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Blue Angels, Thunderbirds meet for rare joint training in Pensacola

Mike Zidziunas (right) is assisted by U.S. Navy petty officer Arthur Stockpole in preparation for his ride in Blue Angel #7 at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo in Lakeland, Fl on Wednesday April 5, 2017. Two local "key influencers" and one media representative got a chance to ride in the back seat of an F/A-18 Hornet from the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. [SCOTT WHEELER/THE LEDGER]

PENSACOLA — The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels are meeting for a rare joint training session in the Florida Panhandle.

The Pensacola News Journal reports that the Thunderbirds landed Monday at “The Cradle of Naval Aviation.” The eight Air Force F-16 pilots and more than 50 other officers and support staff from the Nevada-based Thunderbirds will join the six F/A-18 Blue Angels pilots and support staff at Naval Air Station Pensacola through Wednesday.

The U.S. military’s two elite fighter-jet demonstration teams are seldom in the same place. Department of Defense guidelines say the teams must perform at the different air shows to cover as much recruiting territory as possible.

The two teams haven’t been in Pensacola together for more than 15 years.

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