NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE
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NAS Jacksonville Air Show
THE NAS JAX AIR SHOW IS A SMOKE FREE ENVIRONMENT EXCEPT IN THE DESIGNATED AREAS.
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PROUDLY SUPPORTING OUR JACKSONVILLE MILITARY COMMUNITY AND VETERANS
7 MONTH TRAINING PROGRAMS IN WELDING • HVAC • ELECTRICAL
4 Virtual Reality training to enhance our hands-on learning
4 DOD SkillBridge approved training
4 Post 9/11 GI Bill ® available to those who qualify
4 Military tuition pricing available
4 Specialized services from enrollment through employment assistance
4 Career planning
4 Gear package with tools for training included
3500 SOUTHSIDE BLVD., JACKSONVILLE, FL 32216
TWS is not part of the DOD. Accredited School, ACCSC. TWS-Jacksonville located at 1750 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216 is recognized by ACCSC as a satellite location of TWS-Jacksonville located at 3500 Southside Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32216. Tulsa Welding School & Technology Center (TWSTC) in Houston and TWS-Jacksonville are branch campuses of Tulsa Welding School, located at 2545 E. 11th St., Tulsa, OK 74104. Tulsa, OK campus is licensed by OBPVS and ASBPCE. Jacksonville, FL campus is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education, License No. 2331. TWSTC and TWS in Tulsa, OK are approved by TWC. TWS in Jacksonville is licensed by the Mississippi Commission on Proprietary School and College Registration, License No. C-668. Licensure indicates only that minimum standards have been met; it is not an endorsement or guarantee of quality. Licensure is not equivalent to or synonymous with accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. TWS in Jacksonville is also regulated by: Office for Career and Technical Schools, 10 N. Senate Ave, Suite SE 308, Indianapolis, IN 46204; OCTS@dwd.in.gov; http://www.in.gov/dwd/2731.htm. GI Bill® Eligible (check with local campus for specific eligibility). The AOSWT program is an Associate of Occupational Studies degree program and is not an academic degree. The AOSWT program is not approved for the following states: CO, GA, LA, MN, and TX. For more information about our programs, please visit our website at: http://www.tws.edu/student-resources/regulatory-information/.
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The Kids Zone is located just off of show center and is open both Saturday and Sunday of the air show from 10 am - 3 pm. To enter the Kids Zone, each child must have a wristband, which is $5 per day, cash only. Attractions inside of the Kids Zone includes the “Blue Angel Obstacle Course”, a 36-foot Turbo Shuttle Slide, an Extreme Air Power Jump, a STEM tent and face painting. Children must wear a wristband to enter and leave throughout the day. The Kids Zone will have free admittance on Friday’s practice show only.
NAS Jacksonville is proud to offer a STEM2 area at this year’s air show!
What is STEM ? “STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics. In Northeast Florida, STEM2 Hub recognizes the vital role medicine will play in future careers, so they have added a second M for Medicine, or STEM2. You may also see “STEM+C”, the C is for Computer Science, a critical underpinning in just about every industry and a high-demand career in itself.
will be offering the following activities in the Kids Zone:
Science | Technology | Engineering | Mathematics | Medicine
• Exploring Careers in Space: Participants will learn about the emerging careers in aerospace and space. Participants will think about a problem on earth that they could solve with access to space, or what it might be like to live and work in space. They will illustrate a postcard expressing their ideas. The postcards will be collected and flown on the new shepard rocket, stamped flown in space, and returned to the students. • Sensors Building: Participants will learn about sensors and how they are used in the world around them. Participants will build and test a simple sensor. • Coding/Robots: Participants will have the opportunity to code and apply their learning to robotics. Participants will test their code by running it on a robot. • Circuit Building: participants will build a simple circuit and light an led bulb.
