It was only a few weeks ago, Army veteran Chad Knutson learned he was going on a mission like any other. He was selected by the Thunderbirds to take a ride with an F-16 Falcon.
"This is incredible and I'm humbled. Completely honored to be here," Knutson said.
Knutson spent Friday morning, July 20 going through extensive briefings and safety procedures. The 41-year-old was nominated by his fellow volunteers at Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.
"He's been with us for a couple of years," said Karyn Roelke, with Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. "He's done everything from fundraising for the Fisher House to develop a virtual reality for veterans who are unable to fly to Washington, D.C."
As an Army ranger serving five tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, Knutson has a history with jumping out of planes but he's never been in a fighter jet quite like the F-16 Falcon.
Knutson jetted above the clouds for a 30-minute flight. He soared above Milwaukee, and experienced the same maneuvers that will be executed at this weekend's Air & Water Show.
Leading up to a moment where the retired sergeant experienced 9 Gs; Knutson was floored by the time he was back on the ground.
"Unbelievable honor and I am humbled," Knutson said.
The Milwaukee Air & Water Show is July 21-22 along the lakefront. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform at 3 p.m. both days. That's an estimated time depending on weather and other factors.
The Air & Water Show’s mission is to be Wisconsin’s premier free, family event of the summer -- and one of the top air shows in the Midwest.
CLICK HERE for more information on the show, viewing areas, tickets for premier seating and much more.