Squadron History

The following list contains important milestones in the Blue Angels’ illustrious 76-year history. For more detailed descriptions, we recommend reading Blue Angels Decades or any of the many books listed in the Media dropdown menu, Blue Angels Books.

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Our Past

April 2, 1946

Admiral Chester Nimitz orders formation of a U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team. LCDR Roy “Butch” Voris assigned to preparing a report determining feasibility and best practices.

April 24, 1946

Upon reading Voris’ report, he is selected to serve as the Officer in Charge (OinC) of the Team. Based out of NAS Jacksonville (Jax), Voris selects the Grumman F6F Hellcat as the Team’s aircraft, as well as the pilots and maintainers.

May 24, 1946

Training commences.

June 15 & 16, 1946

The Team participates its first demonstrations for the public, at the inaugural Southeastern Air Show and Exhibition at Craig Field, Jacksonville, FL.

June 7, 1946

Voris and Team perform a demonstration at NAS Jax for RADM Ralph Davisson, Chief of Naval Air Advanced Training. Impressed by what he has seen, Davisson approves Team for public performances.

July 13, 1946

During their appearance at the World’s Fair of Aviation in Omaha, NE the press refers to the Team as “The Blue Angels”. The name is soon officially adopted.

August 24, 1946

First public performance with the Grumman F8F Bearcat takes place at Stapleton Field near Denver, CO.

May 30, 1947

The diamond formation is introduced to the demo.

November 8, 1948

The Team flies a ‘farewell’ show at NAS Jax, and soon relocates to NAS Corpus Christi, TX.

May 1949

The official Blue Angels crest is introduced. Designed by Team’s OinC, LCDR Raleigh “Dusty” Rhodes.

August 20, 1949

The Grumman F9F-2 Panther makes its public debut at he Beaumont, TX airshows.

June 30, 1950

After flying its show at NAS Dallas, TX, the Team is disbanded. Many of the officers and men go on to form the nucleus of VF-191, and serve in the Korean War.

October 25, 1951

The Navy decides to reinstate the Team, assigning Voris to again serve as its OinC.

April 19, 1952

The Team flies its first public performances in the Grumman F9F-5 at NAS Memphis.

February 1954

CAPT Chuck Hiett becomes the first Marine Aviator assigned to the Team.

December 1954

Team transitions to the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

September 7 & 8, 1956

Team performs at the International Aircraft Show in Toronto, Canada, their first public demonstrations outside of the U.S.


Team transitions to Grumman F11F-1 (later redesignated F-11A) Tiger.


6-plane Delta formation added to the demonstration.


The Farvel manuver is introduced.

July 6, 1963

1,000th demonstration flown in Pocatello, ID.

July 26, 1964

Team performs in Mexico City, Mexico.

March 20-25, 1965

Team flies public demonstrations in the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.


A Lockheed C-121J Constellation replaces the Team’s R5D.

October 1968

LT Mary Russell reports in, serving as Assistant Public Affairs Officer and the first woman to serve on the Team.


Team transitions to the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II.


Logistical duties taken over by “Fat Albert”, a USMC Lockheed KC-130F Hercules.

October 8-11, 1970

First Blue Angels’ tour of South America, with demonstrations flown in Panama and Ecuador.

October 30-November 3, 1970

Five public demonstrations flown in Hawaii.

October 20-November 25, 1971

First-ever Far East tour. Demonstrations flown in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines and Guam.

December 10, 1973

Team is commissioned as the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, and transitions to the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II.

October 8, 1977

2,000th demonstration flown at NAS Atlanta, GA.


Aviation Electrician’s Mate Penny Edwards beccomes the first female enlisted Sailor to serve as a Blue Angel.

November 8, 1986

The Blue Angels perform their final demonstration in the A-4F Skyhawk II at NAS Pensacola and unveil the first F/A-18 Hornet painted in Blue Angel colors.

April 1, 1987

The Blue Angels perform their first public demonstration of the F/A-18 Hornet at MCAS Yuma

January 31, 1988

The Team perform a flyover of Super Bowl XXII at Jack Murphy Statium in San Diego, California

September 7, 1990

3,000th demonstration at Grand Forks, ND


The Blue Angels become the first U.S. military flight demonstration team to perform in Russia, Romania and Bulgaria as part of the largest European tour in Team history.


CDR Donnie Cochran becomes the first African American commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels


The Blue Angels celebrate their 50th anniversary

November 15, 1998

CDR Patrick Driscoll makes the first arrested landing and catapult launch of a Blue Angels jet aboard an aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)

June 29, 2007

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the team begin their ongoing support of Toys for Tots, converting Fat Albert into Santa’s sleigh for toy deliveries to areas most affected by disasters.

November 26, 2009

Fat Albert performs the last JATO takeoff at the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at NAS Pensacola.


During sequestration, the Blue Angels provide over 5,000 hours of community service

February 7, 2016

The Team perform a flyover of Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

April & May 2020

Operation America Strong: The Blue Angels and Thunderbirds conduct multi-city flyovers in show of support for frontline responders during the COVID-19 pandemic

July 27, 2020

The first Blue Angels F/A-18E Super Hornet arrives at NAS Pensacola from Boeing’s facilities at Cecil Field

August 1, 2020

The Team debuts a new Fat Albert C-130J Super Hercules highlighted by a new livery

April 1, 2021

The Team performs their first public demonstration of the F/A-18E Super Hornets in Lakeland, FL at the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo

July 18, 2022

Lt. Amanda “Stalin” Lee of Mounds View, Minn., was selected as the first female F/A-18 jet demonstration pilot for the 2023 season.