Maj. Caroline Jensen, 36, is in her first season with the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, â€śThunderbirds,â€ť and flies the No. 3 jet as the teamâ€™s Right Wing. She will be the featured speaker at the WASP Homecoming luncheon at Texas State Technical College on Saturday.
Major Jensen earned her commission in 1998 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Before her assignment to the team, she served as assistant flight commander and T-38 instructor pilot in the 97th Flying Training Squadron at Sheppard AFB, TX. She has logged more than 2,500 hours as an Air Force pilot, including 210 combat hours during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Major Jensen hails from River Falls, Wis.
She received a Bachelor of Science degree in English at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. in 1999, graduated from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell AFB, Ala. in 2003 and from Air Command and Staff College, by correspondence in 2011.
She is a Senior Pilot with more than 2,900 flight hours. She has flown the following aircraft: T-37, T-38A, T-38C, and F-16C/D.
Maj. Jensen has received many awards and decorations including a Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, an Air Medal with oak leaf cluster; an Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, an Air Force Achievement Medal, a Combat Readiness Medal, a National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, an Iraq Campaign Medal with oak leaf cluster, a War on Terrorism Service Medal with bronze star and a Korean Defense Service Medal.
She was promoted to Second Lieutenant on May 27, 1998, to First Lieutenant on June 1, 2000, to Captain on June 1, 2002 and to Major on Nov. 1, 2007.
Maj. Jensen has had many assignments over the years as part of the U.S. Air Force including the following:
â€˘ May 1998 to April 1999, Standardization/Evaluation special projects officer, 94th Flying Training Squadron, USAF Academy, Colo.
â€˘ April 1999 to May 2000, student, Undergraduate Pilot Training, Laughlin AFB, Tex.
â€˘ October 2000 to October 2004, check pilot; later, Assistant Flight Commander and T-38 Instructor Pilot, 87th Flying Training Squadron, Laughlin AFB, Tex.
â€˘ November 2003 to March 2004, student, Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, Moody, AFB, Ga.
â€˘ April 2004 to December 2004, student, F-16 Initial Qualification Training, 62nd Fighter Squadron, Luke AFB, Ariz.
â€˘ January 2005 to January 2006, F-16 flight lead; later, Chief Combat Plans, 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan AB, Republic of South Korea
â€˘ January 2006 to May 2008, F-16 flight lead; later, Flight Commander (and Chief, Wing Training as Active Guard Reserve Officer), 4th Fighter Squadron (388th Operations Support Squadron), Hill AFB, Utah
â€˘ June 2008 to July 2011, Assistant Flight Commander and T-38 Instructor Pilot, 97th Flying Training Squadron, Sheppard AFB, Tex.
â€˘ November 2011 to Present, Thunderbird Right Wing Pilot, Instructor Pilot, Flight Evaluator, USAFADS â€śThunderbirdsâ€ť, Nellis AFB, Nev.