The Blue Angels (2024) Movie Script

- [atmospheric music playing]
- [insects trilling]
[man] The Blue Angel Creed!
[group] As a Blue Angel,
I will dedicate all my efforts to pride,
professionalism and perfection.
I will strive to honor the crest I earned
and the flag I wear,
but I will never forget from where I came.
Once a Blue Angel, always a Blue Angel.
[dramatic music playing]

[quiet chatter]
[Chris "Cheese" Kapuschansky] First day
that I drove up to the hangar
in El Centro and,
you know, saw my name on a parking sign,
saw my name on the door,
saw my name on the side of a jet already,
and it was like, "Man, this is...
this is real."
[Brian "Boss" Kesselring] I have
the blessing, the privilege,
the honor to be
boss of the Blue Angels right now,
and I've been so for a couple years.
But this is my last year.
Had a chance to be part
of seven deployments,
served in a lot of different conflicts
around the world throughout the years.
And... and naval aviation was a home
and was something that
I feel like I was meant to do.
[Cheese] It was something that
I wanted to do since I was a kid.
Something that I never thought
was actually gonna happen.
[Boss] Every year, about a third
of the entire squadron
rotates back to the fleet.
The challenge for every boss
is to get the newbies,
their replacements,
up to speed for the coming season
and integrated into
the Blue Angel way of life.
[Cheese] All these thoughts
were going through my mind, like,
"Oh, man, you know,
it's just... I don't...
I don't know what I'm doing.
Do I even belong here?"
But this is it. This is who I am
for the next two years,
and this is my job for the next two years.
I am now a Blue Angel.
[jet engine whooshing]
[energetic, intense music playing]