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NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE Air Show History
SHOW DATES Oct. 15, 1945 June 7, 1946 Sept. 29, 1946
Nov. 9, 1948 May 8, 1949 Aug. 29, 1950 Dec. 7, 1952 Oct. 25, 1959 Oct. 14-16, 1960
Oct. 15, 1963 Nov. 1, 1964 Oct. 15, 1965 July 11, 1971 Nov. 3-4, 1973 Oct. 13-14, 1990 Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 1992 Sept. 24-25, 1994 Oct. 26-27, 1996 Oct. 24-25, 1998 Nov. 5-7, 1999 Oct. 15-16, 2000 Nov. 1-2, 2002 Oct. 30-31, 2004 Oct. 28-29, 2006 Oct. 25-26, 2008 Oct. 23-24, 2010 Nov. 5-6, 2011 Oct. 24-26, 2014 Nov. 4-5, 2017 Oct. 27-28, 2018 October 22-23, 2022
In 1946, Lt. Cmdr. Roy “Butch” Voris organized the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation. The Blue Angels performed for the first time in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station Jacksonville. In August 1946, they switched from flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat to the Grumman F8F Bearcat and introduced the famous diamond formation. US Navy Photo By Ron Williamson NAS Jacksonville Historian Air shows have been a large part of the aviation history of Jacksonville and for the Navy. Probably the first display from the station site was in 1918 when JN4 Jenny biplanes and Curtiss hydroaeroplanes, based at the station with the Earl Dodge aviation training camp, flew over Jacksonville to celebrate the end of World War I. The first air show held on the site was actually during the early 1930’s, while under
the control of the Florida National Guard. The highlight of the show was an aircraft loop, one that shocked the crowd! The first Navy show was held on the occasion of the station’s fifth anniversary on Oct. 15, 1945. World War II had just ended and the station threw open the gates so the citizens of Jacksonville could see the aircraft that helped win the war. Vice Adm. Marc Mitscher was the principle speaker at the ceremonies for the fifth anniversary and special invited guest for the air show. This was the only show held at the station in which the Blue Angels would not perform, as they had not yet been formed. However, Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) remains one of only three locations where the Blue Angels have flown shows in every type of aircraft the team has used. Air shows were held at the station with regularity until 1973. After that
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the featured VIP guest. Rhodes was the third team leader of the Blue Angels while the team was based at NAS Jax, and he led the team’s move to NAS Corpus Christi, Texas in October 1948. Additionally, not only was the Blue Angels patch used today designed by Rhodes, but he was also the flight leader who transitioned the team into the jet age. In 2008 and 2010, retired Navy Cmdr. Al Taddeo was the special VIP guest. Taddeo, the last surviving pilot of the original Blue Angels team, flew the original number three plane when the team flew F6F “Hellcats.” Taddeo had not returned to NAS Jax since being here as a squadron commander in Fighter Squadron 43 in 1954. The 2011 air show celebrated “The Centennial of Naval Aviation.” Once again, Taddeo and his wife, Joan were the air show VIP guests for this special anniversary commemorating 100 years of naval aviation excellence at NAS Jax. The scheduled 2013 air show was canceled due to government sequestration efforts. The Blue Angels announced their season would terminate early; with their last air show flown at NAS Key West on March 24, 2013. The air show was rescheduled at NAS Jax for 2014. Although NAS Jax celebrated their 75th Golden Anniversary in 2015, it was not possible to have an air show due to a massive $51.9M runway renovation project. The runway was officially opened on June 27, 2016 and air shows were once again scheduled starting in 2017. The Blue Angels were set to begin their 75th anniversary in April 2021 at their birthplace, NAS Jax, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show was canceled for public safety. The Blue Angels did perform several practices in the skies around Jacksonville to prepare for their upcoming season.
