Kevin O'Mara is retired USMC and flew with the Navy's elite flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, during the 1970 and 1971 airshow seasons. During his time on the team, Captain O'Mara was responsible for flying the Right Wing, Blue Angel Number 2, as part of the famous diamond formation. In this video, Kevin recalls the first time he saw the Blue Angels fly, as well as the day he found out he made the team. Kevin also shares a story of his only ejection with the Blue Angels and details the challenges of flying the F4 Phantom in formation. He also shares his admiration for Boss Harley Hall.
Steve Dwelle is a retired Air Force Colonel who served as the Thunderbird's only solo pilot from 1971 to 1972 while the team flew F4 Phantoms. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, Steve flew 189 combat missions in Vietnam while flying the F-100 Super Sabre. He originally applied to the Navy but was rejected due to high blood pressure. Not wanting to join the Army through the Draft, Steve applied to the Air Force and was accepted in 1963. After competing his training, he served a 3 year tour in Europe before being called to Vietnam in 1968 where he was stationed at Tuy Hoa Air Force Base.
Jerry "Turkey" Tucker served as both a lead and opposing solo pilot for the United States Navy Blue Angels Fight Demonstration Team. During his tenure on the team, which included the 1973, 1974, and 1979 air show seasons, Jerry flew both the F4 Phantom and A4 Skyhawk, and played a critical role in the team's transition between the two aircraft. Jerry, originally from Tilden, Nebraska, became fascinated with aviation at a young age, when his father took him to his first air show at the age of two. He would go on to enter the Navy and get his Wings of Gold in 1969, before joining fighter squadron VF-211 and executing 235 combat missions. After retiring from the Navy, Jerry went on to fly commercially for Southwest Airlines and now serves as a pilot for a private aviation charter company.
John Fogg is a former member of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels. Representing the Marine Corps, John joined the Blues in 1973 and flew the #3 plane in the left wing position. After the Blue Angels transitioned to the Douglas A4 Skyhawk in 1974, John moved to the slot position flying in the #4 jet. John was born in Greensburg, Indiana and now makes his permanent home in Pensacola, Fl, where he was elected mayor in 1994 and served the public until his retirement in 2009.
Al Cisneros is a former Blue Angels pilot who served on the team from 1975 until the end of the 1977 season. During his time on the Blues, Al held a number of roles, including narrator, left wingman, and slot. Al was born and raised in Brownsville, Texas and was commissioned through the Aviation Officer Candidate Program in April of 1969. As an F-4 pilot with VF-31 aboard the USS SARATOGA he flew 154 combat missions for which he holds several decorations including 12 Air Medals. He also successfully completed over 250 carrier landings and 2300+ hours of tactical jet time.
John Miller served as a solo pilot of the Navy's Blue Angels from 1976 to the end of the 1978 season. John's interest in flying began at a young age in Lynnfield, Massachusetts. After a visit from a recruiter during his senior year in college, John joined the Navy in 1969 and was designated a naval aviator in 1970. Prior to joining the Blue Angels, John accumulated over 2500 flight hours and 352 carrier landings, primarily during his service in the Vietnam conflict where he flew the A6 Intruder and was station aboard the USS Saratoga.
At the age of 28 Dan was accepted as the Marine representative for the Blue Angels during the 1977 & 1978 air show season. During his tenure on the team, Dan would experience incredible highs, including a chance encounter with golfer Arnold Palmer, as well as tragedy, losing two team members to accidents. After leaving the Marines, Dan flew with the Marine Reserves and eventually accepted a position at Southwest Airlines where he enjoyed a successful career until retirement.
Bruce Davey is a former Navy Blue Angels pilot who joined the team as their narrator in 1977 at the age of 29. The following two years saw him transitioned into the diamond, first serving as #3 (left wingman) and then as #4 (slot pilot) for his final year in 1979.
Jim Ross is a former Blue Angels pilot who served four seasons with the team, including in 1979 and 1980, as well as 1982 and 1983.
Al Edmonson is a former Maintenance Officer of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels. Joining the team in 1981, Al managed a broad scope of responsibilities for the team, including overseeing the entire maintenance team made up of 75 crew members. Additionally, Al was tasked with providing detailed feedback regarding the timing and symmetry of each demonstration. Al completed his tour with the Blues at the end of the 1982 season.
