By Kevin M. Hymel, Contract Historian
On September 14, 2022, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron flew a unique formation over Arlington National Cemetery to honor the burial of twin brothers Lt. Gen. Charles “Buck” and Maj. Gen. Cuthbert “Bill” Pattillo and their wives. Typically, one F-16 pulls out of the six-aircraft pattern to create the missing-man formation, but in this flyover, two pulled out to honor the two former Thunderbird pilots. “We don’t have a name for it,” said Capt. Kaity Toner, a fellow Thunderbird pilot. “We just call it the ‘Pattillo Pull.’”
The Thunderbirds were honoring their own with the formation, since both Pattillo brothers helped found the Air Force’s first demonstration team, the Sky Blazers, and the subsequent Thunderbirds. The two F-16s that pulled out of the formation were on the left and right wing, both of which positions the Pattillo twins flew.