MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT -- Members of the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, also known as the Blue Angels, arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort as part of a winter visit Nov. 16. Visits are a vital part operations as they are the first and only chance the pilots will get to scout ahead and see where they will be flying. They also use the visit to decide where they will be staying and what they will need while they are here.
“It’s an important visit because MCAS Beaufort has had a lot of changes since their last visit in 2015,” said Lt. Col. James Poppy, the airfield operations officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron. “We have had a lot of construction done on the flight line and it’s also an opportunity for the pilots to meet the new MCAS Beaufort team they will be working with during the air show.”
The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 484 million fans.
“We are very excited to be here,” said Lt. Brandon Hempler, Blue Angels pilot #7. “It’s going to be a great air show. We will be doing a lot of advanced maneuvers. Hopefully we’ll inspire people to join the Navy or Marine Corps, and overall just encourage and motivate people to live well and be leaders.”
The Blue Angels personnel brought one F/A-18 Hornet aircraft and a C-130 Hercules. The visit served as an opportunity for the demonstration squadron to plan and
coordinate with the air station staff for the upcoming 2017 MCAS Beaufort Air Show.
“We are very happy to have the Blue Angels as a premier part of our air show,” said Poppy. “The air show is a way for MCAS Beaufort to show the local Beaufort community our appreciation. We use the Blue Angels to draw in those crowds, put on a great event and say thank you to the community for their continued support.”
Past airshow events have included military aircraft and vehicle static displays, aerial performances and a Marine Air Ground Task Force presentation which demonstrates the capabilities and warfighting doctrine of the Marine Corps to include a presentation of the F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike fighter.