The Blue Angels
Pensacola, Florida is known for many things:
- Being saddled right next to the Alabama state line.
- The white sand and emerald shores that hinges on the Gulf of Mexico.
- Known as the city of five flags.
However, one of the best, and biggest things that Pensacola is known for is that it is the current hometown of the Navy’s beautiful Blue Angels, which is the second oldest flying aerobatic team in the world. The first team was created by the French and called Patrouille de France.
The Blue Angels delight us with air shows and a beautiful museum. The Blue Angels have been featured on news stations, have their own social media pages, and have done various stints on television. The team had its own show from 1960-1961, appeared on a few episodes of Tim Allen’s ‘Home Improvement,’ and even was on a Mythbusters episode! So it’s not as much surprising as it is fascinating when non-locals casually talk about the Blue Angels. They are recognized worldwide.
The Blue Angels are the prestigious naval unit that performs air shows across the globe. They showcase the beauty and precision that the Navy can produce. The team was created by Admiral Chester Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations in 1946 in order to boost Navy morale and help recruiting efforts. The team jumped around bases a bit before making a home in June 1955. And, while they spend the show season in our lovely town of Pensacola, the team resides in NAF El Centro, California during the offseason to train and practice new maneuvers. They train a couple of times a day, six days a week in order to produce the show as safely as possible.
The Blue Angels have a habit of making history and branding themselves. In 1954, the team brought in its first ever Marine Corps pilot, Cap. Chuck Hiett. And, since then, they have left one position reserved for a Marine. In 1968, the Blue Angels brought in their first female to serve on the Blue Angels, Lt. Mary Russell. The team was officially recognized as a flight demonstration team in 1973, with a special ceremony held at NAS Pensacola. Lastly, in 1985, they welcomed their first African-American pilot into the mix: Lt. Cmdr. Donnie Cochran
As of 2014, a new executive officer was added to the Blue Angels which then created Blue Angel history by adding 17 Blue Angels officers! That wasn’t the only history-making moment in the Blue Angels’ past. In 2015, Marine Capt. Katie Higgins was the first female Blue Angels pilot. In 2019 the team will celebrate its 73rd anniversary. Since the team’s beginning in 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for over 500 million fans across the globe. Guess you could say that makes our little town pretty well-known both far and wide.