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New leader takes command of Blue Angels

Commander Ryan Bernacchi has taken over as the commanding officer
(CO) of the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the
Blue Angels.
Bernacchi relieved Captain Tom Frosch, the outgoing
CO, in a change of command ceremony held Sunday at the National Naval
Aviation Museum.
Bernacchi will serve as commanding officer and
flight leader for the 2016 and 2017 Blue Angels air show seasons. As
commanding officer, Bernacchi will lead a squadron of 130 personnel and serve as the demonstration flight leader,
flying the #1 jet. The Blue Angels perform for 11 million people
annually across the United States, and are scheduled to perform 69 shows
in 36 locations for the 2016 season.

Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi officially took over as commanding officer of the Blue Angels on Sunday. (U.S. Navy/Special to the Pulse)

Bernacchi selected in May

Bernacchi was announced as the Blue
Angels’ next CO in May after being chosen by a panel comprised of ten
admirals and former commanding officers.
Applicants were required
to have a minimum of 3,000 flight hours and be in current command or
have had past command of a tactical jet squadron. “We prioritized
selecting an officer who is an outstanding example of the pride and
professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Rear Adm. Roy
Kelley, Chief of Naval Air Training, who led the selection committee.
“Commander Bernacchi has a proven record of excellence and will be both a
strong flight leader and commanding officer for the 2016 team.”
“It
is an absolute honor to have been selected for this prestigious
position,” said Cmdr. Bernacchi. “There is a legacy of tradition and
excellence within the Blue Angels squadron, and I look forward to
maintaining the high standard of excellence set before me by Captain
Frosch.”

Well qualified for new role

Cmdr. Bernacchi, a
native of Los Altos, California, joins the Blue Angels after serving as
the federal executive fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Boston. His previous assignments include five squadrons, where he flew
the F/A-18 Hornet and deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch,
Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
After graduating from the
University of California, San Diego, Bernacchi received his commission
through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program.
Bernacchi
has more than 3,000 flight hours and 600 carrier-arrested landings. His
decorations include a Meritorious Service Medal, Individual Air Medal
(with combat V), three Strike/Flight Air Medals, four Navy Commendation
Medals (one with combat V), three Navy Achievement Medals, as well as
various campaign and unit awards.

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