Blues Angels Advanced Team visits McConnell

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Tryphena Mayhugh
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Two members of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, visited McConnell Dec. 11, 2023, to prepare for next year’s Frontiers in Flight Open House and Air Show.

The advanced team, comprising of Navy Lt. Connor O'Donnell, narrator, and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Vaught, event coordinator, who are Blue Angels No. 7 and 8 respectively, visited to lay the groundwork for their upcoming performance at the air show, which premieres Aug. 24-25, 2024.

“We recognize the air show is a pretty big deal and we want to make sure we put our due diligence in now with all the attention to detail so our portion of the air show will go off without a hitch,” Vaught said. “We know [the base] has it all figured out, but we’ll show up with 65-85 of us next summer, so we are laying the groundwork for hotels, transportation, things like that.”

The Blue Angels are the headline performer for next year’s show, the first time since 2007, leaving a 17-year gap between performances.

“It’s been too long so we’re really excited to be back,” Vaught said. “We represent the Navy and Marine Corps and there’s 800,000 men and women around the world, they’re out of sight and we want to make sure they’re not out of mind. We’re really excited for the community outreach in the Wichita area.”

Vaught spoke about his favorite aspect of being a part of the Blue Angels and performing in air shows.

“Seeing the kids’ smiles,” he said. “There’s something about feeling the power of these airplanes and seeing the teamwork and professionalism of our team. If you haven’t seen us before, come on out, it will be awesome.”

Air shows serve as an opportunity to connect McConnell Airmen with Wichita and its surrounding communities while showcasing Department of Defense and Air Force capabilities. Other acts slated for next year are the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team and the World War II reenactment troop Tora Tora Tora.