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.
NAS Jax Air Show 2022 9
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