High-Flying Happy 75th to the Blue Angels
The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels turn 75 years young in 2021, and to mark the occasion, the renowned squadron will perform 56 flight demonstrations at 29 locations, beginning this April.
Soon after World War II, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester W. Nimitz ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation.
The team performed its first demonstration on 15 June 1946 at its home base, Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida, flying the F6F Hellcat. The team was first introduced as “the Blue Angels” at a show in Omaha, Nebraska, in July 1946.
That first year, the team also employed a North American Aviation SNJ-5 Texan (later known as T-6), which was painted and configured to simulate a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero and flown to simulate aerial combat. It was painted yellow and affectionately named “Beetle Bomb.” The team continued to use the Beetle Bomb in its performances but later traded it in for a Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat, the same aircraft the team transitioned to
in August 1946.