FEBRUARY 25, 2021 – The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, will conduct an information exchange onboard Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, February 24- March 3, to trade best practices and lessons learned in preparation for the 2021 show season.
Both teams are in the middle of their winter training cycles and will not conduct performances; however, training flights with similar profiles to the air show routine will be conducted in accordance with annual training objectives.
“We are thrilled to once again host the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at our winter training facility for an invaluable information exchange” said Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, Blue Angels commanding officer and flight leader. “Each opportunity the teams have to work together, is an opportunity to share experiences and best practices between our two service branches.”
The last time the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds performed together at an air show was at the Joint Base Andrews Air and Space Expo. May 11-12, 2019. Upon cancellation of air shows in 2020, the two teams came together in a collaborative, multi-city flyover mission called “America Strong” saluting healthcare workers, first responders, military and other essential personnel serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response.
“Last year’s America Strong joint flyover mission is a testament of how important and valuable joint trainings with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are for our respective teams and the Department of Defense as a whole,” said Lt. Col. John Caldwell, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds commander and leader. “When we are able to share our expertise and operational knowledge about our shared mission, we can better serve the nation. We appreciate the Blue Angels for hosting us again and look forward to enhancing our operations from this joint exchange.”
The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the precision and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 496 million fans.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform 53 flight demonstrations at 28 locations across the United States and Canada.
The Thunderbirds mission is to recruit, retain and inspire past, present and future Airmen while showcasing the pride, precision and professionalism of America’s Airmen. 2021 marks the Thunderbirds 68th year representing the United States Air Force.
This year, the Thunderbirds are slated to perform 49 demonstrations at 27 locations across the United States.
Story by Lt. Chelsea Dietlin
Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron