Hometown Hero takes flight with Thunderbirds

Miss Oklahoma 2016, Sarah Klein, adjusts her hair after doffing her helmet before getting out of the  in the backseat of a Thunderbirds F-16D May 18, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Klein was flown by Lt Col. Kevin Walsh, Thunderbirds operations officer, during an orientation flight in which she pulled 9.2 Gs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Miss Oklahoma 2016, Sarah Klein, adjusts her hair after doffing her helmet before getting out of the in the backseat of a Thunderbirds F-16D May 18, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Klein was flown by Lt Col. Kevin Walsh, Thunderbirds operations officer, during an orientation flight in which she pulled 9.2 Gs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Maj. David Huff, Midwest City Police Officer, waves from the backseat of a Thunderbirds F-16D prior to a flight with Capt. Erik Gonsalvez, Thunderbird #8, team advance pilot/narrator May 19, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Maj. Huff was honored as a Hometown Hero for his work with the Midwest City Police Department.(U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

Maj. David Huff, Midwest City Police Officer, waves from the backseat of a Thunderbirds F-16D prior to a flight with Capt. Erik Gonsalvez, Thunderbird #8, team advance pilot/narrator May 19, 2017, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Maj. Huff was honored as a Hometown Hero for his work with the Midwest City Police Department.(U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Hometown Hero Huff, who in 2014 received the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police Officer of the Year award, has 23 years of service in the force. 

The major received the honor in recognition of his actions during an incident in June 2013, at a Wal-Mart store in Midwest City. After a man had taken a 2-year-old girl hostage at knife point, threatening violent action, the major shot and killed the man. The child was unharmed. Huff was later awarded the Medal of Valor from then-President Barack Obama. Twelve other law enforcement officers were recipients of the award, the highest national award that can be presented to a public safety officer.

Having the opportunity to fly with America’s Ambassadors in Blue, Huff was awestruck as he descended from the F-16 Falcon, the Air Force’s premier multi-role fighter jet. Wide-eyed, the hometown hero described the experience to be “completely unbelievable – a once in a lifetime experience.”

“The Thunderbirds display professionalism unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” he added. “I feel truly honored to be here, and I very much appreciate the opportunity to fly today and for the wonderful hospitality they have given me and my family.”

The Thunderbirds perform air shows all over the world, showcasing the pride, precision and professionalism of all of America’s Airmen. Through each hour-long demonstration, the Thunderbirds display the capabilities that all fighter pilots must possess, wowing crowds across the globe.

Piloting the No. 8 jet is advance pilot and narrator Capt. Erik Gonsalves, who is in his first season with the esteemed demo squadron.

“I’ve flown with various celebrities, but never had the chance to fly with someone as heroic as Maj. Huff,” Gonsalves said. “I was honored to fly with him and inspired by his character, which is not only a reflection of him but his family as well.”