KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Two Germany-based Air Force officers have been named to next year’s Thunderbirds air demonstration squadron, the team announced earlier this week.

Maj. Robert Skelton, who is assigned to U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, will be the 2007 team’s operations officer. He will be second in command for the squadron.

Capt. Charles Ploetz of the 52nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Spangdahlem Air Base has been selected to be the team’s maintenance officer.

The squadron announced its new officers for the 2007 season on Tuesday. Next year will be the team’s 54th.

The six-plane aerial demonstration squadron performs at air shows throughout the world and includes eight pilots, four support officers and about 120 active-duty, Air National Guard and Reserve enlisted personnel.

Also joining the team will be its second female pilot, Capt. Samantha Weeks of the 12th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. She will join Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who was named the team’s first female pilot in history last year.

Malachowski was previously a member of the 494th Fighter Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, England.

Other new officers include: Maj. Chris Austin from the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., who will serve at the wing position; Maj. William Poteet of the Nellis-based 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron, slot pilot position; Capt. Amy Glisson, based at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C., executive officer; and Capt. Elizabeth Kreft, assigned to the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Va., public affairs officer.

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