HISTORY CONTINUED year, air shows for the Navy shifted to NAS Cecil Field which remained the main Jacksonville location until NAS Jax’s 50th Anniversary in 1990. From 1990 - 1997, air shows alternated between NAS Jax and NAS Cecil Field. With the closure of NAS Cecil Field in 1999, NAS Jax held three consecutive air shows from 1998 - 2000. In 2001, Jacksonville Beach held their first air show and now alternates every other year with NAS Jax to host the annual event. To the left is a chronology of air shows held at NAS Jax since the installation was commissioned in 1940. Seven air shows have been dedicated to special VIP’s. On Oct. 15, 1960 the second wife of Adm. John Towers was in attendance when the airfield was dedicated to her late husband for his contributions to naval aviation. The station’s 25th Silver Anniversary Air Show was dedicated to Vice Adm. Robert Goldthwaite. He was in charge of aviation training at NAS Jax from 1941 - 1943 and later served as Commander, Fleet Air Jacksonville from 1962 - 1965. On Oct. 15, 1990 the air show was dedicated to local Congressman Charles Bennett, and Oct. 16, 1990, to Mr. Alexander Breast, whose firm in 1943 built a large number of the buildings at the station. Retired Navy Capt. Roy “Butch” Voris was invited as the VIP guest for the Oct. 26-27, 1996 air show. Voris was honored for his efforts in forming the original “Flight Exhibition Team,” as well as being the first team leader of the “Blue Angels,” named while stationed at NAS Jax in 1946. He was also invited back for the air show on Nov. 2, 2000. During his visit, the installation’s Air Terminal was dedicated in his name. He continued to be the VIP guest for the 2002 and 2004 air shows. Voris passed away in 2005 and he will always be remembered as “Boss One.” In 2006, retired Navy Cmdr. Raleigh “Dusty” Rhodes was #7 The Blue Angel Narrator LT. Brandon Hempler at the 2017 NAS Jacksonville Air Show.
Practice show on April 7, 2021 aboard NAS Jacksonville.
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A total of 17 officers voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels. Each year the team typically selects three tactical (fighter or fighter/attack) jet pilots, two support officers and one Marine Corps C-130 pilot to relieve departing members. The Chief of Naval Air Training selects the “Boss,” the Blue Angels Commanding Officer. Boss must have at least 3,000 tactical jet flight-hours and have commanded a tactical jet squadron. The Commanding Officer flies the Number 1 jet. The Chief of Naval Air Training also selects the “XO,” the Blue Angels Executive Officer. XO is a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) or Naval Aviator with at least 1,750 flight-hours. Career-oriented Navy and Marine Corps jet pilots with an aircraft carrier qualification and a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight-hours are eligible for positions flying jets Number 2 through 7. The Events Coordinator, Number 8, is a NFO or Naval Aviator who has finished their first tour. The Marine Corps pilots flying the C-130J Hercules aircraft, affectionately known as “Fat Albert,” must be aircraft commander qualified with at least 1,200 flight-hours. Career-oriented officers specializing in maintenance, administration, aviation medicine, public affairs and supply fill support positions. The Blue Angels base their selection of officers on professional ability, military bearing and communication skills. Blue Angels officers are well-rounded representatives of their fleet counterparts. Officers typically serve two years with the team. Blue Angels officers return to the fleet after their respective tours of duty. The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country.
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TEAM HISTORY 76 Years of Aviation Excellence
By US Navy Blue Angels
In 1946, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester Nimitz, had a vision to create a flight exhibition team in order to raise the public’s interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. In the 1940’s, we thrilled audiences with our precision combat maneuvers in the F6 Hellcat, the F8 Bearcat and the F9 Panther. During the 1950’s, we refined our demonstration with aerobatic maneuvers in the F9 Cougar and F-11 Tiger and introduced the first six- plane delta formation, still flown to this day. By the end of the 1960’s, we were flying the F-4 Phantom, the only two seat aircraft flown by the delta formation. In 1974, we transitioned to the A-4 Skyhawk, a smaller and lighter aircraft with a tighter turning radius allowing for a more dynamic flight demonstration. In 1986, we celebrated our 40th Anniversary by unveiling the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. In 2021, we transitioned to
our current aircraft the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and celebrated our 75th anniversary. In 1949, it became necessary for the Blue Angels to operate a support aircraft to move personnel and equipment between show sites. These support aircraft including the Douglas R4D Sky Train, the Curtiss R5C Commando, the Douglas R5D Skymaster, and the Lockheed C-121 Super Constellation. In 1970 the team received the Lockheed Martin C-130, affectionately known as “Fat Albert.” In 2020, “Fat Albert” transitioned to its current platform, the C-130J Super Hercules.