[music pauses]
[music resumes
with dramatic ending flourish]
[pneumatic tools whirring]
[birds chirping]
All right, welcome back, everybody. Evan.
Yes, Boss, we'll debrief
our practice over El Centro.
- Fired up, ready to go.
- All right.
I'll take a safety for rolling up
to low brake cross at 450.
[rapid technical chatter]
Pay Doc ten dollars
for a zipper and a collar.
I'll fix it all. I'm glad to be here.
- Cheese.
- [Cheese] Yes, sir, Boss.
I'll have it for safety, though,
but underline deep sag on the fan rollout.
[Boss] Naval aviation is something
I fully dedicate myself,
and I can look back in 20 years
and say I gave every fiber of my being
to getting better at it.
But you come to the Blue Angels,
and that really happens
in that first season
where you're trying
to figure this thing out.
That can be scary.
I'll fix it all.
I'm glad to be here, Boss.
- All right, Whiskers.
- [Julius "Whiskers" Bratton] Yes, sir, Boss,
I'll take safeties for being 296 knots
out of the PUB.
Pay Doc five dollars for pregame jitters.
I'll fix it all. I'm glad to be here,
- Day taps, Boss.
- [Boss] Good jet.
[others] Good jet.
All right, roll it!
There's a crucible
you have to go through together.
[dramatic music playing]
It has to be six pilots
totally synced up, flying as one.
- Go! Let's go!
- [engines whirring]
[air traffic controller] You are clear
to taxi via runway two-four-A.
[Boss over radio] How's it going?
[Boss] And it can be frustrating at times
to train brand-new guys from the fleet.
One of the first things we go out and do
is just do basic turns.
We turn left, we turn right.
Three, two, nine, seven, four...
[indistinct radio chatter]
[Boss] And just do that
over and over again,
because if you don't have the right
foundation, it's just not gonna work.
[tense music playing]
Rip it.
[dramatic music playing]
[Boss] As the boss,
you're the flight leader.
You're the conductor.
You're the lead goose
in the formation, right?
[indistinct radio chatter]
Ready? Hit it.
These jets are max performing.
At low altitudes, at high air speeds,
in close proximity to other aircraft.
I have to be steady at the helm,
as they say.
Ease in the power.
Chomps flies in the four position.
He's back there watching
and making sure that we're good.
[Frank "Chomps" Zastoupil] The number four
pilot for the Blue Angels.
It's the best seat in the house.
You can see everything.
You can see what Boss is doing.
You can see what
all the wingmen are doing.
And you're kind of
the airborne safety observer
because you have
that best seat in the house.
[Monica "Doc" Borza] Yes.
As the flight surgeon on the team,
you're also the lead
ground safety officer.
- Okay, rolling.
- Okay, rolling.
[Doc] I study the demo
inside and out for every position.
I know where they should be at all times:
their altitude, their air speeds.
With two brand-new pilots
on the team this year,
I am constantly watching them.
Chewy, you kind of start a little flat,
and you're trying to hold it in there,
and Jamammy actually goes deep.
Is that kind of what you're seeing?
[Scott "Jamammy" Goossens] Cheese and I
are 100% the newbies.
Steep learning curve, for sure.
Just feel deflated
and like you're the worst pilot ever.
How did I get here?
It just rippled through the formation.
So, like, Jamammy was first,
I was second, then Cheese was third,
and just, like, the whole formation
shifted, then had to shift back into set.
So, this year, we've had
a new two pilot, a new three pilot,
I'm filling a new role as the slot pilot,
a new six pilot in the demo,
and then our number five pilot,
he was out half the year last year,
not flying in the demo,
so we're getting him
learning how to fly in formation again.
We're bringing five new people
into this formation and making one demo.
- [engines whirring]
- [indistinct shouting]
Good work. See you in a little bit.
- Yeah.
- Whoo!
[engines roaring]
[Jamammy] It's one team, six jets.
We all do something
a little bit different.
We'll start the show with four jets,
the Diamond takeoff maneuver.
And then you'll have the two
solo individual takeoff maneuvers.
[dramatic music playing]
Generally, our maneuvers alternate
between Diamond and solos.
And by the end of the show, we'll get
the Delta together, all six jets.
The Delta Formation is the signature
formation of the Blue Angels.
[Boss] Early on in winter training,
both Chomps and I
are heads on a swivel, making sure
our new guys are learning that
we've got enough space
to get out of the way.
Cheese is a guy who's an aggressive guy.
If you're riding a horse,
you got to pull back on the reins.
He's a little more pull-back-on-the-reins
type of guy.
We had to use a term called
"knock it off" a couple times,
meaning we're stopping right now.
Cheese was bringing in
a whole bag of knots.
Coming in way too hot.
I'm looking over my shoulder going,
"This ain't gonna work."
[Jamammy] Three spot's
incredibly challenging.
A big departure from what you do
in terms of fleet flying.
You're also on kind of
the more difficult side of the formation.
We're all very used to looking left
when we fly,
which is what Cheese gets to do
in the two spot.
On the left side, in that three spot,
you're looking right the whole time.
All your controls are
right in front of you or to the left.
And it's just sort of
an unnatural position to be in.
[Doc] The very first time the Diamond
was practicing the Vertical Break...
...Jamammy went the wrong way.
[intense music playing]
You think to yourself,
okay, as a safety officer,
is he safe? Number one.
Two, do I speak up and get in his cockpit,
or do I stay silent right now
and watch what he does to recover?
You have to make that decision,
and I decided:
Remain quiet. This is his first time.
He looks safe.
He may be going
the wrong direction. [laughs]
It's not funny, but it doesn't look like
he's gonna hit anybody else.
[Boss] Kind of scared us.
It was like, how is he gonna
respond to this, right?
Did he rattle himself to the point
where he's not able to compartmentalize,
put that one in the past?
[tires squeal]
[Doc] Two flat on the in.
Little mismatch, break the seal.
Apex ten left, two wide
and five tight in the up.
Vertical up was three left.
It's an incredible amount of stress
going in on the newbies.
You're constantly being told
what you did wrong.
So, Cheese, we actually overbanked,
it looked like.
Did you feel good about that one today?
Cheese, see how tight you look there?
- And, Cheese, you just drifted forward again.
- [Cheese] Yep.
All of us are way fast,
and we're all idle/boards
trying to control everything
in close here.
[Jamammy] Everyone comes into this team
a relatively accomplished pilot, thinking,
"I feel comfortable flying an F-18,
I feel... I feel pretty good
about my abilities as a pilot,"
but this place is the...
it's the great equalizer.
Time away from family is...
is the most difficult part
of being on this team.
Work in El Centro
for three months in a cocoon.
Which we need to be...
you need that kind of safe place
to get it to a point where
we can take it on the road.
But it's just such a grind.
It's monotonous. It's Groundhog Day.
You're waking up in the desert
every day in the dark,
going to work in the dark.
Flying two or three times every day.
Going home in the dark,
and then you're studying
for your flight the next day.
[Cheese] I'm not the most
academically sound person,
and it's a struggle.
So, flying two to three times a day,
that's what you need.
I absolutely needed it.
[crickets chirping]
[Boss] This is how I typically do it.
Bring it inboard a little bit,
and I'll extend a little bit here,
and then that'll make
the arc feel more normal
as we come in here.
- Yes, sir, Boss.
- Questions?
- None.
- All right, fired up, ready to go.
Fired up, ready to go, Boss.
[Boss] We're all responsible for our lives
with... in no uncertain terms.
Everybody's lives are in
each other's hands,
that they're not going to do something
that we don't expect.
It's an unforgiving business.
Rip it.
[triumphant music playing]
[indistinct radio chatter]
Great job today.
Thanks, Boss. It was amazing.
See you back at the ranch.
[Boss over radio] You got it, Mo.
- [insects trilling]
- [birds chirping]
[Jamammy] You walk down the halls
in El Centro, and you see
all the faces that have made up
the past of this organization.
Legendary figures who you hear about,
you hear whispers about
throughout the fleet.
Boss Wooldridge...
he's one of the first people
I met after I made the team.
He's a legend.
[Lance "Bubb" Benson] One of
the unique things about him is
he got called back
to be the boss of the Blue Angels
three total times.
He's the only guy
that's done it three times.
He has spent so much time.
He's intimately familiar
with what goes on.
[Greg "Boss" Wooldridge] When I came
to the Blue Angels, I was amazed
at how close the formations were
and-and the maneuvers.
How can you do that?
But as Vince Lombardi said,
we're gonna go out there today,
and we're gonna "chase perfection."
We'll never get perfection,
but along the way,
we're going to realize excellence.
[announcer] ...accelerate to
300 miles per hour.
[Wooldridge] The markers toward
getting to excellence
is when you're able to, as a formation,
feel like you can move it in closer.
[dramatic music playing]
[Boss] We define our season
by what we call our sets,
which is how close we fly together.
[Jamammy] At the beginning of the season,
we'll start in our furthest-out set,
which we call the Fleet Parade.
As close as you would ever fly
in the Navy.
And then as we start to progress,
we'll start to bring those sets in
a little bit tighter to Blue Gold.
[Cheese] When we say Blue Gold set,
it's where the line of the blue paint
and the gold paint actually meet.
That's where Jamammy's gonna
put in his head, is underneath that.
And that's about 18 inches apart.
[Wooldridge] If you raise your hands
above your head,
it'd be from the top of your fingertips
to your top of your head
is 18 inches away from each other.
22-ton jets,
400 miles an hour.
The next step would be
our closest set, which is Yankee,
meaning that he's
going to put his aircraft
underneath the "Y" on my left wing.
So, Jamammy, he's actually gonna
slide up underneath like that.
That creates that parallax that we're all
in that perfect Diamond Formation
and almost have our wingtips overlapping.
[tense music playing]
As the new number two,
I set the formation.
I need to be perfect in every way
because everybody looks at me
to set the distance.
If I'm off by a letter,
Jamammy then looks at that
and he sets it off of me,
and then Chomps sets that distance
off of both of us.
So, if there's any mismatch down the line,
essentially, it's probably caused by me.
[Whiskers] People just don't realize
how physically demanding the flight is.
I mean, the demo is
45 minutes of, as Blue Angel eight
calls it, pure violence.
[tense, dramatic music playing]
[Wooldridge] We had, first of all,
a 45-pound spring
pulling the stick away from us.
You couldn't get a good feel for it
unless it was pulling away from you
at about 45 pounds.
[Doc] It is a full-body workout
when these aviators fly,
from their feet to their hands
to their head.
They use their entire body
to combat g-forces.
[dramatic music playing]
[Jamammy] When you're pulling g's
in the aircraft, all your blood
is rushing down to your legs,
to your lower extremities.
And once that blood leaves your head,
you're then at risk
of loss of consciousness.
[Doc] First sign is
you're gonna lose your vision
and start graying out... tunnel vision.
In order to combat that, we're gonna push
that blood back up with our muscles.
[Whiskers] Squeezing the legs,
the butt, the abs.
And if it's a real heavy g pull,
then making sure I lock down
a three-quarter-lung-capacity breath.
As a pilot, you understand the risk.
You do a job where,
at practice, in training,
you can end it all in an accident.
So it's just... it's a mix of emotions.
[majestic music playing]
[Cary "Chewy" Rickoff] What we do
is very dangerous.
First couple times you take off,
you got to push the "I believe" button.
But one of the things we learn
in flight school
very early on is it's a team sport.
We're all the same,
cut from the same cloth.
[Jamammy] The risk is never any lower
when we go out and practice
as it is when we're doing the actual show,
so we take
a fine-tooth comb to everything.
[engines whooshing]
[indistinct chatter, laughter]
[Jamammy] It looked like
we were good, and...
[Cheese] We were good until a half mile.
[Chomps] That's gonna be your focus
for tomorrow, is that arc.
So let's take a hammer down
to that one tomorrow.
Really try to fine-tune that.
[Jamammy] During the debrief,
we dissect everything.
There's definitely times
at the end of days
where you're frustrated
'cause you can't get a maneuver right.
And not only do you know
that you did it incorrectly in the air,
but now you get to watch it
frame by frame on a TV screen,
like, zoomed in with an HD camera,
so you can really see
how bad you were, you know.
But that's-that's part of it.
That's how we... that's how we get better.
Every single person does that,
including Boss.
That's, like... that's a tendency for me,
probably a tendency for somebody else,
is you're trying to get down this much...
You should be your own worst critic.
That's a commitment we have.
It's easy to say, tough to do.
Be a better version of yourself.
Be a better teammate.
Help the team get better every day.
[Buzzcocks: "Why Can't I Touch It?"]
- Let's go, let's go, let's go.
- [cheering, laughing]
- "Diamond" on three. One, two, three.
- [group] Diamond!
[Cheese] Failing together.
The "failing together" mindset
really gets people close.
[Chomps] Everything is trust,
and so far, over El Centro,
that's where we really build that trust.
[rapid technical chatter]
[Chomps] What you're seeing now
in this final week is this teamwork,
this focus point, this foundation
to try to reach for that perfection
every single day.
But the closer you get to that pinnacle,
the further away
you realize you actually are.
Well, it seems so real
I can see it
And it seems so real
I can feel it
And it seems so real
I can taste it
And it seems so real
I can hear it
So why
Can't I touch it?
So why
Can't I touch it?
[crickets chirping]
[song ends]
[quiet, atmospheric music playing]
[clears throat]
All right. It's Friday, March 11, 2022
over Naval Air Facility El Centro,
where the winds are three-three-zero
at nine, ten miles vis, sky clear.
Forecast for the winds: three-four-zero
at six, unlimited vis, sky clear.
When we're cleared for takeoff, we'll put
four on the runway with a wind check.
Check your parking brake off.
Maneuver: Diamond Half Squirrel Cage.
Left turnout
followed by the solo section...
[Whiskers] During the briefs,
we will follow around our ground track
with our pens
as Boss is talking through the sequence.
[Boss] Whiskers will be in from behind
the crowd to Sneak to Vertical Rolls,
and the five ship will be in from
the right for the Line Abreast Loop.
[Whiskers] Once we get
to a certain maneuver,
we will chair-fly.
Around the crowd for the Delta Roll.
- Ball, say five.
- [Cheese] Cheese.
- [Jamammy] Jamammy.
- [Chomps] Chomps.
- [Chewy] Chewy.
- [Whiskers] Whiskers.
[Cheese] After you do it so much,
you know exactly where you're going,
what you're doing, how it's gonna feel,
and you can actually, like,
visualize yourself doing it,
getting a-a practice in on that maneuver
before you go out and do it.
Airspeed call. Come left.
[Whiskers] Got six, Boss.
Come in for left.
We're left turn for the Delta Roll.
A little more pull.
Horizon seven-five, easing power idle.
Ready? Roll hat.
- We're left turn for the Fleur De Lis.
- [Cheese] Cheese.
- [Jamammy] Jamammy.
- [Chomps] Chomps.
- [Chewy] Chewy.
- [Whiskers] Whiskers.
[Boss] Distractions, we talked about it,
are gonna be here.
It's game-on time.
And just keep in mind
you're gonna have jitters.
You're gonna go out there,
and even though it's at El Centro,
there's-there's gonna be
a few thousand people there
that'll be saying something
that's gonna be looking to distract you.
Think about that tonight,
and think about when you get in there,
just like we talked about,
everything from the walk down,
start talking the cadence,
thinking about it, hop in the jet,
do everything and don't get distracted
by looking around.
Stay focused inside the canopy.
And then once we're on the runway,
it's same as it ever was.
So, with that, I'm glad to be here.
Rip it!
[majestic music playing]
- [sirens wailing]
- [pulsing, suspenseful music playing]
[Boss] We're going to try to do
what we can to make the demo
as tight, as low,
as entertaining as possible.
But that's not my line.
You know, this...
this-this tiger that I'm chasing.
The most important thing is
six jets up, six jets down.

