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Blue Angels Amaze Imperial Valley with Spectacular Air Show


The skies above El Centro were filled with excitement and awe as the legendary Blue Angels took to the air for their annual Air Show at Naval Air Facility El Centro. For the past 50 years, the Blue Angels have made El Centro their winter training spot, and the festival has become a beloved tradition in the Imperial Valley.

The Air Show, which is one of the largest single-day events in the region, drew crowds from near and far to witness the incredible aerial acrobatics and precision flying of the Blue Angels. Spectators were treated to thrilling maneuvers and breathtaking formations as the elite pilots showcased their skills and pushed the limits of aviation.

In addition to the awe-inspiring performances by the Blue Angels, the Air Show also featured a variety of entertainment and activities for attendees of all ages. From static displays of military aircraft to interactive exhibits and demonstrations, there was something for everyone to enjoy at the festival. 

As the first event of the Blue Angels’ season, the Air Show in El Centro serves as a fitting kickoff to a year of performances across the country.

Navy Lt. Amanda Lee was named alongside five other officers as the newest members of the 2023 Show Season for the Blue Angels. She became the first female F/A-18E/F demo pilot last year. 

“We love coming here, this has been our home for decades. It is a staple part of our training and this is how we become show-ready for the season,” Lee said in an interview with Beyond Borders Gazette days before the air show. 

Lt. Ben Bushong, Public Information Officer of the Blue Angels, said El Centro is their second home for their winter training.

“Everyone is so welcoming and it’s an honor to do an air show to give back to the community,” Bushong said. 

NAF El Centro has been a longtime training ground for the Blue Angels, providing the ideal location for the squadron to hone their skills and showcase their precision flying. The desert environment offers unique challenges for the pilots, including strong winds, temperature fluctuations, and high-altitude conditions. This training period allows the Blue Angels to familiarize themselves with these factors and ensure they are prepared for their upcoming performances.

The Blue Angels’ mission is to represent the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through their flight demonstrations and community outreach. By engaging with the Imperial Valley community at events like the meet and greet at the California Mid-Winter Fair, the Blue Angels can connect with the public and inspire a culture of excellence and service to the country.

The installation brought back fan favorites such as a classic car show, a mariachi band, the U.S. Navy’s rock band, “The Destroyers,” as well as the U.S. Navy’s Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, and flying acts provided by the U.S. Air Force and commemorative warbirds.

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