PENSACOLA, Florida — Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer spoke to Sailors and Marines attached to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, before taking flight in the backseat of one of the team’s Boeing F/A-18 Hornets Nov. 5.
“I haven’t been to Pensacola in quite some time and there’s no greater way to return than to visit the Blue Angels,” said Spencer.
During an all-hands call, Spencer spoke about policy changes, process improvements and mission requirements, but his focus was directed on the importance of the Sailor and the Marine team.
“What the Blue Angels do is an amazing part of the whole Navy team,” said Spencer. “When people watch what you do for the United States Navy and Marine Corps it truly inspires them.”
Spencer also took the time to answer questions from team members about topics including pay, education, shifting of resources to accomplish mission objectives and advancements in technology before thanking everyone for their service.
After speaking with team members, Spencer was given familiarization flight in a Boeing F/A-18 Hornet with Blue Angel #7, Lt. Cmdr. Cary Rickoff, during which he experienced some of the maneuvers conducted by the Blue Angels.
“It was great being able to fly the Secretary of the Navy,” said Rickoff. “We get the opportunity to fly quite a few incredible and unique people, but being able to take the leader of our entire branch of the military up in one of our jets is something I’ll never forget.”
Spencer was sworn in as the 76th Secretary of the Navy Aug. 3, 2017. In 1976, he joined the United States Marine Corps and served as an H-46 pilot until 1981 before departing active duty to enter the private finance sector.
The Blue Angels are scheduled to conduct their final flight demonstrations of the 2019 show season this weekend at the Pensacola Homecoming Air Show. In all, the team will have performed 61 demonstrations in 32 show locations across the U.S. and Canada to showcase the pride and professionalism of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps to the public in 2019.
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