The Air Force Has its First Female F-35 Demo Team Commander and Pilot

Capt. Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot.
Capt. Kristin "BEO" Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot, poses for a photo after a practice flight at Hill AFB, Utah, Feb. 02, 2020. (U.S. Air Force/Capt. Kip Sumner).

The U.S. Air Force's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter demonstration team is making history.

Capt. Kristin "Beo" Wolfe of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, was recently inducted as the new team commander for the 2020-2021 air show season, the service announced Monday. She is the first woman to command the team and follows Capt. Andrew "Dojo" Olson, who was the first solo F-35 performer for the team out of Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

The demonstration team is now part of Air Combat Command and is assigned to the 388th, where Wolfe is an F-35 instructor pilot, according to a news release.

"We are extremely proud to have Capt. Wolfe leading the new F-35A Demonstration Team," said Col. Steven Behmer, 388th Fighter Wing commander.

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"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," Behmer said in the release.

Wolfe is already a stealth fighter pilot. She transitioned to flying the F-35A Lightning II from the F-22 Raptor in 2017 and has racked up 800 total fighter hours across the two fifth-generation aircraft, the service said.

    "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," Olson said.

    As the team lead, Wolfe will perform alongside the Heritage Flight Foundation. The foundation is a contractor with Air Combat Command and performs across the U.S. and overseas, flying old warbirds such as the P-51 Mustang.

    Only four aircraft -- the A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor and F-35 -- are certified to fly alongside the planes from a bygone era. The F-35 has been part of the Heritage Flight for four seasons.

    The team is scheduled for 20 flight performances across the country, "showcasing the approximately 18-minute-long profile as well as a maintenance team jet-launch and recovery," the release states. The first demo is slated for March 13 at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona. The team's schedule can be found here.

    "It's extremely humbling and rewarding to get the opportunity to showcase the F-35A at so many different locations," Wolfe said. "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."

    -- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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