Thunderbolt

Andrew Ringquist and his ground crew maintain an A-10 Warthog ground support jet for the Thunderbolt II Demonstration team. Ringquist is a master sergeant in the United States Air Force with 18 years of service. He graduated with Fergus Falls’ Class of 2002.

The Fourth of July has brought out a lot of pride in the nation’s military accomplishments since 1776 when the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence.

When the 244th anniversary of that historic event arrives Saturday, one former Fergus Falls man who will be in uniform is Andrew Ringquist.

Ringquist graduated from Fergus Falls High School with the Class of 2002.

While some teenagers do not commit themselves to a career immediately, there are others, like Ringquist, who do.

“He enlisted before graduating high school,” said Julie Ringquist, Andrew’s mother.

For the last 18 years Ringquist has been a member of the United States Air Force. He has served in the Middle East and Korea as well as posts around the United States.

Ringquist is serving as a supervisor on the Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team. The team puts on flying demonstrations with A-10 Warthog fixed wing jets.

The Fairchild Republic A-10 is designed to provide close air support for ground troops. It has 1,200 pounds of titanium armor in its airframe and in combat is designed to take significant battle damage. The A-10 has been in service since 1972. More than 700 have been built.

Ringquist was recently promoted to master sergeant and as a ground crew supervisor directs the efforts of 10 other crewmen. Each ground crew is assigned to a specific aircraft.

The demonstration team did a lot of traveling prior to COVID-19, putting on demonstration events all over the United States and Canada, but the health crisis has changed their schedule for the present.

Ringquist, his wife, Shannon, and their family reside in Vail, Arizona, a city 15 miles southeast of Tucson.

Ringquist is following a military tradition in his family. His paternal grandfather served in the U.S. Navy while his maternal grandfather was in the U.S. Army.

“He loves the air force,” said his mother.

Load comments