News Search


Thunderbirds swear in Oklahoma enlistees

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Levin Boland
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilots swore in more than 20 high school graduates during the 2014 Wings of Freedom Open House, Sept. 13.

As for 18-year-old Altus native Thomas Farley, this could not have been any more perfect. Thomas wanted to be a Thunderbird pilot as a child, so to have the Thunderbirds swear him into the Air Force was a dream come true.

"I'm honored," said Thomas. "As a kid I wanted to be a Thunderbirds pilot. I drew their planes in my little book and tried to draw myself in the cockpit. That's a dream. Not everyone could say they were a Thunderbird pilot and not everyone could say they were sworn in by the Thunderbirds to the greatest Air Force in the world."

He raised his right hand to repeat the Oath of Enlistment in front of thousands of spectators and to follow in his family's footsteps of serving in the military.

His father, retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Clensey Farley, was excited to see his son swear in at the open house and has great expectations for him in the Air Force.

"I'm proud of him, that he is wanting to serve his country as I did, my father, my uncles, and my grandfather in the Civil War," said Clensey. "They have all served to help keep this a free nation so that we have the right to do what we want."

Thomas is a 2014 Altus High School graduate who is currently working at a local restaurant until he ships off to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Thomas already has some experience for when he gets to basic training, having been in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and served as captain of the Altus High School Drill Team.

"[JROTC] was a beginning," said Thomas. "It was a really great way to get experience. Going to basic, almost everybody will just look back and forth when you do a right flank but I will be one step ahead of the game knowing how to do this and how to do that."

Thomas comes from a large military family, so for Thomas, the military isn't an option; he believes its an expectation.

"My father, uncles and aunts -- they all showed me that sacrifice is necessary," said Thomas. "It really hit me hard that my family has done it. Why should I stop? It's a service to your country that everyone should do."

When Thomas joins, he would like to continue in his father's footsteps by having a career in aviation, but that is just a short-term goal for Thomas. His long-term goal is to still become a pilot, just like he dreamed of when he was young.

"I want to be a loadmaster or a boom operator," said Thomas. "Then after a good couple years I plan to go to the [U.S. Air Force] Academy and hopefully come out as a pilot on the C-17s because that's probably one of my favorite aircraft out there, or a Thunderbird, if that happens to open up."