June 1981


Published in the June 1981 issue of Naval Aviation News
Inside Back Cover
Author Unknown Photo Credit: Harry Gann

The Blue Angels celebrate their 35th anniversary this month. Organized in 1946 as the Navy Flight Demonstration Team, the Blues flew Grumman F6F Hellcats until later that year, when the team transitioned to F8F Bearcats. Over the years, several different aircraft were flown by the team, including the F9F Panther, F9F-8 Cougar, F11F-1 Tiger and F-4J Phantom II. On December 10, 1973, in an organizational change, the team became the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, and the Blue Angels switched to the McDonnell Douglas Skyhawk II.

Since the beginning, the Blues have had a total of 18 leaders. The present skipper, Commander Denny Wisely, recently achieved a milestone of 5,000 accident-free career flight hours. He is a seasoned combat veteran with 800 carrier landings, and has flown practically every jet fighter from the F-6 Skyray to the F-14 Tomcat.

 McDonnell Douglas' Harry Gann filmed the Blue Angels, with Cdr. Bill Newman in lead as they passed the Washington Monument in the nation's capital in September 1979.