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MEET THE BLUE ANGELS
#1 CAPT BRIAN C. KESSELRING Flight Leader / Commanding Officer USN Captain Brian C. Kesselring is a native of Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated from Concordia College, MN, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts undergraduate degree with majors in Physics, Mathematics, and Business while also competing in basketball and track & field. Upon graduation, Brian attended Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, where he earned his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in March 2001. Brian joined the Blue Angels in September 2019. He has accumulat - ed more than 4,600 flight hours and has 812 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Meritori- ous Service Medal, six Strike/Flight Air Medals, three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achieve- ment Medals, and various personal, unit and service awards. #2 LT CHRIS KAPUSCHANSKY Right Wing, USN in Brockton, Massachusetts and in 2002 moved to Yorktown, Virginia where he graduated from York High School in 2007. After graduation, he attended Valley Forge Military Col- lege in Wayne, Pennsylvania for one year prior to attending the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography in 2012 LT Chris Kapuschansky Lieutenant Christopher Kapuschansky was born
#4 MAJ FRANK ZASTOUPIL Slot, USMC Major Frank Zastoupil is
and earned his commission in the U.S. Navy. Christopher joined the Blue Angels in September 2021 and has accumulat- ed more than 1450 flight hours and over 303 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various other unit and personal awards.Christopher joined the Blue Angels in September 2021 and has accumulated more than 1450 flight hours and over 303 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include a Navy and Marine Corps Achieve- ment Medal, and various other unit and personal awards. #3 LT SCOTT GOOSSENS raised in San Francisco, California, graduated from St. Ignatius College Preparatory in 2006. He attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he graduat- ed with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2010. Following college, he worked in Washington, D.C. in national security and defense policy until 2013, when he joined the Navy and earned his commission through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. Scott joined the Blue Angels in September 2021. He has accumulat- ed more than 1,600 flight hours and has 348 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various personal and unit awards. Left Wing, USN Lieutenant Scott Goossens, born in New York, New York, and
a native of Kingwood, Texas and graduated
from Kingwood High School in 2005. He attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2009. Frank earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Course in 2009 and reported to The Basic School (TBS) at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quan- tico, Virginia to complete training. Following TBS, Frank was assigned to the Center for Advanced Oper- ational Culture Learning (CAOCL) for Russian language and culture training. Frank joined the Blue Angels in Sep- tember 2019. He has accumulated more than 1,700 flight hours across four different tactical platforms, has ten carrier arrested landings and 90 shipboard vertical landings. His dec- orations include three Strike Flight Air Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and various personal and unit awards. #5 LCDR CARY RICKOFF Lead Solo, USN Lieutenant Commander Cary Rickoff is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from Riverwood High School in 2005, where he lettered in baseball. He attended Duke Uni- versity in Durham, North Carolina, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Anthropology and Anato- my in 2009, and earned his commis - sion as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. Cary joined the Blue Angels in Sep-
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tember 2018. He has accumulated more than 2,100 flight hours and over 180 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include a Strike Flight Air Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various other unit and personal awards. #6 LCDR JULIUS BRATTON Opposing Solo, USN and graduated from Northwest High School in 2007, where he lettered in football and track & field. He attend - ed the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean- ography in 2011, and was commis- sioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Lieutenant Commander Julius Bratton is a native of Woodlawn, Tennessee Julius joined the Blue Angels in Sep- tember 2019. He has accumulated more than 2,000 flight hours and has 207 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include a Strike Flight Air Medal, three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various other unit and personal awards. #7 LT GRIFFIN STANGEL Narrator, USN Lieutenant Griffin Stangel is a native of Madison, Wisconsin and graduated from Madison West High School in 2008. He attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Air Traffic Control in 2012. Immedi - ately after graduation, he reported to Newport, Rhode Island where
he received his commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy after completion of Officer Candidate School. Griffin joined the Blue Angels in Sep - tember of 2021 and has accumulat- ed more than 1200 flight hours and over 190 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include three Navy and Marine Corps Achievements Medals, and various other unit and personal awards. #8 LT KATLIN FORSTER Events Coordinator, USN Lieutenant Katlin Forster is a native of Scottsdale, Arizona and graduated from Desert Mountain High School in 2009, where she lettered in badminton. She attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics in May 2013, and earned her commission as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Katlin joined the Blue Angels in Sep- tember 2020. She has accumulated more than 931 flight hours and has 257 carrier-arrested landings. Her decorations include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various other unit and personal awards. CDR JON FAY
missioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy. Jon joined the Blue Angels in Sep- tember 2021. He has accumulated more than 2,900 flight hours and 168 carrier arrested landings. His decorations include two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, five Navy Achievement Medals, and var- ious personal and unit and service awards.
