Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michal Kloeffler-Howard said Thursday the pilot ejected, and the White House announced that he was unharmed. No injuries on the ground were reported.
Obama was still at the graduation site at the time of the crash, taking photos with attendees prior to returning to Washington. The crash happened about 15 miles south of the academy.
After hearing of the crash, the president thanked the pilot for his service in person. The two met briefly while Obama was on his way back to Peterson Air Force Base to fly back to Washington.
“The president thanked the pilot for his service to the country and expressed his relief that the pilot was not seriously injured,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
The Thunderbirds had just finished their traditional performance at commencement for Air Force Academy cadets, screaming overhead just as the graduating officers tossed their white hats into the sky.
The jets then did multiple fly-bys over the academy’s football stadium, where the ceremony took place, blasting by in tight formations or looping high overhead.
Watch the president’s commencement speech here: