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 University of Arizona, Ariz., 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.
2003 Carbon High School, Price, Utah
2008 Bachelor of Science, Aerospace Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.
2009 Air and Space Basic Course, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2014 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Ala.
2018 Master of Science, Business Administration, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Okla.
1. November 2008–September 2009, Wing Commander’s Executive Assistant, 71st Flying Training Wing, Vance AFB, Okla.
2. September 2009–October 2010, Student, 33rd Flying Training Squadron, Vance AFB, Okla.
3. October 2010–May 2011, Student, 559th FTS, Randolph AFB, Texas
4. May 2011–January 2012, Student, 8th FTS, Vance AFB, Okla.
5. January 2012–January 2014, Assistant Flight Commander, 8th FTS, Vance AFB, Okla.
6. January 2014–June 2014, Assistant Flight Commander, 71st Student Squadron, Vance AFB, Okla.
7. June 2014–August 2014, Student, Sheppard AFB, Texas
8. August 2014–August 2015, Student, 195th Fighter Training Squadron, Tucson Air National Guard, Ariz.
9. August 2015–September 2016, Chief of Scheduling/F-16 Flight Lead, 80th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan AB, Republic of Korea
10. September 2016– March 2018, Flight Commander/F-16 Instructor Pilot, 55th FS, Shaw AFB, S.C.
11. March 2018–May 2019, Assistant Director of Operations/F-16 Instructor Pilot, 55th FS, Shaw AFB, S.C. (October 2018–March 2019, Director of Operations/F-16 Instructor Pilot, 407th Expeditionary Operational Support Squadron)
12. May 2019–Present, F-16 Demonstration Team Commander/Pilot, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team, Shaw AFB, S.C.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Korean Defense Service Medal
Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon
Rating: Senior Pilot
Flight Hours: 2,400
Aircraft Flown: F-16, T-38, T-6, DA-20
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Second Lieutenant Aug. 18, 2008
First Lieutenant Aug. 18, 2010
Captain Aug. 18, 2012
Major July 1, 2018
(Current as of May 2019)