Executive Officer, USN Commander Jon Fay is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He attended the
United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he lettered in football and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics in 2000, and was com-
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The History of
By Ron Williamson NAS Jacksonville Historian
Everyone is familiar with the Blue Angels and their fighter aircraft. The team has been flying demonstrations for crowds since their first official public show June 15, 1946 for the dedication of Craig Field in Jacksonville. There are also probably a few people in the country today that are not familiar with the different demonstration aircraft the team has used for some 76 years now. But how many of those same folks are as familiar with the now C-130T called “Fat Albert”? And where did the name “Fat Albert” actually come from? Both LCDR “Butch” Voris, and later Team Leader LCDR “Dusty” Rhodes, had talked about having a support aircraft for the Blue Angels when they did their performances at locations away from their home base. In conversations with Voris he said that although the idea of a support aircraft would have been very useful in the beginning, NAS Jacksonville did not have a support aircraft to spare at the time he led the team. When the Naval Air Advanced Training Command at NAS Jacksonville transferred to NAS Corpus Christi in 1948, the Blue Angels team transferred with them. Once at Corpus Christi, and with Rhodes as team leader, he was finally able to secure an R4D-5 (C-47) “Skytrain” transport aircraft to provide full time support starting with the 1949 season. The Skytrain, already located at the station, was assigned to the Blue Angels and it carried the team’s maintenance personnel, spare parts and provided logistical support. In 1953 Corpus Christi provided a R5C-1 (C-46) “Commando” transport and crew for the Blue Angels logistical support to replace the Skytrain. The Blue Angels insignia was also added for the first time to this plane. Halfway through that season, the transport aircraft was replaced again by a Douglas R4D-8 (C-117D) “Super Skytrain.” This aircraft lasted until the Blue Angels relocated to NAS Pensacola in 1955. With that move, Pensacola gave the team a new transport aircraft, assigning them an R5D-4 “Skymaster”. The Skymaster was painted in the Blue Angels gold and blue paint scheme in 1959. Skymasters would then support the Blue Angels for the next 12 years. In January 1968, the Blue Angels again traded in their Skymaster support aircraft for a Lockheed C-121J “Super Constellation”. This aircraft was also flown in the Blue Angels gold and blue paint scheme. The “Connie”, as it was referred to, was retired on December 21, 1970 and eventually scrapped. The long line of different support aircraft would end once the Marine Corps C-130 “Hercules” joined the team in 1970, this has been their support aircraft of choice ever since. In 1970 when the Hercules joined the team, a popular Saturday morning cartoon show was Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. The theme of the show contained the line “Hey, Hey, Hey! It’s Fat Albert!” One morning as the Marine crew walked out to the plane, one of the team members looked at the plane sitting on the ramp in NAS Pensacola and said “Hey, Hey, Hey! It’s Fat Albert!” The rest of the crew heard that and laughed, but low and behold, the name stuck! It has been used ever since with great affection.
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CAPT WILLIAM HUCKEBA C-130 “Fat Albert” Pilot, USMC Captain William Huckeba is a native of Hoover, Alabama, and graduated from Hoover High School in 2008, where he was the School President and played football, bas- ketball, and soccer. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Aero- space Engineering, earned his com- mission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, and reported to The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia in 2012. William joined the Blue Angels in 2019. He has accumulated more than 1,300 flight hours, to include numerous operations and exercises in Europe and Africa. His decorations include the Joint Service Achieve- ment Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various personal and unit awards. CAPT JACKSON STREIFF C-130 “Fat Albert” Pilot, USMC School in 2010, where he played varsity football. In 2014, he graduat - ed from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. Upon gradua- tion he earned a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Course program and reported to The Basic School aboard Marine Corps Base Quanti- co, Virginia. Captain Streiff has accumulated more than 950 flight hours over the course of multiple joint, bilateral, and multilateral exercises in the Captain Jackson Streiff is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from Millard South High
Pacific area of responsibility, and has received various personal and unit awards. MAJ JOSHUA SOLTAN C-130 “Fat Albert” Pilot, USMC Major Joshua Soltan is a native of Spokane, Valley High School in 2006. In 2010, he graduated from Central Wash- ington University with a Bachelor of Science in Aviation and a Minor in Business Administration. In August of 2010, he earned his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Course program. He reported to Officer Selection Of - fice, 12th Recruiting District Seattle, Washington as an Assistant Officer Recruiter. In 2011, he transferred to Washington where he graduated from Central
The Basic School at Camp Bar- rett, Quantico, Virginia to complete training. Joshua joined the Blue Angels in 2021. He has accumulated more than 1,600 flight hours, 5 combat hours, numerous operations and exercises in the European, Middle Eastern, and the Pacific areas of re - sponsibility. His decorations include the Humanitarian Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achieve- ment Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and various personal and service support medals.
