The Blue Angels are an iconic 17-member group of US aircraft aerial demonstrators based in Florida. As the US’s first aircraft aerial demonstrator group, they have a long and impressive history. Their team has included some of US History’s finest pilots and aviators.

How Many Blue Angels Are There?

There are usually 17 Blue Angels. These 17 members’ ranks range from E-4 to E-9. Every Blue Angel member is a volunteer from the U.S Navy or Marine corps. There’s also a support crew, including flight surgeons, event coordinators, a public affairs officer, a supply officer, and a maintenance officer.

How Are Blue Angels Selected?

Members are hand-picked from the US Navy and Marine Corps. The Blue angels select three F/A-18 Hornet pilots and a Marine Corps C-130 pilot each year.

Minimum Requirements

A jet pilot must be a carrier-qualified Navy or Marine pilot with a minimum of 1,250 tactical jet flight hours. The C-130 pilot must be an aircraft commander with a minimum of 1,200 fight hours.

Selection Process

Candidates must formally apply via their chain of command and provide personal statements, letters of recommendation, and flight records. Candidates also attend team briefs, post-show activities, and social events to familiarize themselves with the Blue Angels.

The application process starts from March to June. Current team members vote in secret to select the following year’s officers. A candidate has to be unanimously approved.

How Many Blue Angels Have There Been Since Its Inception?

As of 2020, and since its inception in 1946, the Blue Angels have had 272 demonstration pilots.

What Happens to the Departing Blue Angel Members?

Departing members can return to their fleets in the U.S Navy or Marine Corps. They can also choose to retire from the military.

How Many Blue Angels Have Died?

Since  1946, 26 pilots have died. Four pilots were killed in action or died during captivity. One of these four pilots died in the Korean War, while the other three died in the Vietnam War. The latest casualty was Captain Jeff Kuss in 2016. He died after takeoff during a practice run in Tennessee.

How Many Blue Angel Jets Are There?

The Blue angels have 9 single-seat and 2 double-seat Boeing F/A-18 super hornets, totaling 11 jets. They also have a C-130 support plane.

What is the Difference Between the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds?

The Blue Angels formed in 1946, after WWII, while the Thunderbirds formed in 1953, six years after the US airforce’s formation.

The Blue Angels are based out of Florida, use a navy blue and yellow color scheme, and use dual-engine F/A-18 Hornets.

The Thunderbirds are based in Colorado Springs, have a red, white, and blue color scheme, and use single-engine F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Blue Angels Personnel

  • Captain Brian Kesselring

Captain Brian Kesselring is the Blue Angel’s Commanding Officer and Flight Leader. He joined in September 2019. He’s completed more than 4,600 flight hours and 612 carrier-arrested landings.

  • Lieutenant Christopher Kapuschansky

Lieutenant Christopher Kapuschansky is the Blue Angel’s pilot of the right-wing formation. He joined in September 2021. He’s accumulated 1450 flight hours and 303 carrier-arrested landings. He’s been decorated with both a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

  • Lieutenant Scott Goossens

Lieutenant Scott Goossens is the  Blue Angel’s pilot of the left-wing formation. He joined in September 2021. He’s completed 1,600 flight hours and 348 carrier-arrested landings.

  • Major Frank Zastuopil

Major Frank Zastuopil is the Blue Angel’s slot no.4 pilot. He joined in 2019. He’s completed over 1,700 flight hours across four tactical platforms, 10 carrier-arrested landings, and 90 shipboard vertical landings.

  • Lieutenant Cary Rickoff

Lieutenant Cary Rickoff is the Blue Angels’ slot no.5 pilot and lead solo pilot. He joined in September 2018. He’s completed 2,100 flight hours and 180 carrier-arrested landings. He’s been decorated with the Strike Flight Air Medal and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievements Medals.

  • Lieutenant Commander Julius Bratton

Lieutenant Commander Julius Bratton is the Blue Angel’s slot no.6 pilot and opposing solo pilot. He joined in September 2019. He’s completed over 2,000 flights and 2,017 carrier-arrested landings. He’s been decorated with the Strike Flight Air Medal as well as Three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

  • Lieutenant Griffin Stangel

Lieutenant Griffin Stangel is the Blue Angel’s narrator pilot. He joined in September 2021. Griffen has completed 1,200 flight hours and 190 carrier-arrested landings. He’s been decorated with three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, among other awards.

  • Lieutenant Kati Forster

Lieutenant Kati Forster is the Blue Angel’s events coordinator pilot, and she joined in September 2020. She’s completed 931 flight hours and 357 carrier-arrested landings.

  • Commander John Fay

Commander John Fay is the Blue Angel’s executive officer. He joined in September 2021. He’s completed 2,900 flight hours and 168 carrier-arrested landings. He’s been decorated with two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, two Strike Flight Air Medals, and four Navy Commendation Medals, among other awards.

  • Captain William Huckeba

Captain William Huckeba is the Blue Angel’s C-130, nicknamed “Fat Albert” pilot. He joined in 2019 and has completed 1,300 flight hours. He’s been decorated with the Join Service Achievement Medals and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

  • Captain Jackson Streiff

Captain Jackson Streiff is also the Blue Angel’s C-130, nicknamed “Fat Albert” pilot. He joined in 2021 and has completed 950 flight hours. He’s completed several joint, bilateral, and multilateral exercises in the Pacific area.

  • Major Joshua Soltan

Major Joshua Soltan is also the Blue Angel’s C-130 “Fat Albert” pilot. He joined in 2021 and has completed 1,600 flight hours and 5 combat hours. He’s completed operations and exercises in Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific areas.

  • Lieutenant Brian Abe

Lieutenant Brian Abe is the Blue Angel’s maintenance officer. He joined in 2019, and he’s been awarded three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, among other awards.

  • Lieutenant Henry Ceden

Lieutenant Henry Cedeno is the Blue Angel’s assistant maintenance officer. He’s been awarded four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, among other awards.

  • Lieutenant Commander Monical Borza

Lieutenant Commander Monical Borza is the Blue Angel’s flight surgeon. She joined in August 2020. She’s been decorated with Navy and Marine Corp’s Commendation Medal, among other awards.

  • Lieutenant Paul Kruger

Lieutenant Paul Kruger is the Blue Angel’s supply officer. He joined in September 2021. He’s been decorated with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, among other awards.

  • Lieutenant Chelsea Dietlin

Lieutenant Chelsea Dietlin is the Blue Angel’s public affairs officer. She joined in 2019. She’s been decorated with one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, among other awards.

See Also: What Planes Do the Blue Angels Fly?