. Sgt. with F-16 experience?’ He responded, ‘yes.’”

Officials said that simple response led to Wolford applying for, and being accepted to, the Thunderbirds maintenance team.

CAFB said that Dickens joined the Thunderbirds team, which is composed of eight pilots, four support officers, three civilians, and 130 enlisted personnel, on (date) to begin formal training. Wolford will join him in March 2023.

For more information on Cannon AFB and the two airmen visit, here.