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There will be some sacrifices. He will be gone from home about 260 days a year. He'll miss some milestones and events with his own sons.

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But, he and his Adidas Basketball Shoes Discount

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When the opportunity came up in December, Bradley threw his hat into the ring.

They often have a Make A Wish Foundation tent at their Friday night practices and at the show Bradley attended he met a three year old child who was battling cancer.

They perform about 30 shows a year across the country and the world, showcasing the Air Force's flying power.

"This is going to be the most precise flying I will Adidas Climacool Revolution 2017 Review

"We're really recruiting the next generation of airmen," he said.

"My sons have been around fighters their whole lives, but they were just mesmerized by the Thunderbirds," he said. "They talked about them constantly. It really opened my eyes to how much the Thunderbirds mean to kids."

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"I will be following traditions that have been set for 60 years by many squadron commanders," he said. "To carry that torch along, it's very humbling to be chosen to do that."

By this time next year, Lt. Col. Matthew Bradley's F 16 fighter jet will be looping, flipping and rolling through the sky to the delight of a crowd gathered below.

He's only been in an F 16 once or twice and that was in the back seat. He's never flown one.

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Bradley's been an F 15C pilot for most of his 16 years in the Air Force and logged about 1,300 hours in the plane.

Six F 16s make up the Thunderbird team. They perform maneuvers such as barrel rolls, loops, high speed passes and flying upside down in close formation at just about 200 feet above the ground.

While the Thunderbirds are currently grounded due to budget cuts, Bradley said he believes the fact that the Air Force hired people to fill slots for the 2014 team means they plan to try to find funding to continue the mission.


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On the Friday before every show, the airmen visit a hospital to try to lift the spirits of the ill or injured, and they visit a local Adidas Climacool Khaki school to speak with kids.

A trip with the Thunderbirds for one of their air shows as part of his application process made the opportunity all that more appealing.

His first stop on his track to take over the Thunderbirds will be learning to fly the jet at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona.

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Then he and his family will relocate to Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas where he will undergo intensive training to learn to perform the Thunderbird maneuvers.

Bradley, a 53rd Wing pilot, has been selected to serve as the commanding leader of the Air Force's elite Thunderbird flying team. In that role, he will command a squadron of about 120 people, but will also fly as the lead pilot during their air shows.

wife decided it was an opportunity they couldn't pass up.

He has three sons and took them to their first Thunderbird show over two years ago.

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Adidas Climacool Khaki

Adidas Climacool Khaki

"It just really puts your life in perspective when you meet a kid like that," he said.

Bradley currently works at Tyndall Air Force Base as operations director for the 83rd Fighter Weapons Squadron, which is a geographically separated unit of the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base.

ever do," he said.

"The goal is to get them flying again," he said.

"I don't get to do that in my normal job. To be able to give back to the American public in a way that no other organization really gets to do, that really hits home for me."

53rd Wing pilot to become lead Thunderbird

His youngest practices Thunderbird moves on their couch at home.

He will be the leader in a four ship diamond of F 16s. Two other F 16s will fly solo for the beginning of the show and then join up with the other four.

Bradley's interest in becoming a Thunderbird in part came from his D Rose Black History Month

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