LANGLEY AFB, VIRGINIA – Meet U.S. Air Force Maj. Josh Gunderson, the new F-22 Demonstration Team pilot and commander. Maj. Gunderson – callsign ‘Cabo’ – will lead the 14-member demo team for both the 2020 and 2021 airshow season, after Maj. Paul ‘Loco’ Lopez led the F-22 Demo Team during the 2019 airshow season.
As the team commander, Gunderson will perform precision aerial maneuvers at airshows around the world to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the world’s premier 5th generation fighter aircraft. He will also perform alongside the USAF Heritage Flight Foundation to showcase modern-day fighter jets flying in formation with World War II, Korean, and Vietnam era aircraft.
Experienced and combat proven pilot
Major 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 2 deployments to the Middle East, Major Gunderson 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. 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 said.
Gunderson grew up in Tampa, Florida. After graduating high school, he attended the USAF 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 geo-spatial science and a minor in Spanish.
Gunderson attended undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard AFB, Texas as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot training program. There, he flew the T-6 Texan II and the T-38C Talon, and earned his pilot wings after completing the program in 2010.
Following pilot training, Gunderson was assigned to the 44th FS at Kadena AB in Japan. In August of 2014, Gunderson completed the F-22 Basic Qualification Course at Tyndall AFB in Florida and flew Raptors in the 90th FS at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska until August 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 FW at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia in September 2019.
“It is incredibly humbling to be given the opportunity to serve as the next F-22 Demo Team commander. 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,” Gunderson said.
History of the F-22 Demo Team
The USAF approved the F-22 demonstration for the first time in 2007, replacing the Air Combat Command F-15C Demonstration Team.
The first team commander and pilot was Major Paul ‘Max’ Moga, who conducted the demonstration from 2007-2008. Major David ‘Zeke’ Skalicky was the team’s second pilot (2009-2010), followed by Major Henry ‘Shadow’ Schantz (2011-2013), Major John ‘Taboo’ Cummings (2014-2015), Major Daniel ‘Rock’ Dickinson (2016-2017), and Major Paul ‘Loco’ Lopez (2018-2019).
Major Joshua ‘Cabo’ Gunderson will be the team’s pilot and commander for the 2019 and 2020 season.