Thunderbird team member comes home

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

For one Thunderbird crew member, being at Robins Air Force Base was not just another show. It was a homecoming. Staff Sgt. Joshua “Trey” Whiteley, the No. 3 assistant dedicated crew chief, is a 2008 graduate of Warner Robins High School.

When he wasn’t busy preparing the     F-16 for the Thunder Over Georgia air show, Whiteley was getting reacquainted with his home town.
“I’ve been pretty busy getting to see all my friends and family,” he said.

When he joined the Air Force, he never dreamed he would end up working for the Thunderbirds or that the show would bring him home.
“It has been an epic journey,” Whiteley said.

He has been with the Thunderbirds for a year and a half of his three-year assignment. This weekend he’ll be in Puerto Rico for an air show, and in two weeks, will visit his parents and siblings in Fort Worth, Texas.

“In my wildest dreams I never would have imagined I’d be working for the Thunderbirds,” he said. Whiteley also never imaged someone would be asking for his autograph when he was attending school in Houston County.

Before he joined the Thunderbirds, Whiteley was stationed at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, as a sheet metal mechanic.

Growing up in an Air Force family, Whiteley’s father was a training instructor and then a recruiter. Their last duty station was at Robins and before moving to Texas, the family spent 13 years in Warner Robins.

A reminiscent Whiteley remembers sitting in his father’s lap at air shows when he was a young boy while his father talked to people about joining the Air Force.

“I never thought it was possible,” he said. “I never thought I’d join the Air Force. It has been an experience for sure.”