Blue Angels announce new commanding officer

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, or the Blue Angels, announced the appointment of a commanding officer for the 2016 and 2017 seasons at a press conference at the National Museum of Aviation onboard Pensacola Naval Air Station.

A selection panel comprised of ten admirals and former commanding officers selected Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi to succeed Capt. Tom Frosch.

“We prioritized selecting an officer who is an outstanding example of the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Kelley. “Commander Bernacchi has a proven record of excellence and will be both a strong flight leader and commanding officer for the 2016 team.”

Applicants are required to have a minimum of 3,000 flight hours and be in current command or have had past command of a tactical jet squadron.

“It is an absolute honor to have been selected for this prestigious position,” said Bernacchi. “There is a legacy of tradition and excellence within the Blue Angels squadron, and I look forward to maintaining the high standard of excellence set before me by Captain Frosch.”

Bernacchi will serve as Commanding Officer and Flight Leader for the 2016 and 2017 Blue Angels air show seasons. He will report for initial training in Pensacola in September and officially take command of the squadron at the end of the air show season in November.

As the Blue Angels’ commanding officer, Bernacchi will lead a squadron of 130 personnel and serve as the demonstration flight leader, flying the #1 jet. The Blue Angels perform for 11 million people annually across the United States, and are scheduled to perform 69 shows in 36 locations for the 2016 season.

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