[Cheese] First day of the show season,
and I can't tell you
what it's gonna feel like.
I have no idea what to expect.
You know, it's another
one of those things.
Like, man, am I... am I ready to do this?
[dramatic music playing]

[applause, whistling]
[Griffin "Push Pop" Stangel] Ladies
and gentlemen, your United States Navy
takes pleasure in performing for you this,
our first flight demonstration
of the season.
[engines whirring]
Now, to the left,
Captain Kesselring calls:
"Smoke on. Off brakes now.
Burners ready now."
And the Blue Angel Diamond is rolling.
Burners ready now.
[engines whooshing]
[dramatic music continues]
[speaking indistinctly
in chanting cadence]
[Push Pop over speakers] The Diamond is
approaching for a maneuver that is likely
familiar to those of you who have seen
the Blue Angels perform in the past.
From the right, at 400 miles per hour,
the Diamond Roll.
All four aircraft flying as one in this
graceful 360-degree rolling maneuver.

The two solo pilots will next demonstrate
the inverted flight capability
of the F-18.
Approaching inverted from the left
and right, Lieutenant Commander Rickoff
and Lieutenant Commander Bratton
will roll their aircraft 360 degrees.
[Boss] Bratty, hit it.
[Push Pop] Ladies and gentlemen,
the Opposing Inverted to Inverted Roll.
As the four Diamond pilots approach,
you should notice
the flight leader and slot pilot
are both in the inverted position.
The Blue Angel Double Farvel.
Ready? Hit it.
[soaring, dramatic music playing]
[Boss] Rip it.
Pull. Pull it.
[indistinct radio chatter]
[Push Pop] The 2022 team
takes a great deal of pride
in saluting Navy
and Marine Corps aviators,
maintenance crews
and support personnel everywhere.
From the left, your Blue Angels.
[majestic music playing]
It has been an honor and our pleasure
to perform for you
our first flight demonstration
of the season.
[cheering and applause]
[Boss] The Blue Angels aren't about
just jet performance.
Anybody can go out there and learn
to do a lot of twirls and loops and rolls,
but to do it together,
to make six jets fly as one,
that's the magic.
That's the Blue Angel magic.
[Push Pop] Ladies and gentlemen,
representing your United States Navy
and Marine Corps,
the Blue Angels 2022.
[Whiskers] It was a little bumpy road,
but I made it.
[Cheese] Once we finished crowd-lining,
you know, Chomps came up and said,
"Hey, guys, congrats.
You're... you're demo pilots now."
So it was pretty incredible.
[Jamammy] You finish
that show in El Centro,
that drop of salute happens,
you head back to your room,
and you start packing it up.
Then you see Fat Albert
getting loaded up with all of our gear,
all of our personnel,
and you realize that,
"Hey, I've got an eight-month season
staring me in the face right now."
So it's daunting, to say the least.
Not just that first week
but every week after that.
Bert's rolling, and so are we,
to a... to a town near you.
[Jon "XO" Fay] Fat Albert is
our C-130J Super Hercules asset,
affectionately known as Bert.
Those are our Marines, an all-Marine crew.
They also provide logistics support.
Fat Albert is key in essentially
supporting the team
to and from every single air show site.
It's about 30,000 pounds of cargo,
45 personnel.
- Okay, you got all the newbies?
- Maybe.
- [laughter]
- Yeah.
[Lauren Song] We have
six pallets worth of gear.
All of our friends are sitting
on the red seats or blue seats
on the sides, crammed in tight,
almost knee to pallet.
- And about this close to your buddy.
- [both laugh]
[Boss] We've just done
that first air show.
Now we're off to New Orleans.
We're gonna roll into town like a...
like a circus, I guess.
[dramatic music playing]
[reporter] The U.S. Navy Blue Angels
returned to town this weekend.
[reporter 2] The Blue Angels
came into town,
landing at the Naval Air Station
in Belle Chasse.
[William "B" Huckeba] Right when
we get there with Fat Albert,
you know, we kind of, like, set the tone.
When that crew entrance door opens,
everything is set up perfectly
so that we're able to put on a great show.
[Jamammy] It's definitely similar
to being on a sports team.
The schedule is relentless.
You are constantly on the road.
You're constantly traveling.
Exact mesh of a sports team
with the schedule of a touring
rock and roll band.
[indistinct chatter, cheering]
I always say it's like
planning 30 weddings.
Thirty weddings and 30 places
you've never been to
with 30 families you've just met.
[jet engines roaring]
[indistinct radio chatter]
[Boss] Great job today.
Pitch-Up Break. Cheese, upper deck.
And down.
[majestic music playing]
[yelling excitedly]
[Jamammy] Coming back home
at the end of those three months
and-and seeing our families
on the flight line
for the first time was incredible.
It's so special to have this home base.
This place that just loves us so much.
Our families are here.
Our families live here all the time.
[excited chatter]
[Jamammy] For me, when I found out
I made the team, that was on July 11th.
One month later, Jo was born.
And a month after that,
I left to go join the team.
So, the fact that they take care
of our families so well, I think,
is what really, uh,
endears this place to us.
[tires squeal]

