Maj. Garret Schmitz named new F-16 Viper Demo Team pilot

May 29, 2019

Maj. Garret Schmitz is the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot based at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. As the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander, he is responsible for representing Air Combat Command, the United States Air Force, the Defense Department, and the United States of America at more than 20 air shows annually. He leads the 15-member F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, oversees maintenance actions performed on the Lockheed Martin $43 million demonstration aircraft, and showcases the Viper’s exceptional maneuverability for more than 10 million spectators around the world each year. He is an operational F-16 pilot assigned to the 20th Operations Group, Shaw AFB.

Maj. Schmitz is from Price, Utah. He attended Carbon High School, graduating in 2003. Following high school, he attended the University of Arizona, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering and earning his commission through the University of Arizona’s Reserve Officer Training Program.

Maj. Schmitz attended pilot training at Vance AFB, Okla., where he earned his wings flying the T-6 Texan II and the T-38C Talon. Maj. Schmitz then attended Pilot Instructor Training at Randolph AFB, Texas, graduating as a Distinguished Graduate prior to returning to Vance AFB as First Assignment Instructor Pilot in the T-6 Texan II.

Following his assignment at Vance AFB, Maj. Schmitz completed Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals graduating as a Distinguished Graduate prior to attending F-16 Basic Course at Tucson Air National Guard, Ariz. Upon graduation, Maj. Schmitz was assigned to the 80th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. He was then assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron at Shaw AFB, S.C., as an operational F-16 Instructor pilot and flew 55 combat missions in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.

While assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, he was selected to be the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration pilot. Maj. Schmitz is a combat-proven fighter pilot with over 340 combat hours in the F-16.

Learn more about Maj. Schmitz on the Shaw Air Force Base website.

Photo by the F-16 Viper Demo Team