Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blue Angels Perform At-Sea Air Show for Enterprise

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nathan Carpenter, USS Enterprise Public Affairs

ABOARD USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, conducted an at-sea air-power demonstration show above USS Enterprise (CVN 65) May 21 for a crowd of thousands of Sailors on the flight deck.

The Blue Angels were practicing for a scheduled air show at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C. They amazed the crowd on the flight deck below by performing aerial maneuvers and close-formation flybys.

The six blue-and-gold F/A-18 fighter jets approached in a perfect V formation and then peeled off one by one as a greeting to the watching Sailors.

The show was a highly anticipated event on the ship, and it provided a few minutes of fun for the crew which have been conducting virtually around-the-clock flight operations in support of carrier qualifications for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1.

"This was an awesome opportunity for our Sailors who have been really working hard day and night. Many have never seen the Blue Angels, and you can't ask for a better vantage point than on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier at sea," said the ship's executive officer and former Blue Angels pilot Capt. Ryan B. Scholl.

The ship had 10 civilian distinguished visitors aboard who also had the opportunity to watch the show. The event further enhanced their experience.

"This is amazing!" said Peter Richardson, an executive at Navy Federal Credit Union who was part of the embarked group. "A big goal of mine is to really serve the Sailors who are our customers and get a better understanding of where they're coming from and what they do. This sort of thing just makes me appreciate what Sailors do every day."

The Blue Angels squadron is made up of more than 130 Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel. The squadron composition is much like any other military aircraft squadron, but earning a duty assignment comes only after a highly selective process that includes an application, interviews and a record full of superior service evaluations. The squadron spends most of the year traveling the globe conducting precision air shows, wowing the crowds that gather wherever they fly.

The air show over Enterprise lasted for an hour, and within an hour of the Blue Angels disappearing over the horizon, Enterprise was launching sorties from her flight deck.

Enterprise is underway conducting carrier qualifications in preparation for her work-up phase leading to its 21st deployment.