Blue Angels Returning to NAS Meridian

By: Penny Randall, NAS Meridian Public Affairs
By: Penny Randall, NAS Meridian Public Affairs

In 2011, Naval Air Station Meridian will celebrate its 50th anniversary honoring the commissioning of the base in July 1961, along with celebrating the Centennial of Naval Aviation.

What a better way to celebrate than with an air show featuring the Navy's elite Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels?

NAS Meridian Commanding Officer Capt. Charles Gibson is proud to announce that "Golden Wings Over Meridian" is set for March 26-27, 2011. The Angels last performed at NAS Meridian in March 2009 to a record-breaking crowd of more than 90,000 spectators. The NAS Meridian air show will be the third stop during the Blue Angels 38 show 2011 season.

Demonstration sites are selected in support of U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Department of Defense objectives with safety as a primary consideration.

Performances greatly assist in the recruiting and retention goals of the military services, enhance esprit de corps among uniformed men and women, and demonstrate the professional skills and capabilities of the Naval Services to the American public and U.S. Allies.

At the end of World War II, Chester W. Nimitz, then the Chief of Naval Operations, ordered the formation of a flight demonstration team to keep the public interested in naval aviation.

The Blue Angels performed their first flight demonstration less than a year later in June 1946 at their home base, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., flying the Grumman F6F Hellcat.

Over the years, the Blue Angels have flown the Grumman F8F Bearcat, the Grumman F9F-2 Panther, and the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar. The ensuing 20 years saw the Blue Angels transition to two more aircraft, the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957) and the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969).

In December 1974, the Navy Flight Demonstration Team began flying the McDonnell Douglas A-4F Skyhawk II and was reorganized as the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. This reorganization permitted the establishment of a commanding officer vice a flight leader.

On Nov. 8, 1986, the Blue Angels completed their 40th anniversary year during ceremonies unveiling their present aircraft, the new sleek F/A-18 Hornet, the first dual-role fighter/attack aircraft now serving on the nation's front lines of defense.

The NAS Meridian Air Show Committee has been formed and plans are underway to book additional acts and demonstration aircraft. As in years past, the air show will be free and open to the public. More information will follow as details become available.

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  • by essay Location: usa on Jul 18, 2011 at 07:20 AM
    very interesting article! I will follow your themes. Can I subscribe to your posts on Twitter or on your Facebook profile?
  • by Jeremy Location: NAS Meridian on Nov 29, 2010 at 08:37 AM
    AO1 Here is my Email addy. R/ ABH1
  • by Mary Location: Ohio on Nov 4, 2010 at 02:56 AM
    I refused to visit such an shows after one of catastrophe, which is not, actually, so rare. And I don`t think that there is a way I will resume doing that
  • by Robert P Minnis Location: Lovington, IL. on Mar 26, 2010 at 01:33 PM
    My father, ATC K.G. Minnis was assigned to NAS Meridian in 1961. I was 15 years old at the time. I was a member of a band who appeared many times at the base clubs, teen dances and pool partys. I was also an active member of NAS Meridian's first teen club. The band was called Rick's Continentals and we released two records under the RAP label out of Meridian. The bands web site is: I'm retired from the Navy now myself and hoping that I will be able to attend the 50th anniversary event. Members of the Band, Stan Suire, Ray Vaughn, Darrell Ross, and myself still get together each year at Stan's house which is located just out side the base. Please keep me informed of upcoming event information as it becomes available. Thank you, AO1 R.P. Minnis (USN Retired)
  • by Anonymous on Dec 11, 2009 at 08:07 AM
    Maybe by 2011 NAS can figure out how to park everyone in a more timely manner than the 2.5 hours I sat in line. And I even arrived an hour before the show!
  • by Anonymous on Dec 10, 2009 at 05:50 PM
    For those who can not wait until 2011, the Angels will be back in Tuscaloosa again in 2010.
    • reply
      by Cliff on Apr 4, 2011 at 08:19 AM in reply to
      I was stationed at NAS Meridian from Aug. 61 to discharge in Aug. 64. I came on board and was assigned to VT7. The base was brand new. VT9 was started later. I was a plane captain on the flight line early on. After I made AMH4 I was in the flight line serv. crew. We filled a/c with lox,changed tires when needed, filled other fluids. did light maintenance. and drove unit whch started the a/c engine. When I made AMH5 I was assigned to night check crew, almost like being retired. I stayed at the pool, played golf, tennis most days after finishing my night check job most days by 9 or 10 pm. As a short timer toward the end I was assigned to the group of sailors who looked for the missing civil rights workers whose bodies were later found buried under a earthen dam. I hope to hear from any who read this post. I got to revisit the base this past Dec. Many memories
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