After raising over $1 million in less than a year, the Town of Smyrna has broke ground on the Capt. Jeff Kuss Memorial on Wednesday, Oct. 18. Nancy DeGennaro/DNJ
SMYRNA — The U.S. Navy Blue Angels announced Monday that the flight demonstration squadron will return to the Great Tennessee Air Show in June 8-9, 2019.
“The Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority and the Town of Smyrna are thrilled to have been selected by this iconic flight team,” said John Black, executive director of the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority.
The Blue Angels were set to perform at the biennial air show in June 2016 when Capt. Jeff Kuss crashed during a practice run. The Blue Angels did not choose Smyrna as a destination for the 2018 circuit.
“We were hopeful that we would be selected as one of the sites this year. And when we got word today that we had been selected, the council was excited to have our family back at the air show,” said Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed.
The news was revealed at the International Council of Air Shows convention in Las Vegas.
“The Great Tennessee Air Show is a part of the fabric of the community in Tennessee and dates back to 1970. The 2019 show will highlight the United States military and stand for the freedoms that they protect for the citizens of our great country. We are thrilled to have the Blue Angels back.”
In October, the town broke ground on a memorial that will honor Kuss’ memory. The memorial, which is located beside Lee Victory Park on Sam Ridley Parkway, will feature a retired Blue Angel jet. A ribbon cutting for the memorial has been set for June 9, 2018.
Raising funds and planning for the memorial has been an integral part of the recovery process for Smyrna residents, Reed said. And having the Blue Angels return will be “just another step in the healing process for the town of Smyrna.”
“I feel like the citizens of the town of Smyrna truly feel as if the Blue Angels are part of our family and our community,” Reed said.
Since 1946, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels’ mission is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and inspire a culture of excellence and service to country by conducting flight demonstrations and community outreach.
In addition to military flight demonstrations, the Great Tennessee Air Show will feature a variety of other aerobatic performers.