The United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron Blue Angels returned to their winter home in the Imperial Valley this week to train for the upcoming 2023 show season.
The Blue Angels have called my hometown (El Centro, California) their winter home for 69 years. In 1954, while training in Corpus Christi, Texas, the weather was so bad that the flight commander worried that the team would not be ready for public demonstrations. The squadron flew to El Centro — which is known worldwide for its unparalleled winter weather — and they never left.
Flight squadrons from allied nations have been training in El Centro since World War II. John Glenn and Charles Lindbergh both served at Marine Corps Air Station El Centro. MCAS was designated the National Parachute Test Range during the space program. Flight capsule recovery systems were tested over the nearby Salton Sea. At the end of the Apollo program, NPTR was transferred to the United States Navy.
The Blue Angels fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet. Their first air show of the season is scheduled for March 11, 2023 at Naval Air Station El Centro.
Though headquartered in Pensacola, Florida, the Blue Angels spend most of their time in the Imperial Valley. Images courtesy of USN Blue Angels.
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