The annual October Fleet Week celebration in the San Francisco Bay Area is a week long festival featuring the Navy and it’s spectacular Blue Angels Flight Squadron. During this traditional celebration, the Angels put on an intricate show filled with harrowing tight quarters flight, in formation, mere feet from each other’s wing tips. The show takes place over the rooftops and city scape of downtown San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and primarily over the neighborhoods of North Beach and the Marina district.
The Blue Angels party is San Francisco’s party! Because October is “Indian summer” in the Bay Area, rooftops all over the city are filled with sun drenched party goers slugging down beer, wine, and an ocean of tequilla. The neighborhood bars, restaurants, and grills get into the mix by sponsoring “Blue Angel Days” with theme drinks, deals on dinners, and the all too dangerous Pub Crawls. . .
I have one spectacular memory of the Blue Angels daring. It took place during the first NFL game of the season a few years ago for the San Francisco 49ers. I was seated down low in the end zone tossing back a beer. Suddenly without warning a roaring, rumbling crashing sound pierced the air with dramatic impact. I immediately thought we were finally being hit with the “Big One” earthquake every seismologist promises we will suffer; was it the event every fire breathing evangelist promises to hit San Francisco and dislodge it from the continental United States? No, instead we all looked skyward to see the Blue Angels flying in super tight V formation at nearly stadium top level. They turned on their afterburners, simliar to removing the muffler on your hotrod at home, with perfect timing creating a deafening boom resonating within the stadium confines. Before the crowd could react, the boys were out and gone leaving a smoking vapor trail in their wake.
The crowd of 65,000 in various stages of sobriety went absolutely nuts! It was a complete rush enveloping the entire crowd. John Madden, fabled Oakland Raiders Super Bowl winning coach, lead broadcaster, slobbered for the rest of the game describing the event. Everyone who attended this game would never forget the sound, the sight, and the feeling of pride we all experienced for our country.
It is pride and admiration I experience every time I witness the Blue Angels fly. Pride for their incredible skills. Pride for our country, apple pie, and everything American. It is with this memory, that I was deeply saddened by the news that the Blue Angels suffered a loss to their family. During a show Saturday April 21 in Beaufort, South Carolina, a pilot lost control of his fighter crashing into a residential neighborhood. The pilot was killed and there were 8 injuries reported on the ground. The pilot’s identity is being withheld to this point in the investigation.
Our thoughts and prayers go to the killed pilot’s family & friends as well as those people hurt on the ground during this accident. A tragic outcome indeed.