[indistinct chatter]
[insects trilling]
[quiet chatter]
[opens drawer]
[closes drawer]
[Boss] I never had any thought
that I would be on the team.
You know, joining a team
where I'm gonna be gone for,
you know, nearly 300 days a year,
uh, with a brand-new little daughter
and having some tough conversations
with my wife about:
"Do we want to do this?"
And for me, it was... it was:
This is a way I can, you know,
in a sense, kind of give back.
[soft, wistful music playing]
June 20, 1986.
I'm, like, this nine-year-old boy
up in Fargo, North Dakota.
My dream when I saw the Blue Angels
was to go serve my country.
[children chattering]
You know, I grew up
playing sports... basketball...
and finishing up college
and, you know, thinking like,
"Boy, I'd love to fly for the Navy,
but I'm just... you know, I'm too big.
I can't fit in the cockpit."
And sure enough, it turns out I fit
and they-they would have me,
and kind of the rest is history,
as far as joining the Navy.
[child laughing]
[Ashley Kesselring] I'm currently
a major in the Marine Corps,
managing aircraft maintenance.
Brian told me, you know,
"One of the bucket things in my career
is to maybe apply for the Blue Angels.
It's one in a million.
One in a million, though.
We're never gonna get it."
And we were both in quite a bit of shock
when we found out that that was happening.
We're just super fortunate
to have been stationed together.
For the next duty station,
he's got his orders.
I do not have my orders yet,
so I'm still kind of knocking on wood,
hoping everything kind of
comes in alignment for it.
But again, it's not...
Don't stress about something
you don't have the control over.
It's definitely a bit of a jigsaw,
as far as trying to, you know,
plan a family in the military.
It's doable. I mean, we've got two.
It's definitely doable, so...
it'll be just one of those things
that you... that you work through.
[Boss] Yeah, there you are.
All right, Remy.
There's not much flying tours left
for a guy like me.
The mission was really what...
what I went back to.
People's dreams, uh, dreams they never
thought they could possibly achieve,
can come true, and that's the mentality
we want in the Blue Angels.
What I never realized...
and I've been on great teams before...
what I didn't realize is how attached
I'd be to this team.
[grunts] Bye-bye, Remy.
[wistful music continues]
There isn't a family
like a Blue Angel family.
And I'll miss that.
I'll miss that and...
and all that goes along with it.
[Chomps] Everything here is about
being a member of the team.
[Fatboy Slim: "Praise You"]
[Boss] It takes all 141 personnel
on our command doing their job,
putting forth that maximum effort.
[Chomps] It's constant.
It's 18 hours a day
with the same people every day.
So every single person in here...
every pilot,
every officer, every teammate,
every enlisted maintainer...
whatever position we have
on this team is family.
Through the hard times and the good...
- [man] What's up? Mic check.
- [group] Hey!
[James Hernandez] Like I said,
give it 100%.
This is the time that I need y'all.
I'm glad to be here.
[group] Whoo!
I have to praise you
I have to praise you...
Chief Mass Communication Specialist
Paul Archer.
[Oyindamola Michael] My name
is Oyindamola Michael.
I am the number six crew chief.
[Push Pop] My name is
Lieutenant Griffin Stangel.
Uh, call sign "Push Pop."
Lieutenant Brian Abe. Uh, I go by Mo here.
Lieutenant Paul Kruger, call sign "Suppo."
I'm Lieutenant Henry Cedeo
from Juana Daz, Puerto Rico.
I have to praise you...
[Push Pop] So, my role on the team
as Blue Angel number seven
is I'm the narrator.
I have to praise you...
My goal is to interact
with a crowd of tens of thousands,
sometimes hundreds of thousands of people.
[Cody Hendrix] I'm a mass
communication specialist.
We're aerial photographers, right?
We get to go up and fly in the jet
and take all the pretty Blue Angel photos.
[camera shutter clicking]
[Boss] I've got a female
front man right now.
That's only happened,
I think, maybe once before.
You know, running the entire crew.
- [Keri "Front Ma'am" Kalmus] What's up, guys?
- [group] Hey!
[Front Ma'am] All right, all hands
tomorrow is gonna be 0800.
I got a lot of information
to put out, so pay attention.
I need two volunteers.
From '99 to 2000,
Karen Marini was
the last female front man.
They called her Frontchik.
Now I go by Front Ma'am.
And then my bravo is a front man.
Hot seat, Front Ma'am.
Flight walk complete. We have ATAF...
Essentially, I'm walking
every single jet on the line,
along with our crew chiefs.
[Kevin "219" Hill] We have 12 crew chiefs,
and it's two crew chiefs per pilot.
I'm the number one crew chief,
Boss Kesselring's crew chief.
We go in the cockpit,
just check everything
that the pilot would check
before they take off.
Flight controls, you know,
the displays, everything.
[Front Ma'am] And then I'm just
double-verifying, triple-verifying
everything's good for that pilot to get
in the cockpit and go out and fly.
[Front Ma'am hollers]
As a pilot, I never
pre-flighted an airplane.
I had so much trust in my crew chief.
[Boss] All I do is get
in my aircraft and strap in.
He'd tell me it's good to go,
and it's good to go.
[219] When the jet's good to go,
we do a signature handshake.
- We do it and go, "Whoo!"
- [both] Whoo!
Praise you like I should
I have to praise you
[Boss] Uh, prepare to take off.
[Chomps] When I was four years old,
my dad took me to an air show
in Fort Worth, Texas,
and I got to watch the Blue Angels fly
for the very first time.
I thought that they were awesome.
To the point where I, like,
ran away from my parents
to go try to find the jets,
wherever they were parked.
And they had to come up
over the loudspeaker:
"If you've lost a little
four-year-old son,
can you come to the announcer booth
and we'll give your son
back to you" type of thing.
I found 'em. I fell in love
with aviation at four years old.
[indistinct radio chatter]
I wanted to do something like that.
Right when Cheese's jet
kind of drifted deep,
your jet looked like it just twitched
and kind of almost did the same thing.
So we just need to focus on that set
down the line, especially...
[Boss] Chomps is a big softie.
He just understands the stakes at play.
I mean, he's the guy
that has the best vantage point
of the entire formation
every second, every day.
That's a heavy weight, and Boss kind of
owns that as the commanding officer.
But there are things I just can't see.
And back there, we had some depth...
[Jamammy] Chomps is, uh,
our lone Marine Corps pilot.
We make fun of him,
call him General Zastoupil,
because he kind of gives off that persona
when he... when he goes
and talks to people.
[Chomps] All right, so big take away
is now gonna be reducing
the overreaction for the flat there.
[Chewy] Yeah, I was trying not to hit him.
[Chomps] I know, but that's a huge, huge
dump on the nose.
That's correct. It's also the closest
I've ever been to a jet.
- [Chomps] So...
- I can freeze it and hold it, but...
There's gotta be some sort of compromise.
Like you just have to keep driving more
to just kinda get away,
but not that huge just dumping
of the nose away from the formation.
Looked pretty gross up there.
Uh, Delta Roll will be a focus
into tomorrow as well.
Bearing lines, matching of the rate.
There's one Marine option
in the Blue Angels
at any given time, so we can only have one
jet demonstration pilot
on any particular year.
So this year is my final year.
My job is to try to bring everyone
together on the same page
so there's never any, like,
lingering questions between the elements.
And so that's why it kind of rests
on the number four spot,
always a second-year guy,
to do the debrief.
[laughter, indistinct chatter]
We're gonna be on the road
quite a bit coming up.
Quite a... quite a bit.
And it's a lot of time away from family.
That's something that we also don't get
that much of, is time with our families.
So, when we come here,
we try to spend as much time as we can.
And when I walked out
of the house this morning,
I had one daughter attached
to my left leg, saying,
"Daddy, don't go.
Just stay here this weekend."
And my little son is just literally,
like, rock climbing up my right leg
as I'm walking to the truck this morning.
[tense, dramatic music playing]
[engines roaring]
It is so cool to see
the reactions of the public.
They think, you know, oh, you're a
rock star with this high-paced lifestyle.
Yeah? Uh, a lot of practice.
[Doc] And then in the evenings,
we attend commits
where we'll go to a local outreach event.
- [applause]
- The pilots will go to schools.
So, our mission is to showcase
the teamwork and professionalism
of the United States Navy
and Marine Corps.
[Doc] I was with Boss
at the Blue Angel Foundation.
- Thanks so much for coming out today.
- Awesome to meet you.
[Gil Rud] The Blue Angel Foundation
is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization
to help wounded veterans,
and Freedom Station is part of that.
[Doc] It was truly special to spend
some time with those wounded warriors.
We also get to go to the hospitals.
I'm Monica.
I am the doctor for the Blue Angels.
We get to interact with each child
and just spend a little time with them.
- [Boss] All right!
- [applause]
The first time you put this suit on,
you feel kind of like an imposter.
And I remember that
every time I wear the uniform.
I think a good feeling to have is
you should never feel
too comfortable in this suit.
You're representing
a whole bunch of folks.
You're not just representing yourself.
[wistful music playing]
For me, that's... that's looking
at the 28 faces on the wall every day.
The 28 men that we've lost in this job.
[reporter] Breaking news tonight:
A Blue Angels jet went down
in Smyrna, Tennessee,
which is just outside of Nashville.
[Bubb] We were right there
when it happened.
Several of the guys, you know,
saw it happening in real time.
[reporter 2] Captain Jeff Kuss
was killed when he went down in Smyrna
practicing at the Great American Air Show.
[Bubb] He was just one of the most upbeat
and professional guys you've ever met.
I mean, you get into this mindset
on this team
that every day is gonna be the exact same.
Right? We get into the routine,
and the routine is kind of set.
And then, when a massive event
like that happens,
everybody's just like,
"What are we gonna do right now?"
It's a different type of flying.
Those maneuvers are low
and fast to the ground.
There's very little room for mistakes.
[Boss] We owe it to them
to think about their memory.
And I ask myself every day, "Who am I?"
Who am I, right, to sit here?
Tough to have an ego
when you look at those guys up there
and go, "Okay, who am I?"
It's a humbling experience.
It's still humbling.
[indistinct radio chatter]
I'm in my last year,
and I'm turning it over.
It's a unique process,
picking my replacement.

