Alexander J. Turner
Class of 2001
The Air Demonstration Squadron of the United States Air Force is known as the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds personnel are the best of the best the Air Force has to offer. The demands on these elite pilots limit their commitment to two years as a member of the Squadron. Major Alex Turner, CHS ’01, was a member of this elite group. His bio on the Thunderbird website states:
“Maj. Alex Turner is the Lead Solo Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 5 jet. Turner is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. While studying Aeronautical Engineering he played ice hockey and raced in the school’s autocross club. He is also an avid guitar player and enjoys snowboarding. Before joining the Thunderbirds, Turner served as an F-16 instructor pilot at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He has logged over 1,700 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 260 combat hours in Libya and Iraq. Turner is in his second season with the team and hails from Chelmsford, Mass.”
“Flying the No. 5 jet” is a very prestigious position. It is also known as “lead solo,” typically requiring the pilot to fly in an inverted position. Alex, now in his second year with the group, was assigned to this position because of his outstanding flying ability.
While at CHS, Alex was an outstanding student who was inducted into the French Honor Society. He received a Special Merit Award from an Engineering competition at UMass Lowell, and received the coveted CHS Design Team’s Reversible Hammer Award for his dedication, time and energy to try new things that lead to a winning season.
He graduated in 2005 with a BS-Aeronautical Engineering Magna Cum Laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Please see the Post Secondary Education page for his impressive list of awards and accomplishments while at RPI.
Upon his graduation from RPI, Alex was commissioned into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant and began his prestigious Air Force career as a combat pilot, serving tours of duty in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. One mission resulted in Alex and another pilot being credited with flying the longest Viper combat mission in history. He also has an impressive list of commendations, medals and accomplishments.
Alex was selected to be a member of the elite Thunderbirds in June, 2015. The current season, which ends in November 2017, will be his last. He will stay on with the squadron until January 2018 to assist in the training of new team members.
Community outreach and service is a major aspect of Major Turner’s schedule with the Squadron. Many examples are provided in the Additional Supporting Material section of this application.
Major Alex Turner, CHS ’01, is without a doubt an outstanding member of the CHSAA Hall of Fame.