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Blue Angels: Aircraft and Personnel

The first Blue Angels aircraft flown in July 1946 was the F6F-5 Hellcat aircraft, a veteran of World War II.  Just a few months later, the team transitioned to the F8F Bearcat aircraft.  In the fall of 1948, the flight team moved to Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas.   In 1949, the team relocated to Naval Air Station, Whiting Field, Florida.   Also in the year the insignia of the Blue Angels was designed and adopted.  The only change to the insignia occurs to reflect current aircraft flown by the demonstration team.   Additionally, in that year, the first jet aircraft F9F Panther flew with the team, allowing for tighter performances.  

Relocating to Corpus Christi once again in 1951, the team remained until there until 1955.   In 1954, the Blue Angels utilized the Naval Facility at El Centro, California, for their first winter training.   A year later, their home base relocated to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, and also began to use the F9F-8 Cougar aircraft.  In 1957, the team began the transition to F11F-1 Tiger aircraft, which served for 12 years.   Also that year, a new paint scheme for Blue Angels aircraft was adopted, showing Blue Angels with an arrow on the belly of the aircraft. 

In 1969, the Blue Angels utilized the F-4J Phantom for five years until transitioning to the A-4F Skyhawk, which served for 12 years.  In October 1978, Aviation Electrician's Mate Penny Edwards became the first enlisted Sailor to join the maintenance team.  Lieutenant Commander Donnie Cochran became the first African American aviator in November 1985, later returning as commanding officer in 1994.  Until early 2010, the F/A-18 A/B Hornet was the aircraft of choice for the Demonstration Team until switching to the F/A-18 C/D.   Captain Katie Higgins, USMC, became the first female aviator to serve with the Blue Angels in 2015, flying the C-130-T Hercules aircraft.  

Other Resources:

NHHC Blue Angel Focus

Official U.S. Navy Blue Angel Website

Image:  041006-N-7559C-001:   The Blue Angels Diamond Formation transits across the Pacific Ocean for an air show at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, October 6, 2004.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph.