The Blue Angels


About midway through the Cleveland Air Races in 1946 an event placed somewhat inconspicuously on the program was dutifully announced over the public address system. The man said that a Navy Flight Exhibition team in four Grumman Bearcat fighters would demonstrate Navy precision flying in formation. On the team were a Lieutenant Commander, a Lieutenant and two Lieutenants Junior Grade. They were all Naval Aviators with combat records.


Such a four-plane formation employed so skillfully in the last war [WWII] gave cause for its leader, out-numbered fifteen to one, to exclaim without hesitation,

“Red Leader to Carrier, I have 60 Zeros surrounded and am proceeding to attack!” All of his four planes got back and were accredited 17 “kills.”

This week in 1946 Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester W. Nimitz ordered the creation of a flight demonstration team. In 1949, the team took the name Blue Angels.

This 1950 Proceedings article explains the Blue Angels’ early history.

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8 Responses to “The Blue Angels”

  1. wandering neurons Says:

    Man, your timing is impeccable. I just started working at the home of the Blue Angels – Fallon, NV. Now I’ve got to do more research on them…

  2. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Mr. Neurons– It was a fluke. My late Dad was in the USN, I kept up his subscription to Proceedings, and I got an email advert on the Blue Angels. I built a Revell model Blue Angels jet as a kid, saw them live a decade or so ago. Amazing stuff.

    • wandering neurons Says:

      Sounds like you were proud of your Dad! Hmmm. Was your model a bi-wing or did they have mono-wings and jet engines by then? (Age-ism at its finest). 😛
      They and the Thunderbirds are great, but you can also get some great shows by the international teams. And if you haven’t seen what the F-22 and F-35 can do, it’s amazing. But the last two are solo acts. Sigh.
      IIRC, my Mom knew one of the Thunderbirds a long time ago, before they had one of their more drastic f-ups.
      Again, thanks for sharing! Back to lurking…

  3. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Mr. Neurons —

    My Blue Angels Revelle model was a mono-wing jet ca. 1967, dark blue, cool decals. I don’t know which aircraft they were flying at that time, and I couldn’t find a link to a picture of the plastic model.

    Papa Strutts was a LTJG on the USS Estes, flagship for Operation Ivy. He witnessed what few people have ever seen – a thermonuclear test explosion. Said it scared the crap out of him, and the pressure wave blew out every light bulb on the ship. They were still learning about radiation, and Dad said he was one of the last surviving members of The Glow In The Dark Society.


    • wandering neurons Says:

      Dang, your Dad was a real Hero! I hope you got to learn lots from him!
      If there’s a F11F-1 here’, I’ll see about a picture for you…

  4. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Mr. Neurons —
    BTW, Kim Wilson is my all-time favorite Thunderbird.

    • wandering neurons Says:

      Nice one, favorite Thunderbird. Here’s mine:

      Well, not really. Your’s is the better choice. No lasting aftereffects.

  5. Bunk Strutts Says:

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