WARRIOR FLIGHT TEAM MEMBERS

LCDR Mark "Crunchy" Burgess, USN (ret)

 

Flight Hours: 3800 hours

Combat Hours 256 hours

530 Traps
 

Mark is a Naval Academy graduate and career Naval Officer who flew three combat tours in F-14 Tomcats.  His first tour was flying F-14A’s with VF-24 “Renegades” onboard the USS Nimitz.  His second was in the F-14D with VF-2 “Bounty Hunters” aboard USS Constellation, both in support of Operation Southern Watch over Iraq. Mark then spent the next 3 years as an F-14 A/B/D Instructor pilot with VF-101 “Grim Reapers”, at NAS Oceana, VA.  During this tour he also served as the Navy’s lead F-14 Demonstration Pilot for the 2000 and 2001 airshow seasons, performing at airshows across the United States and Canada.

 

His final tour was with VF-31 “Tomcatters” where he completed a 10-month deployment aboard USS Lincoln in support of Operation Enduring Freedom over Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom over Iraq.  He saw extensive combat operations as a Forward Air Control (Airborne) supporting Army and Marine Corps troops during the march to take Baghdad.
 

After retiring from the Navy in 2010, Mark joined the Warrior Aviation team and became the lead pilot for the Warrior Flight Team.  The Warrior Flight Team has performed in over 75 airshows over the past five years, helping to raise awareness of the plight of our returning wounded veterans.

Bill "Pirate" Mills

Bill graduated from United States Naval Academy in 1986. He was the first nugget naval aviator to be selected to fly F-18 Hornets.  Bill served as a combat pilot and completed Two Fleet Tours in the Mediterranean with VFA 132 “Privateers” deployed aboard USS Coral Sea (CV-43) and USS Forrestal (CV-59) earning “Top Hook” honors.  Mills was selected and attended the prestigious US Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, “Top Gun” at NAS Miramar in September and October of 1990 and went on to fly 16 Combat Sorties over Northern Iraq in support of Operation Desert Storm and Provide Comfort.

 

Following his combat tour with the “Privateers”, Bill became an FA-18 flight instructor for the East Coast Replacement Air Group ( RAG) training squadron VFA-106 “Gladiators” at NAS Cecil Field while simultaneously serving as instructor and evaluator for the station’s C-12 (King Air B-200) logistics support aircraft. During that time Bill was also the East Coast Nuclear Weapons delivery instructor for all tactical aircraft authorized to deploy air launched nuclear weapons in the Navy’s inventory.

 

Bill amassed over 1,300 FA-18 flight hours, over 3,300 total hours and 289 carrier arrested landings between 1987-1994.

Pat "Villain" Marsh

Pat Marsh is a native of the beaches of San Diego and the son of a career Naval Aviator. He is a business owner who has been flying since 1987, holds a commercial pilots certificate with an instrument rating and is a FAST rated formation pilot.

 

He flew under contract with the Naval Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland, from 1997-2000 and has been flying airshows since 1994. Owner of the Vandy 1 black jet, he is the founder of Vandy 1 and a co-founder of Warrior Aviation. He has over 2000 flight hours in various warbirds, including L-39s and Russian Yaks.

Doug "Dagwood" Woodley

Flight Hours: Over 1,600 hours

Combat Hours: 450 hours

 

A native of Pensacola, Florida, and son of a Naval Aviator, Doug was commissioned in 1999. Assigned flight training at NAS Pensacola he earned his wings in 2000 and has flown military aircraft to include T-34C, T-1A, T-39G/N, T-2C, F-15, F-16, B-1B and EA-6B. He was carrier qualified in the EA-6B Prowler and deployed aboard the USS Nimitz and John Stennis.

 

He has over 1600 flight hours, including 450 hours in combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently resides in the Washington DC area. He acts as the flight team narrator and Board President for the Warrior Flight Team.

Matt "Sheriff" Blush

 

Matt Blush is a Native of Washington D.C. His military Experience was through the U.S. Army. He is a
Co-Founder of Warrior Aviation Charity and a Principal in Vandy 1 L.L.C. He has been Flying Since 1976 and holds a Private Pilots Certificate with over 2,900 hours of Flight experience. He has flown everything from a Great Lakes Bi-Plane to Ultra-lite aircraft and Gyrocopters.

 

Matt has a business background and was formerly the Director of Ballpark Operations for the Washington Nationals Baseball Club and is currently the Managing Director of Capital for the Lerner Corporation (The Owners of the Nationals). He is the Crew Chief for the Vandy 1 L-39.

