Blue Angels To Return Next Summer

The Blue Angels will return to the sky next summer.

The Navy’s stunt pilot team was grounded this year due to federal budget cuts. The Blue Angels were forced to cancel several shows across the United States during the 2013 season but the daredevils will be returning next year.

Blue Angels Commanding Officer and Flight Leader, Cmdr. Thomas Frosch said: “Community outreach is key to connecting Americans to the military. Our performances provide a unique opportunity to inspire millions to connect with and support our service members, and we are looking forward to an exciting 2014 season.”

ABC notes that the Blue Angels will be resuming in 2014 but they will only put on about 65 shows. That’s a 45% reduction in events from the previous year. This will save the government about $104 million during the fiscal year of 2014 and over $1 billion over the next decade.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told ABC: “Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States Military and in its most important asset — people… It is our obligation to sustain that trust well into the future. (These performances) showcase our superior combat power, demonstrate readiness to defend the nation, and help to preserve the all-volunteer force.”

In addition to cutting the number of shows, the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds will also be removing flyovers from their routine.

Wendy Varhegyi, Chief of the Engagement Division for Air Force Public Affairs, said: “The Thunderbirds will perform some high-visibility flyovers, but we as a Department are not going to conduct a public flyover program at this time… We’re trying to be as fiscally responsible as we can be, which is what the American people want… Our focus will remain with air shows primarily.”

The Blue Angels will perform their first show on March 15 at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, California. Their final performance will come on November 8 at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.

The Thunderbirds have not announced their 2014 schedule but Varhegyi said that she expects the team to put on about 30 shows next year.

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