A SALUTE TO TEAMWORK - The Blue Angels history
At the end of the World War II, Chester W. Nimitz, then the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation. The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 a their home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. Flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat.
Only two months later on August 25, 1946, the Blue Angels transitioned to the Grumman F8F Bearcat. One year later, the 1947 team introduced the now famous "Diamond Formation". By the end of the 1940's the Blue Angels were flying their first jet aircraft, the Grumman F9F-™ Panther. In response to the demands placed on naval aviation in the Korean conflict, the team reported to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton as the nucleus of Fighter Squadron 191, Satan's Kittens, in 1950.
The team reorganized the next year and reported to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas where they began flying the newer and faster verion of the Panther, the F9F-5. The Blue Angels remained in Corpus Christi until the winter of 1954 when they relocated to their present home base in NAS Pensacola, Florida. It was there that they progressed to the swept-wing Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.
The ensuring 20 years saw the Blue Angels transition to two more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969). In December 1974, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team began flying the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was recognized as the Navy Flight Demonstration Sequadron. The recognition permitted the establishment of a commanding officer vice a flight leader, added support officers and further redefined the squadron's mission, emphasizing the support of recruiting efforts.
On November 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the new sleek F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack now serving on the U.S.'s front lines of defense.
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