May 032020

Maj. Michelle M. Curran

Lead Solo
Maj. Michelle M. Curran is the Lead Solo Pilot for the United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. As Thunderbird 5, she flies the #5 jet and serves as the squadron’s Chief of Standardization and Evaluation. She is in her second season with the team. Curran entered the Air Force in 2009 with a Reserve Officer Training Corps commission from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. She completed the Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus, MS and assigned to the F-16 Misawa Air Base, Japan. Curran has flown more than 1,500 hours in the F-16, including 163 combat hours over Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Prior to the Thunderbirds, she was an F-16 Instructor Pilot and Flight Commander at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas.

2009 Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, University of St. Thomas
2010 Air and Space Basic Course, Squadron Officer College
2014 Squadron Officer School

Nov 2009 – Nov 2011 Student, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals,
14th Operational Support Squadron Columbus AFB, Miss.
Nov 2011 – Nov 2012 Student, F-16 Basic Course, 308th Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
Nov 2012 – Nov 2015 F-16 Pilot/Chief of Scheduling, 13th Fighter Squadron, Misawa AB, Japan
Nov 2015 – Sept 2018 F-16 Instructor Pilot/Flight Commander, 355th Fighter Squadron, NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas
Sept 2018 – Present Thunderbird #5, Opposing Solo, USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.

Rating: Senior Pilot
Flight hours: More than 1,500
Aircraft flown: T-6, T-38, F-16C

Air Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster

Second Lieutenant Aug 2009
First Lieutenant Aug 2011
Captain Aug 2013
Major July 2019

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