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Blue Angels return to Middle Tennessee for first time since deadly crash

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Blue Angels make their return to Tennessee skies, three years after one of their own was killed in a crash during a flight exercise in Smyrna.

Captain Jeff Kuss lost his life in an accident on June 2, 2016. Since then, the community of Smyrna dedicated a memorial to the pilot.

The community has welcomed the Blue Angels back to Middle Tennessee with open arms.

“It’s nothing less than what I would expect from Tennessee. We’re generally a very military supportive state,” said Major Jeff Mullins, Blue Angel pilot and Memphis native.

Mullins said he knew Kuss from his time at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.

“While Jeff’s memory is a huge part of what we do here, the memory of every service man or woman who is out serving our country right now is really who we need to try and honor as well,” he said.

Major Mullins said he hopes this year’s air show will inspire and give hope to the people of Tennessee.

“Hopefully, inspire them to say, ‘Hey, they can do that through their hard work and dedication. What can we do as society or a culture through our own hard work and dedication?'” said Mullins.

Mullins said it’s important to honor the military, especially on the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion.

The Great Tennessee Air Show is on June 8 and 9. Six Blue Angel pilots will perform stunts for a large crowd of people at the Smyrna Airport.