There's only a handful of people
who ever experience this.
The boss application...
there is no other time that you can apply
for the Blue Angels, right?
So it's a very final thing.
They've flown down here
from all corners of the world.
And this is some life-changing news.
Maybe a lifelong dream.
[Wooldridge] For me, back in the '90s,
I was just an average
squadron commanding officer.
You know, they would never pick me.
Why even try?
So I was relaxed and honest.
You know, "I'm just gonna be me."
And I was shocked when they pulled me out,
outside the room, said, "You're the guy."
[chuckling] Oh, boy. Whew.
[clears throat]
[inhales deeply, clears throat]
And that was a life changer.
I was real surprised.
[Boss] It's a tough decision.
I mean, these folks are all Olympians.
These folks work their entire life.
You've heard of the gold medalist,
maybe the silver or even the bronze,
but someone comes in fourth
and no one knows their name.
[man inside room] First off, thank you,
everyone. Very, very well done.
- Please hold your heads high.
- [candidates chattering]
- Very well done. Very well done.
- [candidates] Thank you.
Very well done.
- Okay.
- [Boss] We'll come on out here.
[whispers] All right.
[man] You won't start getting
your PAO training right away,
but you'll be expected to say
a few things, uh, to the press.
Right, your-your most important thing
to do right now is
- you're gonna call your wife.
- Mm-hmm.
Give her a call... make it a quick one...
- and call your... call your mom and dad.
- Yeah. Yeah.
Okay, then let me know.
Just give them a couple of minutes...
That was, uh,
extremely emotional, for sure.
Uh, surprising to start,
and then a... and then a...
just a flood of different emotions.
My name's Commander Alex Armatas.
Call sign is "Scribe."
I grew up in Central New York, and, uh,
very young I knew I wanted to fly.
Press conference one.
[Scribe] I've been in the Navy
for quite a while now.
A little over 20 years.
I kind of prepared myself
to not be the one,
so now I'm very quickly
having to come to terms
with the fact that this will be, uh...
this will be my role next, and, uh...
and I need to get ready for that, so...
[Boss] So, what do you think?
Shock? Shock and awe?
- Yeah, big-time.
- Yeah. Yeah, me, too.
I think, uh...
- Job's gonna be different than you think.
- [chuckles] Yeah?
[Boss] It's gonna be challenging
in aspects you don't know.
- I wouldn't trade it for the world.
- Yeah.
[Boss] It's been fantastic.
- [applause]
- [indistinct chatter]
I appreciate it. Thank you.
[Scribe clears throat]
[Scribe] Uh, good afternoon, everyone.
As mentioned, my name's
Commander Alex Armatas.
Uh, it is an absolute honor to be here.
It's, uh, very humbling, very emotional,
as Captain Kesselring mentioned.
Admiral, thank you as well, sir.
Uh, and, uh, just...
[Boss] Even though
he's a very skilled leader
and very skilled aviator,
he's gonna go through that same crucible,
that same learning curve.
As I look back, oh, boy.
There's just... he doesn't know
what he doesn't know yet.
- Does this get easier with time? This...
- Yeah.
Does it get easier? I hope so.
- How you doing? Outstanding job. Yeah.
- Thanks, Admiral. I appreciate it.
- Outstanding.
- Yeah, this is, uh...
I hope it gets easier the more you do it.
[Wooldridge] The Blue Angels were
the brainchild of Admiral Chester Nimitz.
In 1946,
Admiral Nimitz said,
"We've got to make sure
the American public doesn't forget
about Navy planes."
He pulled a fellow that had
five aerial victories during the war,
a young 26-year-old lieutenant commander
named Butch Voris.
And so, Butch grabbed
about four of his best friends, they...
created a team, created a few maneuvers
and took it right to the American public.
[engine chugging]
[excited chatter]
[upbeat music playing]
[announcer] The Blue Angels fly
the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II,
a single-seat light attack jet,
versions of which have been operational
in the fleet since 1956.

