PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The Pentagon released on Monday news that the Blue Angels will perform their full aerobatic air show schedule during the 2014 season.
The Department of the Navy's Rear Admiral John Kirby said that the Flight Demonstration Squadron and the parachute team known as the Leap Frogs, will be back following the cancellation of their 2013 season due to government cutbacks in military spending.
"A comprehensive 2014 Community Outreach Plan was created that supports our requirement to continue connecting Americans to their military," Adm. Kirby said. "While we won't return to our pre-sequester level of outreach activity... we will be able to provide Americans around our nation with special events to explain and show what their Navy does."
Several other key outreach events will also return, including Fleet Week and performances of the Navy's marching band.
"Engagements are limited and scaled down due to a 45 percent reduction in funding across the service," Adm. Kirby added. "These events include full schedules for Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron and Parachute Teams; five Fleet Weeks; six Navy Weeks; Navy and regional band performances; and 10 port visits to U.S. cities."
The 2014 Blue Angels are scheduled to soar during sixty-six performances between March 15 through November 8. Their first show will occur in El Centro, California, home of their winter training base.
The Blues will fly their F/A-18 Hornet jets to El Centro the first week of January to begin ten weeks of in depth training out over the desert region.
At Naval Air Station Pensacola, the home of the Blue Angels, "Boss" and lead Angel 1 pilot Commander Thomas Frosch, has kept his team upbeat and motivated each day with the hope the team would return next year.
"He has been nothing but optimistic about what we're going to be doing in the future and the mission of this team in 2014," stated Angel 6 pilot Lt. Mark Tedrow to this aerospace reporter. "The Boss always is optimistic, 'Hey, we're still the Blue Angels... we have a mission to accomplish and it's still looking good for 2014'. So, he's been great throughout, and without him, I don't know what we would've done."
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds aerobatic team will also receive funding for a full team schedule.
“Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States military and in its most important asset - people,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday.
(Charles Atkeison reports on aerospace, science and technology. Follow his updates via Twitter @AbsolutSpaceGuy and on Instagram @BlueAngels_7.)