Americana: The Blue Angels

Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy.

What they do is impossible. You see it, and you’re thrilled and scared to death at the same time. They can’t fly that close together that fast. It’s just not possible.

And yet they do it in dozens of air shows and for about 15 million people each year. And they’ve been doing it since they were first organized in 1946 by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

The Blue Angels now fly in the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. Hornet doesn’t sound so menacing, considering that their past aircraft have included Hellcat, Bearcat, Panther, Cougar, and Tiger.

Their purpose is to increase recruiting for the U.S. Navy, and they’ve obviously been successful in their mission. They’re known and admired around the world.

But as skilled as these pilots are, what they do is incredibly dangerous. To date, 26 Blue Angels pilots have been killed in air shows or in training accidents. So when you see them fly, say a prayer for their safety. And be thankful that the Navy and Marines they represent are on our side.

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