[engines roaring]
[crowd whooping]
[Wooldridge] Over the years, the team has
gone through many different airplanes...
propeller-driven airplanes,
and then into the jet era.
[pilot] Ready?
Hit it.
[pilot 2] Take it in!
[Wooldridge] We didn't see it as a risk.
We saw taking this job
as a Blue Angel as a privilege.
[engines roaring]
[majestic music playing]
[indistinct radio chatter]
[Wooldridge] It's so highly sought-after
to be part of the Blue Angels.
And it's a...
it's a very distinct privilege
to be selected to the Blues.
And we got to pick our own.
How about that?
Nobody from above was saying,
"You're gonna take this person,
teach him how to fly,
teach him how to be a Blue Angel."
Which was really unusual in the military.
[quiet chatter]
[man] All right.
[Whiskers] This day is gonna be
very busy, very tight on timelines.
If you're next, be on deck
outside the room.
Everybody else can relax in here,
do your thing.
[woman] Thanks.
[Boss] There's the robust
interview process.
We get medical. We take a look
at the backgrounds and all that.
But really, what it comes down to
is three things:
talent, passion and personality.
Questions for me? Awesome.
- You stand right here.
- Oh.
[Whiskers] My first introduction
to aviation was when my dad took
my family to Tuskegee,
where we got to ride in a small,
single-engine aircraft.
Up until that point, I wanted to be
a train conductor and a police officer.
But after that flight,
I wanted to be a pilot.
The interview matters.
We are picking the best-fit person
for this job.
And by "best-fit," I mean,
that's hugely important.
We're spending a lot of time
with each other.
We know each other so well.
[Boss] They're certainly
a bit on the nervous side.
Got the nerves going.
You see their excitement.
You see the desire.
They're so close
they can darn near taste it.
[intriguing music playing]
[Chomps] We try to learn
everything about that individual
before they get here
so that when they do get here
we know exactly what
their personality is going to be
and where they're going to fit in
in their part of this team.
[Whiskers] We'll start
during the interview process,
you know, dig a little deeper,
but it literally is
a unanimous decision
amongst 17 people in the room
that requires hours of deliberation
and discussion to reach that consensus.
[Chewy] Obviously,
you're gonna pick the people
you think will be the absolute best.
Sometimes that takes five minutes.
Sometimes that takes four hours.
You never know.
[Chomps] These are all
very personal conversations
with personal details
about this individual's life
that the general public
doesn't need to ever know.
And it's certain things
that we'll talk about in there,
and at the end of the night,
we all slap the table and say,
"What happened here stays here."
And then it's never
to be talked about again.
'Cause at the end of the day, guess what...
those are your new people.
There has to be a unanimous decision.
But if we don't pick the right people
to carry on that legacy,
then what we've done is just a failure.
[Cheese] If you're a finalist, you're
kind of waiting on pins and needles.
[camera shutter clicks]
Saturday after
the Pensacola Beach Air Show,
you call in, they tell you whether or not,
you know, either "Welcome to the team,"
or, you know,
"Hey, sorry. Try again next year."
For me, took me three tries.
I got... you know,
I got lucky along the way.
Did a couple deployments,
and then I ended up here on the team.
That was... that was a huge,
huge success... [chuckles] my book.
[Boss] Let's go.
You know, we owe it to all those folks,
the majority of folks who have rushed
the team that didn't make it.
Some miss out by just one vote.
We are four months, 16 shows away
from the end of the season,
so make sure you appreciate it
while you're here.
- [engine buzzing]
- [crowd cheering]
[triumphant music playing]
[Jamammy] This city definitely has
a special place for us.
These people who have been coming
to these shows, you know, since the '60s,
they still welcome us as if we're family.
We're moments in time on this team.
I've been watching
the Blue Angels since 1982.
It's my 40th summer.
I've been around them my entire life.
The adrenaline, the rush,
and honestly, like, seeing it in person
just makes it that much more real.
Okay, winds are two-zero-zero-eight.
We own the airspace.
- Have a good one.
- [engines whooshing]
[Boss] We're cleared for takeoff.
[indistinct radio chatter]
[majestic music playing]
[indistinct radio chatter]
[engines whooshing]
[Push Pop over speakers] In relatively
slow speed flight, they will give you
an opportunity to get a close look
at the precision flying
that produces the 18-inch
wingtip-to-canopy separation
between these four aircraft.
From the right, the Blue Angel Diamond.
[Cheese] Looking at it,
the start of the season,
you know, I'd think, "Man, there's no way
I'm gonna get this close to a jet."
Especially for the Diamond 360,
which is what we consider
one of our hardest maneuvers.
[man over radio] They're at 360.
[Cheese] We just bumped it
into Blue Gold set.
Scott... Jamammy... he's currently
up under, you know, Boss's wing.
Now, me on the other side,
because of parallax,
I'm not actually sliding myself
up underneath.
What I'm actually doing is I'm sliding
outboard and forward.
You have Frank underneath my wing
doing almost the exact same thing
that Scott is doing,
just a little bit more aft.
It's kind of getting
not so much comfortable,
but it's getting familiar, uh,
to the point where it's like,
"Man, we're actually really doing this."
You know, this is...
this is the aspect of the Blue Angels
that no other demonstration team
really reaches.
[dramatic music playing]
But the Yankee set
at the start of the season
is something you really want to get
and you don't completely know
if maybe you'll actually get there, but...
There's teams that have done this
in the past,
and then there's teams that haven't.
Now that we're starting to get
in that regime of flight,
will we get there?
Hopefully, yes.
[majestic music playing]

[explosive whooshing]
[energetic music playing]
Of course, the crowd favorite
is the Sneak.
[Jamammy] The Diamond
will execute their maneuver,
showcasing the precision flying,
uh, that is required
of all Navy and Marine Corps pilots.
And then as we're setting up for our
next maneuver, we get the solos in there,
who just pull on the stick a lot
and provide the filler.
[explosive whooshing]

