JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s about to get louder in Jacksonville! Or, you may have heard the rumbles in the sky Thursday afternoon as the team got a practice flight in.
Saturday and Sunday, the legendary Blue Angels Air Show will return to the River City. This is the first air show at Naval Air Station Jacksonville since the pandemic forced cancellations.
When you look up and see the sights and hear those sounds, it’s hard not to feel a sense of pride. That feeling inspired Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Petty Officer Michael Hodgson.
“I had some great mentors and they all had one thing in common, and that was, they came from the Blue Angels,” Hodgson said.
Hodgson was born and raised in Orange Park. He’s responsible for prepping these aircraft for showtime. This weekend, the FA-18 Super Hornet will once again take to the Jacksonville skies. Also featured is the iconic C-130-J Super Hercules, affectionately known as Fat Albert.
“For us on the ground, we spend quite a bit of time prepping these jets and getting them ready,” Hodgson said. “Being able to see all that come together, as one team, just being able to see your work.”
Speaking of work, Lt. Katlin Forster, Blue Angel No. 8, said this is the perfect chance for the public to see what the Navy can do up close.
“One of my favorite questions is asking if it’s the first time someone has seen our show,” Forster said. “Predominantly, yes, it is their first time ever seeing us. It is truly humbling, and I’m so honored to get to represent.”
With the show returning to its birthplace, the team has another message: the sky is the limit.
“Throughout your life, you’re going to be told no a lot, but don’t ever take it to the heart,” Hodgson said. “If they say no, that just means try again. Eventually, you will get it.”
There is a practice show Friday, but it’s only open to people who have access to the base and local students. The air show is this Saturday and Sunday, the 22nd and 23rd. The gates open at 9 a.m. and the show will begin at 11 a.m. The Blue Angels will perform at 3 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the NAS JAX Air Show website.