Activated on June 1, 1953, at Luke Air Force Base, the Thunderbirds are the U.S. Air Force Demonstration Squadron, and represent the more than 700,000 active-duty Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard personnel and civilians serving around the world.
The team's Tucson performance is the third stop in its 59th show season, which will keep it on the road for more than 200 days.
Calling Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada home since 1956, the Thunderbirds squadron includes eight pilots - six of whom perform in the team's hour-long demonstration - along with 24 aircraft-maintenance specialists, several civilians and more than 120 enlisted personnel.
Before an airman can wear the Thunderbirds patch, a 21-day orientation program and an oral exam must be completed.
Officers who are chosen for this elite precision team serve two years, and enlisted personnel stay with the team for three to four years. Nearly half of this group is replaced each year, providing a variety of experience among its members.
Last season, the team traveled throughout the United States and Europe, visiting Finland for the first time.