[Chewy] The Diamond's
favorite maneuvers are when
they get to break apart from Boss,
act like a solo,
and then once that's over,
they're back to being the Diamond.
I mean, the Diamond, everybody knows
they're-they're the better pilots here.
Every... Literally everybody knows.
You know that you actually have to think
about those around you,
like, be a team player.
They just don't get that yet.
So, maybe one day,
they'll understand that, but...
[Whiskers] Fun and excitement.
Definitely, the solos use a lot more
than Diamond.
They're all flying off of Boss, so...
Healthy competition...
that's exactly what it is.
[engine roaring]
[Amanda "Stalin" Lee] After I left
Pensacola for finalist week,
it was just me and my husband
at the house.
We were kind of waiting
and anticipating this phone call.
I was the very first person
to call in, uh, so I called in
and, uh, they kind of joked around
with me and they said,
"Hey, you have the wrong number.
Try calling this number back."
So I am in panic mode immediately.
We tend to mess with them a little bit...
[clears throat]
when they, uh...
when they call in for the selectees, so...
We have a five-minute window to call in,
so I'm-I'm going through my messages,
making sure I have the right...
the right number.
I call back. They're like,
"Still the wrong number."
We're listening in as Cody has got some
rock music playing in the background.
I get a call from Boss.
- He's like...
- Amanda, weren't you supposed to call in a couple minutes ago?
I-I was like, "I have done
something terribly wrong.
[laughing] I'm in trouble."
He's like, "Hey, next year, when you...
when you're on the team,
maybe we'll get your timeline
a little bit better."
And then everybody said,
"Welcome to the team."
But they had me super frazzled.
[reporter] A history-making day
for the legendary Blue Angels.
The Navy's elite flight squadron
has selected its first
female fighter jet demonstration pilot,
Lieutenant Amanda Lee from Minnesota.
She is soon going to be flying high
with the Blue Angels.
She will need to complete an intensive
five-month training program
with other new members of the team
beginning in September.
[Amanda] I enlisted in the Navy in 2007.
I ended up enlisting as
an aviation electronics technician,
and I started working on the F-18.
I get to my first squadron,
and my division chief said,
"You don't belong here. I don't feel like
you're challenged enough."
And the only thing I knew in the Navy
was aviation, so I was like,
"Let's try to fly."
Once you wear this crest,
it's a life-changing journey
and you have an opportunity to represent
those over 800,000 active duty reserve
and civilian support personnel
by wearing it.
[Amanda] Having the whole team there
greeting you, really excited for you,
it was absolutely an unforgettable day.
So remember today is the day
that you became a Blue Angel.
Look around at your teammates.
Commit this special bond to memory.
Once a Blue Angel, always a Blue Angel.
Welcome to the team.
- [applause]
- [triumphant music playing]
I think the media likes
to make a big deal out of firsts,
but, you know, I always feel
we give short shrift
to why they actually made it, right?
We have a fantastic officer
and a fantastic pilot.
The end of the day,
when you're flying 12 inches apart,
what really matters
is that you can trust 'em.
[atmospheric music playing]
[Cheese] I think the progression
with the team is going really well,
and I'm really, really excited to see
when we can bring this in
and how tight we can actually
get that formation.
[dramatic music playing]
[Boss] In terms of being a newbie
on the Blue Angels,
it feels like an eternity.
We are entering a phase of the season
where a new team is selected
and it's the official "you are no longer
a newbie on the team."
You finally kind of know
what you're doing.
[engines whooshing]
[energetic music playing]
[engines roaring]
Rip it.
It's kind of fun watching
the folks who just learned.
It's cool seeing Cheese go from
not knowing anything but fleet flying
to feeling 110% confident.
But he has another enormous role
that he's got to learn.
[Jamammy] Cheese next year in the two jet
is gonna have
the incredible responsibility
of training a new boss.
[Doc] Good morning, Mike. How are you?
- [Mike] Thanks. Good. And yourself?
- Hi.
- Doc, nice to see you again.
- Good to be back.
- Hi. Mike.
- Alex Armatas.
[Doc] We are in San Antonio, Texas,
at the Wyle KBR centrifuge center.
[Mike] You guys ready for this?
[Doc] This is the first day
for the incoming pilots
to be on the job as Blue Angels.
This is a g tolerance
improvement training program,
and it is a very demanding
and rigorous program.
[Boss] People who've been flying F-18s
for 20 years go to the centrifuge
if they get selected.
And it can be challenging at times and
sometimes have to learn new techniques
to make sure they can perform
at the highest levels
before they can be on the team.
[Doc] When you increase g-forces,
gravity is gonna pull
the blood in your head down to your feet,
so you're gonna pass out.
Go ahead and put your g-suits on.
I want to check them just to make sure.
[Doc] The first day,
incoming aviators wear their g-suits,
which they're used to wearing
out in the fleet.
[Mike] Go ahead and climb on in
and sit down as best
or as easy as possible.
[Doc] A g-suit is something
that we strap on, and they will inflate
and deflate, depending on
the amount of g's you're pulling,
to help you sustain g's
so you don't have to strain as hard.
[man] Harness.
[Mike over radio] Harness locked.
Zippers are up.
[man over radio] G-suit pressure
[Mike] There it is.
[buzzer blares]
Okay, we're just gonna
get you up to idle speed.
In three, two, one. Engage.
[tense music playing]
[Mike] All right, should feel like you're
going straight up in a rocket right now.
[Mike] Pull back.
[man] Up top. Breathe.
Bring those knees in.
Dig with those heels.
Breathe. Drop the shoulders.
Plank the abs. Down to five and a half.
Keep it going.
[Mike] Squeeze that butt.
Get those abs tight.
Keep them tight.
You're letting these g's control you.
Come on. I want you to control them.
[buzzer blares]
You're on top. Breathe.
Squeeze the knees. Squeeze that butt.
Breathe. Keep those abs tight.
Keep them tight.
[man] Work. Bring those knees in.
Squeeze that butt!
Come on, breathe.
[Mike] Come on, dig the heels.
You got this.
Keep squeezing. Come on.
Squeeze the knees. Nicely done.
[man] I got to tell you, Alex, that may be
the best I've ever seen
anybody do on their first ride.
I'm sure. I'm not just blowing smoke, man.
I don't say that to people.
That was awesome.
[Doc] Today, there are no g-suits.
And the reason we require that is because
we do not fly with g-suits
in the Blue Angels.
- [Mike] Welcome back.
- Yeah.
[Cheese] The g-suit fills up with air,
so the way we fulcrum
with our-our arm on our leg,
if that were to inflate,
it would move our arm
and inherently just move the aircraft,
so we don't do that.
[man] Okay, we're gonna
start the profile now.
We have five profiles
that every Blue Angel aviator
will go through in the centrifuge
which represent
what they experience
when flying in the jet.
[engines whooshing]
And those are the high-g profiles,
and one of which is
the PUB, the Pitch-Up Break,
which is our very last maneuver,
where the pilots will pull
seven and a half g's
to break around the airfield
before landing.
[chuckling] But it's critical that
they stay awake during that maneuver.
So we've taken that demonstration profile
and simulated it in the centrifuge
so that we can train to it
before getting into the jet.
All right, I have controls.
[man] Going to seven g's, five seconds.
[tense music playing]
[man] Okay, legs tight. Breath.
On top. Breathe.
Dig with the heels. Plank the abs.
Breathe. We're-we're down
to five and a half. Keep it going.
Stay with the strain.
Stay with the strain. Come on.
- Stay with it. Stay with it. Stay with it.
- [Scribe groaning]
[man] It gets people
when it drops off like that.
[Wooldridge] It's the weirdest thing
to have a g-induced loss of consciousness.
You don't even know
where you are or what you are.
I mean, it's just like
your whole conscious self is gone.
[man] Alex, you okay?
- Yeah.
- All right.
[Doc] I called Boss about this and said,
"Hey, Boss, the new boss just passed out."
And he said, "Good.
Good, because that's a wake-up call
that he needs."
You know, "Let's get to work.
This is not gonna be easy."
[Mike] You're on top. Breathe.
Come on, dig the heels.
You got this. Keep squeezing.
Breathe. Squeeze those knees.
Get that butt tight.
Yes. Abs tight. Hold them tight.
Come on, legs.
One, two. Breathe. You got this.
And you're coming down.
You're coming all the way home.
Keep the strain. Legs, butt, heels.
Oh, you're coming down.
Yep, there we go.
I got you, Amanda.
Go ahead and put your head back. Amanda?
[Amanda] I had never g-LOC'd before.
And whatever your mind goes through
at that point, you know,
who knows, but I was in outer space.
[Mike] Take a breath. [clears throat]
It's, like, a... an eye-opener
for how inherently dangerous this job is.
We're just getting everything
back to normal.
- [Amanda] Okay.
- Head back in the headrest.
There you go.
[Scribe] There was certainly
a point today where I was...
I was frustrated, and it was a...
it was a difficult profile,
and I just kind of sat down and...
and just-just wanted to...
just wanted to relax
and do nothing for a few minutes.
But like most things in this business,
you-you get over it and you...
and you move on.
Breath up.
On top. Breathe. Drop those shoulders.
Bring the knees in.
Squeeze the butt. Breathe.
[Doc] A lot of today
is building confidence,
knowing that you can physically do this.
[Mike] Breathe. Good.
Terminate, terminate, terminate.
[Doc] Got to get your mind right,
your body right.
But without that mind being 100% invested
that you can do this,
you're not gonna be able to do it.
[Mike] You're on top. Breathe here.
Squeeze those knees together.
Squeeze that butt. Keep it tight.
Breathe. Good.
Breathe. Squeeze those knees.
Get that butt tight. Breathe. Good.
Come on, now. There you go.
Looking good. You got it.
One, two, and you're coming down
all the way home.
- [applause]
- [exhales]
Nicely done.
- [Doc] All right.
- [Mike] Hey!
- [man] Nice job.
- [applause]
[Doc] That's what this whole training
is about... to let them know
we are in the big leagues now
and it's time to step it up.
Nice job, man.
[Scribe] We've got a lot to learn.
Starting next month, we'll start traveling
with the team, and pretty much
from the moment we start traveling
until the change of command in November,
we are joined at the hip
with whoever we're replacing.
We'll all be doing that
all the way through the fall.
- Hey, Boss.
- New boss!
- Hey.
- All right, cheers.
[majestic music playing]
[Scribe] Right now, it's the
khaki newbie phase, as we refer to it.
It's a good chance for all of us
to kind of feel
what it's like to be on the road.
The best way to describe it is "surreal."
[dramatic music playing]
[woman over radio] First jumper.
First jumper. Two jumps away.
[Thomas "Franz" Zimmerman] Not until
you live it, boy, do you understand
what it's like to be a Blue Angel.
[Boss] It's actually a bit comical
at the start because you have a bunch
of highly trained, skilled folks who...
don't really know what to do anymore.
You can... But you can stand just...
yeah, either way.
You can dance around. Thanks.
[Amanda] Being a newbie,
there's a very delicate balance.
You're basically there to be a sponge.
That's crowd right. Intro to crowd.
[Franz] We account for
every single minute of the day.
By the time you get back to the hotel,
boy, you can't even remember what you ate
for lunch or if you even ate lunch.
[Amanda] I wanted to start off
with the narrator spot,
and then when I found out
that I was gonna be
in the Diamond, it's just
one of those things where you're like,
"I'm just happy to be here."
Um, as we say, "I'm glad to be here."
[man over radio] Set your flaps.
[Wooldridge] "Glad to be here."
The perfect expression of the gratitude
we have from the top down, the bottom up.
[gentle music playing]
Whoever is around you, and-and you say,
"I'm just glad to be here."
It's a reset.
It lets people know that
no matter what kind of day you had,
you're glad you are with
the people you're with,
because they'll understand
and they'll trust you
because you won't hold anything back.
And when you have that kind of effort,
it raises the outcomes
for each and every person.
"Glad to be here."
That was foundational.
[all grunt, laugh]
All right!
[Boss] Th-There's a kind of a saying
from deploying sailors
where the days are long
but the weeks are short.
Kind of living in the moment.
You're tired a lot of times.
All of a sudden, you wake up
and it's, you know, September,
and then it's end of season week.
[engines roaring]
Rip it.
[triumphant music playing]
You spend the entire 365 previous days
with your team, getting better
and better and better, and then...
Let's get rolling.
Here it is.
I'll never do this again.
My replacement has been picked,
and this is our last ride.
[chuckling] It's definitely
an emotional moment, you know?
[Chomps] For the Diamond 360,
we've talked at length over the last...
I-I would say each one of us
has had hours conversations
with each other about the Diamond 360,
kind of preparing our fulcrum...
[Boss] Our goal at the beginning
of the season is
the tireless pursuit of perfection.
And I think a lot of it comes down
to just not being satisfied,
knowing that there's a next level.
[engines roaring]
[dramatic music playing]
There's tension in it. There's, one,
you got to be safe,
you got to be professional.
But there's another side to that:
"Gosh, man, I want to make sure
that we get to the tightest sets."
The Blue Angel hallmark of precision.
That tension, it's good,
but you got to keep it in check.
[Chomps] All right, for the Diamond Roll.
Hold to deep. Hold to deep...
[Boss] The way I chose to lead was
I wanted Chomps to be empowered.
'Cause I have that much trust in-in Frank.
During that final week,
Frank came into my office and said,
"We can do it."
The Diamond 360 and Yankee set.
[stirring music playing]
From the right, the Blue Angel Diamond.
[indistinct radio chatter]