Dave Carroll was the Blue Angels team leader from 1982 to 1983, where the team demonstrated the capabilities of naval aviation and the A4 Skyhawk in front of millions of spectators. Developing a passion for aviation at a young age, Dave worked at local airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, performing basic maintenance to earn money for flying lessons. Through the Navy, he acquired his wings and was initially stationed at NAS Lemoore in California, where he flew the A7 Corsair. After several tours in Vietnam, Dave submitted an application to become a member of the Blue Angels. Despite having only 10 hours of flight time in an A4 Skyhawk and never previously attending a Blue Angels airshow, he was selected to lead the team for the 1982 and 83 airshow season.
Scott Anderson is a former Navy Blue Angels pilot who served on the team from 1982 through the 1984 air show season. Scott’s roles during his tenure on the Blue Angels include as narrator for the 82 season, left wingman in 83, and the slot pilot and operations officer during 1984.
Curt Watson served with the United States Navy Blue Angels from 1983 to 1986. During that time, he held several positions, including as Narrator, Left Wing, Slot, and Lead Solo. Born in Winchester, Tennessee, Curt focused much of his early attention on sports. He attended the University of Tennessee, where he played college football and earned the nickname "The Crossville Comet".
One of many career highlights Curt enjoyed while with the Blue Angels includes the time that he gave actor Tom Cruise a ride in the two-seater. After leaving the Navy, Curt joined FedEx as a pilot, where he worked for 28 years flying a number of different aircraft including the MD-11 and the Boeing 777.
David Commons is a former U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot who flew in the number 3 jet during the 1985 & 1986 air show seasons. Mr. Commons graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He flew the T-38 and F-16 before being released from active duty in 1988 after 13 years of service. Following a year and a half flying the A-7 in the Ohio Air National Guard, General Commons entered the Air Force Reserve unit program flying the F-16. He has served as an instructor pilot, flight examiner, flight commander, operations officer and squadron commander. General Commons is a command pilot with more than 3,900 hours of flight time including combat missions in Bosnia.
Gil Rud served as the last A-4 Skyhawk Flight Leader of the Blue Angels in 1986 and then led the team's transition to the F/A-18 Hornet, where he served an additional two years as Boss
Steve Foley served as the 30th flight leader and the 16th commanding officer of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels.
Throughout his career, Foley served in various F/A-18 Hornet squadrons, and also taught many fighter pilots as the Top Gun training officer. He deployed numerous times and has flown missions over Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch. Following his department head tour in 1998, he was awarded the Michael G. Hoff Attack Aviator of The Year Award by Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific. Foley accumulated more than 5,300 flight hours in Navy aircraft and 780 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Individual Air Medal (Combat Distinguishing Device), six Strike Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals (one Combat Distinguishing Device), two Navy Achievement Medals, and numerous campaign, unit and service awards
blue Angels video: Harry Chesnut is a former Blue Angels Crew Chief and served on the team from 1969 to 1971. Having several years of experience working on F4 Phantoms in the early sixties, including a tour with VF-154, Harry was selected to the Blue Angels in 1969, the same year the team transitioned to F4 Phantoms from F-11 Tigers. During the 1969 season, Harry served in the Blue Angles Air Frame shop, before being selected as Steve Shoemaker's crew chief for the 1970 show season. 1971 was Harry's final year on the Blue Angels, where he was the crew chief for Bill "Burner" Beardley in the #3 Phantom. In total, Harry served 38 years in the Navy and is an active Director of the the Blue Angels Alumni Association.
Richard Keane is the Blue Angels Alumni historian and a current board member. Rich served on the United States Navy Blue Angels from 1969 through 1971, where held the position of crew chief on the #3 aircraft and also worked as a member of the engine department. In this interview, Rich discusses the complications the team experienced while transitioning from the Grumman F-11 Tiger to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. Rich also details the job responsibilities of a Blue Angels crew chief and shares a funny story about flying with pilot Ernie Christensen.
Located in Vancouver, Washington, the H.H. Hall Building is named in honor of Harley Hall, the leader of the Blue Angels in 1970 & 1971. Gwen Davis, Harley's sister, and Larry Pruitt, the builder of the building share their memories about Harley, the history of how the building got its name, and discuss the memoribillia that is on display.
Meet David Gardner, the legendary Associate Producer and Director of Photography for "Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience". At age 94, David shares details about how he and partner Paul Marlow created cinemotography magic with the film that follows the Blue Angels during the 1970 & 1971 airshow season. Also featured in the video is David Marlow, the owner of F4 Media Development and son of Paul Marlow, the Producer and Director of Threshold. Dave recounts his father's memories interacting with Harley Hall and Skip Umsted during the film's production.