Gunderson becomes 3rd ENJJPT grad to lead F-22 Demo Team

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Samuel Eckholm
  • 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – U.S. Air Force Maj. Josh "Cabo" Gunderson, a 2010 graduate of the 80th Flying Training Wing's Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program, takes over as the new F-22 Demonstration Team pilot and commander, Jan. 21, 2020, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Gunderson will lead the 14-member demo team for the 2020 and 2021 show seasons.

“It is incredibly humbling to be given the opportunity to serve as the next F-22 Demo Team commander," he said. "The team is comprised of amazing Airmen showcasing American airpower, and I look forward to joining such an impressive legacy for the next two years.”

As the team commander, Gunderson will perform precision aerial maneuvers at air shows across the globe to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world's premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. He will also perform alongside the Air Force Heritage Flight Foundation to showcase modern-day fighter jets flying in formation with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era aircraft.

Gunderson has been flying F-22s since he transitioned from the F-15C Eagle in 2014. As an experienced combat-proven fighter pilot with over 1,500 hours and two deployments to the Middle East, Gunderson said he is looking forward to this next opportunity and has had his eyes set on the demo team since he was a kid.

“Flying the demo is a thrilling experience that I’ve been excited about from a young age," he said. "From the first time I saw jets at the MacDill Air Force Base Airfest, I have turned my eyes towards the skies and dreamed of being in the seat of a fighter jet.”

Gunderson grew up in Tampa, Florida, and after graduating high school, he attended the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. During his time as a cadet, he participated in a foreign exchange program with the Spanish air force at their academy in San Javier, Spain, and was also a member of the Air Force Academy Soaring Team. In 2008, he earned his commission and graduated from the Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in geospatial science and a minor in Spanish.

Gunderson attended ENJJPT's undergraduate pilot training and introduction to fighter fundamentals at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. He flew the T-6A Texan II and the T-38C Talon, earning his pilot wings after completing the program in 2010. He is the third ENJJPT graduate selected to pilot the fifth-generation Raptor and command the F-22 Demo Team.

Col. Dave Skalicky, a graduate of ENJJPT Class 01-03 in February 2001 and now commander of the 354th Operations Group at Eielson AFB, Alaska, was the F-22 Demo Team pilot and team commander for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Lt. Col. Henry Schantz, a graduate of ENJJPT Class 02-02 in December 2001 now commander of the 525th Fighter Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, filled the roles for the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

Col. Paul "Max" Moga, while not an ENJJPT graduate, served as vice commander of the 80th FTW from June 2015 to April 2017.

Following pilot training, Gunderson was assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan. In August 2014, Gunderson completed the F-22 Basic Qualification Course at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and flew Raptors in the 90th Fighter Squadron at JBER until August of 2019.

While serving in Alaska, Gunderson was selected to be the next F-22 Demo commander and pilot, which led him to move to the 1st Fighter Wing at JBLE in September 2019.

For more information on the F-22 Demo Team and to stay updated on their 2020 air show schedule, you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @f22demoteam.