Naomi "Sweetpea" Wadsworth 

 

Naomi Wadsworth graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a BA in Anthropology and an MBA from Mary Mount University. In 1982 Sweetpea, along with several other pilots, formed the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, NY. She started flying the smaller museum aircraft to airshows and as time went by added an instrument rating and hours in a Beech 18 and Piper Aztec. In the 1990’s Sweetpea obtained a B-17 type rating. In 2003 she was hired to fly a Lear 31 from New York to Florida and the Bahamas. In recent years she received her DC-3 and DC-3S type rating flying cargo for a company out of Opa Locka, FL.

 

Sweetpea has continued to expanded from pilot to airshow Airboss to a year round commitment to the museum. She is also responsible for finding acts for the National Warplane Museum's annual air show and for all its safety and waiver compliance. She flies many of the museum aircraft, but the world famous C-47 “W-7”, a veteran of the D Day invasion, is where she spend most of my time. 

CDR Bill "Pinch" Paisley, USNR (ret)

Flight Hours: 1250

 

A native of Opelika, Alabama, and the proud son of a career Navy Aviator, CDR Bill "Pinch" Paisley earned his Wings of Gold in 1986. Pinch reported to VF-101 in Virginia Beach, VA for F-14 RIO training. His first fleet tour was with the World Famous Tophatters of Fighter Squadron 14 (VF-14) on board USS John F Kennedy. He later spent a tour with the Defense Plant Representative Office at Grumman Aerospace flying the F-14 D Tomcat.

 

Pinch concluded his Navy active duty as a catapult officer on USS Dwight D Eisenhower and accumulated over 1250 flight hours, 1000 in the F-14 A, B and D Tomcats. He currently resides the northern Virginia area and works for the US Navy in Modeling and Simulation.

Gary Velasco

 

Born and raised as a Connecticut, Gary began his aviation career 16 years ago after a successful run playing guitar in the rock band PYN SIREN.

Gary's speciality is in vintage aircraft nose art and markings.  He has painted numerous high-profile warbirds including the B-17 "Memphis Belle", B-29 "Jacks Hack", B-25's "Tondelayo" and "Take-Off Time", P-51's, P-47s, F4U Corsairs, F-86s and more.  He wrote his first book on the subject "Fighting Colors, the Creation of Military Nose Art" in 2004 and recently appeared in the documentary "Nose Art & Pin Ups".


Gary painted the VANDY 1 scheme on the L-39 and maintains its integrity during show season as well as serving on the ground crew.  Additional, Gary creates designs for the teams merchandise program and official team graphics.  Now residing in central Virginia, Gary focuses on running his business and assisting in the image and marketing aspects of the Warrior Aviation Team.

Frank Menditch 

Frank Menditch serves as Treasurer of Warrior Flight Team. Mr. Menditch began his flying career in the Air Force, receiving his pilot wings upon completion of undergraduate flying training. He is an active Commercial Pilot and volunteers with Angel Flight-Mid Atlantic. Angel Flight pilots volunteer their time, aircraft and fuel to fly needy patients for medical treatment at no cost to the patient.​ His decades of flying experience include flight time in numerous military and civilian aircraft, as well as historic warbirds.
 

Mr. Menditch is a graduate of the University of Maryland.

Lt Col Dane "Fitz" Nielsen, USAF (ret)

 

Lt Col Dane Nielsen grew up in Brigham City, Utah, and resides in Washington D.C.  Dane is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and has over 5000 hours of flying time in numerous aircraft.  He is a Command Pilot in the U. S. Air Force stationed at Joint Base Andrews, MD.  In his final assignment, he flew the C-20B, C-37A and C-37B (military versions of the Gulfstream III, V and 550 business jets) as an instructor/evaluator pilot in the 89th Airlift Wing.   The 89th AW provides worldwide transportation to America’s leaders including the Vice President, First Lady of the United States, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense as well as other military and diplomatic VIPs.  Prior to this assignment, Lt Col Nielsen flew aeromedical evacuation flights in the C-9, and supported combat operations in Middle East and Afghanistan flying the KC-10.

Lt Col Charlie "V+12" Vandenbossche

Born in Detroit and raised in Mt. Clemens, just north of Detroit, Charlie has been interested in all things aviation since he was a teenager. He graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He earned his wings of silver in 1989, and went on to serve as a T-38 Talon Instructor Pilot, and then to fly the B-1B Lancer. He later transferred to the Arkansas Air National Guard to fly the F-16, while also flying with northwest Airlines, in the DC-9. and accepting a position with Northwest Airlines (NWA) as a commercial pilot. He completed his NWA DC-9 training followed shortly after by F-16 training in early 2001. He is a veteran of Operations Allied Force, Southern Watch, Allied Force. Charlie has amassed over 4,000 flight hours in the B-1, F-16, DC-9, F-15, L-29, L-39, L-90, BAC-167, Provost, IAR-823, A-29, C-172, C-182, Piper Cub, CJ-6, TT-1 and Yak-52.