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High in the sky: Joshua Hawkins ’03

Capt. Joshua Hawkins ’03 is flying with the Thunderbirds these days thanks to his time in TCU Air Force ROTC.

High in the sky: Joshua Hawkins ’03

Capt. Joshua Hawkins ’03 is one of 12 officers selected to serve in the prestigious U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron — better known as the Thunderbirds.

High in the sky: Joshua Hawkins ’03

Capt. Joshua Hawkins ’03 is flying with the Thunderbirds these days thanks to his time in TCU Air Force ROTC.

Capt. Joshua Hawkins ’03 credits his time in the TCU Air Force ROTC program with teaching him how to become a leader.

These days, Hawkins is putting those lessons into practice as one of 12 officers selected to serve in the prestigious U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron — better known as the Thunderbirds.

Hawkins is in the first year of a two-year assignment as Thunderbirds executive officer. His duties entail leading a staff team that covers all of the non-maintenance support required to enable the Thunderbirds’ highly specialized mission. He oversees the team’s cyberspace/knowledge operations and coordinates the squadron’s training program that keeps the airmen certified in more than two dozen Air Force specialty skills. Hawkins also heads up a variety of administrative tasks and even steps in as unit commander while the squadron commander is flying in air demonstrations.

“I have always wanted to serve in the Air Force because of the professionalism I saw in my dad growing up,” says Hawkins, who is the fourth generation of his family to serve in the military. “The Thunderbirds are definitely the type of organization that displays this professionalism, and that was a big reason I applied for this position.”

The Thunderbirds this year will visit more than 30 air-show sites across the country and perform more than 70 shows. A five-week summer tour of Europe is also in the works. Scheduled Thunderbirds events include an air show in October at Alliance Airport in north Fort Worth.
“I’m really looking forward to being back in Fort Worth,” says Hawkins, a San Angelo native who ran track and majored in movement science at TCU.

Before joining the Thunderbirds, Hawkins served as aide-de-camp to the commander of Third Air Force at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Hawkins applied for the Thunderbirds position last year and was selected after a four-day round of interviews with senior Air Force officers.

“Since I could tell you about many, many other great captains in the Air Force who could be doing my job, I know that God had a hand in this opportunity and placing me where I am today,” Hawkins says.