The United States Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, selected Capt. Lauren Schlichting, 333rd Fighter Squadron evaluating pilot and executive officer, at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, to join their team. Schlichting is set to fly Thunderbird 3, becoming the teams right wing pilot.
From a young age Schlichting knew she wanted to become a fighter pilot.
“Some astronauts came to my school in second grade,” said Schlichting. “The astronaut piece didn’t really resonate with me but them being fighter pilots did. Minnesota has little military presence and I am not from a military family. When I came home, at eight-years-old, and told my mom I was going to join the Air Force and become a fighter pilot, it was shocking for her. It just kind of stuck.”
Schlichting followed her lifelong dream. She went through the Reserve Officer Training Corps where she earned a pilot slot. She was then assigned to fly the F-15E Strike Eagle.