In 2020, the team welcomed Capt. Remoshay Nelson, one of their newest members and the first black female officer to join their ranks!
Nelson, a Howard University graduate, expressed her pride in being a part of this historic milestone. She recognized that there is a scarcity of African-American female officers in the Air Force, and her position provides young girls with a visible role model.
Although the Thunderbirds’ usual air shows were temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, they’ve continued their tradition of flyovers. These flyovers, conducted in cities like Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Atlanta, serve as a tribute to the courageous individuals who have been working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Captain Nelson, who has dedicated eight years to the Air Force, spent most of her service overseas. She attributes her success to her family’s support and the self-confidence she gained from her time at Howard University.
“To be around people who look like me and instill self-confidence in who I am, and walk into the world knowing where I come from and where my people come from, and where we can go, is invaluable,” Nelson said.
Her position in the Thunderbirds is highly selective, with only 12 officers holding this honor. Throughout the history of the Thunderbirds, which began in 1953, only 332 officers have been part of the team.
Nelson’s story is one of perseverance and determination, overcoming obstacles along the way. “Even when people tell you no to your face, but your work shows where you should be, I think if you continue to work hard and go after what it is you want, you will achieve your dream,” she stated.
For Nelson, her time in the skies symbolizes hope and solidarity during these challenging times.
“The Thunderbirds are with them,” she declared, emphasizing that frontline heroes extend beyond healthcare workers to grocery store clerks, fast-food service employees, and sanitation workers who continue their work every day.
With a strong desire to give back and inspire others, Nelson encourages everyone to make the most of their opportunities.
“Just to achieve as much as I can when I have the opportunity to do so,” she concluded.