To be able to do that safely...
...flying just inches apart,
that's-that's a grand slam.
That's the Blue Angel magic.
[woman] Departing team members,
last three ranks, anyone want to talk?
- Destiny, you crying yet?
- [Destiny] I'm not crying.
- You good?
- [man] Come on, Kev.
- [woman] Come on, Kev!
- [man 2] This is it.
- [encouraging chatter]
- Come on, Kev.
- Come on, Kev!
- [cheering]
[rapping indistinctly]
Put your hands in the air
if you heard me
- Wash your hands, wash your feet
- [laughter, encouraging shouts]
Brush your teeth, wash your back...
[rap continues indistinctly]
Put your arms in the air
if you heard me
Wash your hands, wash your feet,
wash your back, wash your back...
[rap continues indistinctly]
[man over radio] Good afternoon, Bert.
I've never been in
a command like this before,
and, uh, you guys treat me like family,
and I really appreciate that.
Thank you so much. I will miss it.
- I will miss it.
- [encouraging chatter, applause]
[The Killers:
"All These Things That I've Done"]
When there's nowhere else to run
Is there room for one more son...
You know, to everyone leaving,
you will be missed.
We'll talk about it more tonight.
For the newbies in the back, soak it in.
Talk to these people
before they leave today.
[group] Whoo!
Hold on
If you can, hold on
- All right!
- [applause]
- Hold on
- Hit it.
- One more time.
- Three, four, five.
[chatter continues indistinctly]
[Boss] Expo is clear to taxi.
Line up on runway two-five-right.
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go
- You know, you know
- [indistinct radio chatter]
No, you don't, you don't
I wanna shine on in the hearts of man
I want a meaning from the back
of my broken hand
- [Boss speaking indistinctly in chanting cadence]
- Another head aches
Another heart breaks
I'm so much older than I can take
And my affection,
well, it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection,
no, no, no, no
Help me out, yeah
You know you gotta help me out, yeah
Oh, don't you put me
on the back burner
You know you gotta help me out, yeah
You're gonna bring yourself down
You're gonna bring yourself down, yeah
You're gonna bring yourself down
[Chewy] I don't think
you remember shows or weekends.
The level of perfection that we seek,
I see it in moments.
Every once in a while,
you're in a roll or a rollout,
the jets just kind of freeze,
and the world around you
seems to kind of spin, so...
And those are kind of the moments
that I'll remember
that kind of stick with me.
[Push Pop] The four Diamond pilots
are rolling out in trail formation
for a dynamic separation maneuver.
The Blue Angel Vertical Break.
Rip it.
I got soul, but I'm not a soldier
I got soul,
but I'm not a soldier
You know you gotta help me out, yeah
Oh, don't you put me
on the back burner
You know you gotta help me out, yeah
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna bring yourself down
Oh, don't you put me
on the back burner
You're gonna bring yourself down
Yeah, you're gonna
bring yourself down...
[Doc] I walked away thinking, "This is
exactly what we worked for all year,"
and it was incredible to see.
Last call for sin
- While everyone's lost
- [indistinct radio chatter]
The battle is won...
Great job. Great tour.
[Chomps] Ah, good deal, Boss.
Welcome back.
[Boss] No kidding... during the show,
the parking spots are all changed over,
and that is how the Blue Angels do it.
Things that I've done
Time, truth and hearts
All the old guys' names
have been scraped off.
If you can, hold on
You know, when you walk out
of this hangar that final time, that's it.
- If you can, hold on
- [indistinct chatter]
There's no coming back.
Just started prepping my cadence
for that final walk back,
when it's that final drop of salute.
That's right, and left.
Left, left.
How long I might wait
for that final drop of salute.
Left, left.
Left, right, left.
- Right, right.
- Hut!
[Boss] We drop salute,
and we know that the next day,
personnel are gonna go
all across the world
to the next tour of duty.
That's the last moment
that our family's gonna be together.
You know?
Uh... yeah.
[chuckles softly]
And salute.
Ready? Two.
- [wistful music playing]
- [crowd cheering]
[jovial chatter, laughter]
[Chomps] The flying is cool,
but it's not the same
as being around Jamammy or Cheese
or Chewy or Whiskers or Boss
or any of the supply officers
to maintainers downstairs.
It's that one-on-one connection
you have with your crew chiefs...
Joe and Alan for me...
so that's gonna truly,
truly be the thing
that I'm gonna miss the most.

[indistinct chatter]
[Boss] It's all the parts.
It's not just five people.
It's 141 personnel
that put this thing together.
[man] Ready? One, two and three.
- All right!
- [cheering]
[Jamammy] The people change.
The suits stay the same.
What this team means stays the same.
And what this team means to the country
has stayed the same
and has lasted the test of time.
And then... poof, you know? it's gone.
I pinch myself
I get a chance to be part of it.
[engines whooshing]
[soft, atmospheric music playing]
- [insects trilling]
- [coyotes yelping]
[man] The Blue Angel Creed!
[group] As a Blue Angel,
I will dedicate all my efforts to pride,
professionalism and perfection.
I will strive to honor the crest I earned,
and I will never forget from where I came.
Once a Blue Angel, always a Blue Angel.
[energetic music playing]

[dramatic music playing]

- [music fades]
- [radio static droning]
[Boss over radio] Great job. Great tour.