If you missed the performance by the U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels at the Southernmost Air Spectacular in Key West over the weekend, you may not have another chance to see them for a while.
Defense Undersecretary Robert Hale issued a directive earlier this month prompted by sequestration-related cuts, prohibiting “all aerial demonstrations in civilian air shows and military open houses” from April 1 through the remainder of the Defense Department’s fiscal year, according to a report by CBS Miami.
Airshow.com posted an announcement regarding the Blue Angels schedule:
March 4(updated Mar 21) Notice from Blue Angels Public Affairs Office: There is a lot of discussion right now regarding the status of the Blue Angels 2013 show schedule. What we can tell you is that the Navy intends to cancel Blue Angel performances scheduled in April as an outcome of the budget cuts resulting from sequestration and the full year continuing resolution. This affects performances at four locations: MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL; NAS Corpus Christi, TX; Vidalia, GA and MCAS Beaufort, SC. The Navy will wait until the last possible moment before making cancellations beyond April. Thank you for all your support for not only the Blue Angels, but the entire Navy and Marine Corps. The Blue Angels are currently training so that if the decision to cancel the April shows is reversed, the team can continue to perform and inspire future generations of Sailors and Marines.
There is no official announcement on the Blue Angels website, but the group has already begun making necessary cancellations.
Blue Angels’ flight leader, Commander Tom Frosch, says the Angels’ presence at local shows plays a critical role in Naval recruiting, adding that he hopes performances can resume.
“Losing the Blue Angels would be a tremendous loss to our recruiting effort,” Frosch said. “Our mission is to compliment the recruiting effort, take the Navy to your backyard in many towns that are not exposed to the military.”
Navy officials say Congress has agreed to fund exhibitions later in the year, but has not revealed whether Blue Angels shows would continue.