University of Alabama grad named first female F-35A Demo Team commander in history
U.S. Air Force Captain Kristin “BEO” Wolfe has taken over as the new F-35A Demonstration Team’s pilot and commander for the 2020 and 2021 air show season. Wolfe is an alumna of the University of Alabama, graduating in 2011 with a degree in chemical engineering.
Her official certification by the commander of Air Combat Command, Gen. Mike Holmes, took place during the Air Force’s Heritage Flight Training Course at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
According to an official military release, Wolfe was selected due to her flight experience and leadership abilities. Prior to her selection, Wolfe served as an instructor pilot for the 388th Fighter Wing. She is the first woman selected to pilot and command the F-35A Demo Team.
“We are extremely proud to have Capt. Wolfe leading the new F-35A Demonstration Team,” stated Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander. “She’s an incredibly accomplished pilot and we can’t wait to see her and the team showcase the capabilities of our Wing and the F-35s to the world.”
The F-35A is manufactured by Lockheed Martin, of which another UA grad — Marillyn Hewson — currently serves as chairman and CEO. In a social media post, Hewson congratulated Wolfe on the accomplishment.
“It’s extremely humbling and rewarding to get the opportunity to showcase the F-35A at so many different locations,” Wolfe remarked. “It’s a privilege to work with the best airmen from Hill Air Force Base, and to give people a small glimpse of what this jet is capable of.”
Wolfe has reportedly been flying F-35As since transitioning from the F-22A Raptor in 2017. She has approximately 800 total fighter hours in both of the service’s 5th-generation aircraft.
Wolfe is taking over the mantle as team commander from Maj. Andrew “Dojo” Olson.
“She was a phenomenal choice as the next pilot and commander of the F-35A Demo Team. As a previous F-22A Raptor Instructor Pilot, she’s flown and instructed in 5th Gen Fighters her entire career,” Olson said of Wolfe. “She will serve as an outstanding role model and ambassador for the Air Force and the F-35 enterprise and I look forward to seeing her take this team to the next level.”
Wolfe concluded, “I’m beyond excited to have the opportunity to take this team and the jet on the road for the 2020 season. We’re looking forward to each and every show on our schedule and can’t wait to interact with air show fans across the country.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn