August 7, 2018

NO. NEXT QUESTION? Time to Ground the Blue Angels? A Navy Flier Responds.

The Seattle Times published an opinion piece entitled Time to Retire the Blue Angels, which argued that the U.S. Navy demonstration team should not fly at Seattle’s annual Seafair exposition. The author, Patrick Pilcher, wrote that he found the display “in poor taste,” that the air show was a waste of money and a “display of military muscle-flexing that seems a bit outdated.” Pilcher also believes that flying the jets is insensitive, since they “can be a reminder of the terror of death raining from the sky in the form of cluster bombs or other weapons” for “many recent immigrants from war-torn countries.”

The author of the Seattle Times article fails in a huge way to recognize what these flight demonstrations do for the nation. Not only the Blue Angels, but the USAF Thunderbirds, Canada’s Snowbirds, and numerous other flight demonstration squadrons and organizations show the public what their tax dollars are producing. In a time of cynicism and waste, the professionalism, training, and dedication of these men and women are, as the saying goes, some if the best this country has to offer to the world. The visits to schools, hospitals, veterans groups and organizations the pilots and maintainers of the Blue Angels perform at nearly every air show belies the waste this author claims exists. And since he wants the Navy to engage in community service, well, that’s exactly what the Blue Angels do.

Indeed. Although I suspect the real motive, or at least one important motive, behind efforts like these is to damage the military’s esprit de corps.

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