USAF Maj. Josh “Cabo” Gunderson Takes Over from Maj. Paul Lopez as New F-22 Demo Boss.
“When you feel like quitting, remember why you started.” That’s what USAF Major Joshua Gunderson, call sign “Cabo”, said in his introductory video on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, when the Air Combat Command announced him as the new 2020-21 F-22 Raptor Demo Team Commander and lead demonstration pilot.
Maj. Gunderson, a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, takes over from the former F-22 Demo Team pilot, (now) Lt. Col. Paul “Loco” Lopez. Lt. Col. Lopez is a hard act to follow, he earned a worldwide reputation for his warmth and approachability in addition to his incredible flying in the F-22 Raptor. Lt. Col. Lopez moves on to a new assignment within the Air Force as a normal part of his career following a very successful tour as F-22 Demo Team Commander.
Maj. Joshua “Cabo” Gunderson, the new F-22 Demo Team commander, comes to the team from a previous assignment at the 90th Fighter Squadron “Pair ‘O Dice” based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The unit is well known as a frontline fighter interceptor/air superiority squadron and has participated in several interceptions of Russian aircraft such as Tu-95 “Bear” bombers near Alaska in international airspace. It is also one of the oldest units in the Air Force arsenal, dating back to August 1917. Maj. Gunderson was the chief of advanced programs for the 3rd Wing, the parent unit of the 90th Fighter Squadron while stationed at Elmendorf-Richardson.
As each of the Air Combat Command’s demo teams prepare for the upcoming demonstration season, the F-22 Raptor Demo Team is gearing up for multiple demonstrations and Heritage Flights across 22 scheduled venues in four countries including Singapore, Chile, Canada and the U.S.
Maj. Gunderson told media on Tuesday, “It’s incredibly humbling to be given the opportunity to serve as the next F-22 Demo Team commander. The team is comprised of amazing Airmen showcasing American airpower, and I look forward to joining such an impressive legacy for the next two years.”
The F-22 Raptor Demo Team is the world’s first 5th generation dedicated combat aircraft demonstration unit and remains the only twin-engine, vectored-thrust demonstration unit in the world. The team, based at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, is made up of between 19 and 22 members that perform functions ranging from media production, public affairs, logistics, maintenance support and flying operations.