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The Making of an Air Show Blue Angels headline event at Naval Air Station Jacksonville
U.S. Navy air shows involve many moving parts, which include planning and coordinating hundreds of tasks -- from those who schedule the performers to those who direct traffic and clean up after each day’s events. For the 2022 NAS Jax Air Show, scheduled for Oct. 22-23, a diverse team of professionals joined together with a shared vision to create what is expected to be two spectacular days of high-flying entertainment for hundreds of thousands of spectators. Oct. 21 is scheduled to be a dress rehearsal that is open to all active duty personnel, reservists, retirees and their families -- as well as school children from kindergarten through 12th grade. According to NAS Jax Public Affairs Officer Kaylee LaRocque, 5,000 school-aged children have historically attended the rehearsal air show. Senior leadership from NAS Jax, including air operations; Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR); and security departments among others have spent more than a year planning and preparing for the 2022 show. “A successful air show begins with cooperation and clear communication between all members of the air show committee,” said Cmdr. Aaron Robinson, NAS Jax operations officer and air show coordinator. “We have to trust each other to meet the deadlines of the very detailed plan.” This is Robinson’s first time as air show coordinator. “My actual experience planning and executing an event like this is very limited. Thankfully, we have numerous individuals from previous years’ events still attached to the command and the base. Their prior experience has been invaluable throughout this entire planning process.” Sponsorship plays an important role in the success of an air show. NAS Jacksonville’s MWR department is active from the beginning of the planning process to make sure the financial support is there to put together a successful air show. “In January of this year I started the process of soliciting sponsorship for the show,” said Morgan Kehnert, MWR marketing and sponsorship director. “In order to support the air show financially: to pay for the performers, the fuel for the jets, the kids zone attractions and all of the marketing materials needed to promote the show, sponsorship is crucial. The support from sponsors in the local community ensures a successful show.”
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For Maj. Olimpia Jackson, NAS Jax Security Depart- ment air show coordinator, planning and communication has been her focus since she became involved with the air show six months ago. “We haven’t done an air show in a few years,” said Jackson. “And for some of the officers, this is their first time doing the air show. The first thing I did was reach out to those have done this before, contacting outside agencies and getting everybody together to work out all the details.” Twelve local agencies are working with NAS Jax Security Department to help provide force protection measures that have been established to meet numerous air show safety and security requirements. “We need them,” said Jackson. “We don’t have the manpower to do this alone. We are grateful for all the support we get from the local law enforcement community and other agencies.” All the planning and preparation by the security department revolves around its main mission of force protection. “We open up this base to the community and we have to maintain its safety,” said Jackson. “A successful show is one with no injuries. Everyone comes on the base, enjoys the show and leaves safely.” The air show will host civilian and military performers, and also feature static displays of military aircraft from the 1940s all the way to the modern era. “This year’s civilian performers are the best in the air show industry and are truly some of the most entertaining pilots in the world,” said Robinson. “I’m excited for the audience to see Adam ‘Shakenbake’ Baker, who would inspire nearly anyone to become a pilot. “The show will kick off with the U.S. Special Operations Command Para-Commandos and we will also have the annual fan favorites, Patty Wagstaff and Rob Holland,” said Robinson. The air show supports NAS Jax’s distinct heritage as being the ‘Birthplace of the Blue Angels’ in 1946. This year’s air show features Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, who will be the final performance on Saturday and Sunday, for an unforgettable aerial performance. “Considering that NAS Jacksonville has not hosted an air show since 2018, I anticipate the weekend crowd to be at or above 200,000 spectators,” said Robinson.
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