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History of the Blue Angels
The skies are roaring and the beach is buzzing as the Blue Angels take over Pensacola.
Here's a little refresher on the squadron and what this week is all about.
At the end of WWII, the Chief of Naval Operations ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in Naval Aviation.
68 years after their first show, the public is more than just interested.
Glenn Maxwell traveled from New Orleans to see the Blues, "It's exciting. I really, really enjoy the Blues. It reminds me of a bumper sticker I once saw. It's the sound of freedom."
The blue and gold F-18 Hornets showcase the official colors of the U.S Navy but their name is a different story. After planning a show in NYC, one of the original pilots came across the name of the city's famous Blue Angel nightclub in the New Yorker magazine.
The Blues spend January through March training in California but they've been calling Pensacola home since 1949. "We always come out and see the Blues. So we're really excited about seeing the Blues and welcoming them back," said Kim Huggins, who watched the Blues every year.
Around 11 million people see the squadron soar each year. The Blues fly at the U.S Naval Academy graduation in Annapolis, Maryland and in dozens of cities across the Country, including my hometown of Seattle where I got to see the Blues every August as a kid.
This is a view we don't normally get to see and if it feels like it's a little too close for comfort, it's because it is. At one point, there's a mere 18 inches between the jets. Combine that with speeds of up to 700 mph, and you've got some ooh and ah worthy flying going on. "From the time they start flying until the last time they fly over, you keep looking over your shoulder waiting for them to come again."
Fourteen Marines make up the squadron and generally serve two to four years. In April of last year, the Navy announced that the remaining air show season was cancelled due to federal budget cuts.
"I was so disappointed when we moved here last year and they said that everything was cancelled and that we couldn't see 'em and that so I was very excited this morning," said Andrea Stephenson.
And as usual, the Blues are living up to the hype, one mesmerizing maneuver at a time.