Posted by: Jacqui Murray | August 26, 2009

2011 Blue Angels Announced


The Blue Angels, dryly referred to as the Navy’s flight demonstration team, are much more. 08graduation_0416They entertain stunned crowds with feats of air acrobatics that look impossible–and easy in the hands of this brilliant pilots. As much as thrilling earth-bound watchers, they show the world exactly what American pilots can do with a fighter jet.

The requirements to be part of this group are rigorous. Applicants must be carrier-qualified tactical jet pilots with 1,500 hours of flight time. The team includes sixteen volunteer officers. They rotate, so that each year, three tactical (fighter or fighter/attack) jet pilots, two staff officers and one Marine Corps pilot replace departing members.

blue angels8In short, they symbolize everything that is amazing about our Navy pilots, and now, they have a new Team:

Blue Angels Announce 2010 Team Members

6Aug09 – The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, The Blue Angels, announce the officers selected for the 2010 team.

“Nearly 50 highly qualified officers applied for these jobs, so the competition was extremely tough,” said Lt. Cmdr. Paul Brantuas, the squadron’s applications officer. “Over the course of four months, we invite them to attend our shows so the team can get to know each of them personally before we select the finalists. Once selected, we bring the finalists down to Pensacola during the Pensacola Beach show to interview them and make a final selection. It’s a very thorough and fair process designed to select only the best officers to represent the Navy and Marine Corps.”

F/A-18 Hornet Pilots:blue angels11

Navy Lt. Robert Kurrle, Jr., 30, of Statesville, N.C., is currently assigned to VFA-106 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. He is a 2002 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Navy Lt. Christian Simonsen, 33, of Coon Rapids, Minn., is currently assigned to VFA-106 at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. He is a 2002 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Navy Lt. James Tomaszeski, 30, of Coronado, Calif., is currently assigned to VMFAT-101 at Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif. He is a 2000 graduate of Florida State University.

C-130 Aircraft Commander:
Marine Capt. Benjamin Blanton, 31, of Ojai, Calif., is currently assigned to VMGR-452 at Stewart Air National Guard Base, Newburgh, N.Y. He is a 2002 graduate of the University of California at San Diego.

Maintenance Officer:
Navy Lt. John Thompson, 44, of Baltimore, Md., is currently assigned to NAVAIR 5.0D, Patuxent River, Md. He is a 1982 graduate of Dundalk Senior High School, Baltimore, angels7

Public Affairs Officer:
Navy Lt. Katie Kelly, 27, of Elgin, Ill., is currently assigned to Navy Office of Information West. She is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. She will join the team in 2011.

Supply Officer:
Navy Chief Warrant Officer Three Clive Dixon, 40, of Bronx, N.Y., is currently assigned to HM-14 at Norfolk, Va. He is a 1987 graduate of DeWitt Clinton High School, Bronx, N.Y.
Six of these seven officers will join the current ten members of the 2009 team. Expected to return for 2010 are:

F/A-18 Demonstration Pilots:
Navy Cmdr. Greg McWherter, 40, of Atlanta, Ga.
Marine Maj. Chris Collins, 34, of Darien, Conn.
Navy Lt. Frank J. Weisser, III, 31, of Atlanta, Ga.
Navy Lt. Ben Walborn, 29, of Reading, Pa.

Events Officer:
Navy Lt. Amy Tomlinson, 31, of San Diego, Ca.
blue angels

C-130 Aircraft Commanders:
Marine Maj. Brendan C. Burks, 35, of Auburn, Ala.
Marine Capt. Edward Jorge, 33, of Hollywood, Fla.

Flight Surgeon:
Navy Lt. Johannah Valentine, 30, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Administrative Officer:
Navy Chief Warrant Officer Four Adolfo De Montalvo, 45, of El Paso, Texas.

Public Affairs Officer:
Marine Capt. Tyson W. Dunkelberger, 31, of Burke, Va.


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