JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some of the Blue Angels were back in town Wednesday for a brief stop in preparation for the highly anticipated air show later this year.
You may remember last year’s show was canceled by rising COVID cases.
Two members of the Blue Angels arrived at NAS Jacksonville first thing Wednesday morning. After being off for a year, they cannot wait for the air show to return in October.
“It’s incredible. Just being on the road so far this season and seeing the air shows back -- 100% back up and running -- is absolutely thrilling. I personally feed off energies from the crowd,” said Lt. Katlin Forster.
Forster is the demonstration’s event coordinator. As the third woman to ever hold this position, she aims to inspire young girls and women everywhere.
“Getting to represent is a true joy for me,” Forster said. “And I love getting to see all the little faces when we get to visit. And just brighten up to see what I’m doing, and I can’t express how happy that makes me.”
Forster and Lt. Griffin Stangel were visiting to discuss preparing for the air show for the Angels’ 69th year. Video shows the F-A 18 Super Hornet making its grand entrance, a great look ahead at what’s to come Oct. 22-23.
Stangel joined the squad in September and said being able to bring the show back to NAS Jacksonville, where the team originated -- is everything.
“Everybody just gets so excited, and everybody is just thrilled to be watching the show,” Stangel said. “It’s just energizing every weekend. To have that scheduled for the entirety of this year is an absolute thrill. We can’t just wait to be here in Jacksonville.”
With this year marking Jacksonville’s bicentennial, the event is a special kind of homecoming.
“This is where we had our first show 76 years ago, so getting to kind of celebrate together that history and heritage with the Blue Angels and Jacksonville will definitely be a lot of fun,” Forster said.
This upcoming air show will be the first where the F-A 18 Super Hornet will be featured. It is a larger aircraft and one of the most flown for carrier aviation.
Spectators can expect to meet the team and see the fun up close. But for Forster and Stangel, the best part is inspiring others.
“Find something you’re passionate about and get a little better at that thing every day,” Stangel said. “To be honest, I have the best job in the world. My favorite part of flying is getting shot off the front end of a carrier. There’s nothing like it in the world and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”
“No matter how old you are, just starting with those small goals, working on them each day can lead to great success,” Forster said. “And just following what you truly like to do and keep having fun every day.”
Gearing up for the upcoming show and revisiting a priceless piece of Jacksonville pride.