The First Black Female Thunderbirds Officer ?? Capt. Remoshay Nelson, a Howard University graduate and Douglasville, Georgia native makes history as the first black woman Thunderbird public affairs officer. A feat she achieved upon joining the United States Air Force Thunderbirds for the 2020 season.
Nelson joined the team as Thunderbird No. 12, her role as public affairs officer includes being responsible for the team’s marketing, recruiting and publicity programs.
The Howard University graduate who commissioned in 2011 through an ROTC program 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. “This is almost unspeakable. This is extremely an honour to be a part of this mission,” Nelson told 11ALIVE. “Some of these individuals are my friends. They live and work in Atlanta and they’ve been working extremely hard to respond to COVID-19.” This happens to be Captain Nelson’s first season with the Air Force Thunderbirds squadron. “People can look up and have some type of hope during this time, to know we can get through this. The Thunder Birds are with them,” Nelson said.
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.