By Buddy Blouin
The legendary Blue Angels have selected the six new officers that will be joining the world-famous aerial demonstration team for the 2023 season. Blue Angels pilots are some of the most easily recognizable members of the American Armed Forces, performing throughout the United States and all over the world. There are many who apply, but to be selected to this elite group of Airmen is a distinguishing honor and allows pilots to help defend our country while spreading joy and patriotism along the way. This year, however, they’ll also be making history with Lt. Amanda Lee joining the ranks as one of the new faces crowds can expect to see during the upcoming season.

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Meet the Six Newest Blue Angels Officers for 2023

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels, is welcoming six new Blue Angels officers to its ranks for the 2023 air show season. A two-month turnover period will begin in September for the new team members. Headlined by Amanda Lee, the first female F/A-18E/F pilot to join the squadron, these incredible officers will head to NAS Pensacola and Naval Air Facility El Centro, California, for an intense five-month training session to get them ready for the upcoming season. Get to know these brave heroes, and get ready to see them in a city near you soon!

1. Lt. Amanda Lee

Coming out of Mounds View, Minnesota, Amanda Lee will be a F/A-18E/F Demonstration Pilot during the 2023 show season. As of now, she's assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106. This ODU alumna is making history as the first woman to be chosen as a demonstration pilot for the Blue Angels flying the F/A-18E/F after graduating from Old Dominion in 2013.

2. Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Zimmerman

Zimmerman is another new face serving as a F/A-18E/F Demonstration Pilot. Representing Baltimore, Maryland, this U.S. Naval Academy grad’s current assignment is in the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11.

3. Marine Corps Capt. Samuel Petko

The Captain from Osceola, Indiana, may serve as a KC-130J Hercules pilot assigned to the “Sumos” of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 152, but he’s going to be a C-130 Demonstration Pilot for the Blue Angels. Get ready to see this 2014 graduate of Indiana University throughout the many dates on the Blue Angels 2023 schedule.

4. Lt. Cmdr. Brian Vaught

Hosting events like the Blue Angels Air Shows is no small task. This is why the 2023 renditions will be welcoming Lt. Vaught from Englewood, Colorado, as an event coordinator. He is currently assigned to the Naval School of Aviation Safety and is an alumnus of the University of Colorado.

5. Lt. Cmdr. Greg Jones

The Blue Angels require only the best upkeep to safely allow pilots to execute some of the most advanced aerial maneuvers known to man. Thankfully, that’s where Jones from Cary, North Carolina, comes in. Currently working as an Aviation Maintenance Officer at the Pre-Commissioning Unit John F. Kennedy (CVN 79), this Elon University grad will be right at home with the same role during the air shows.

6. Lt. Philippe Warren

The toll that flying at this level can take on a person is not to be understated. This is why Lt. Warren from Williamsburg, Virginia, will continue his flight surgeon role. Only, instead of working on his current assignment with the “Fighting Griffins” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266, the University of Virginia graduate will be working alongside the Blue Angels to keep everyone’s health in check.

Going Beyond the Call of Duty

Blue Angels pilots are rightfully known for their military service and high-flying acrobatics, but there’s more to this group than that. The people who make up the Blue Angels entertain millions of spectators each year, defend America, and still find time to brighten the days of Americans. The Blue Angels take time out to visit various communities, inspiring the best that America has to offer through patriotism, service, and community. This includes schools and community events, but also those fighting a different type of battle. Having the Blue Angels visit children and Veterans at HCA Florida West Hospital is just one of the latest examples of their charity and commitment to communities around the United States. At the end of the day, the Blue Angels continue to demonstrate what being an American is all about.

The Blue Angels 2023 Schedule

Always a delight, the Blue Angels Air Show will be coming to a city near you, as the Navy has already released the 2023 schedule. It all begins in March at NAF El Centro, CA, and will hit several different locations before wrapping things up at NAS Pensacola in November with Blue Angels pilots leading the way. No matter where you are, start making plans as these six newest Blue Angels officers and the rest of the gang head your way for some of the most incredible aerial stunts known to man!

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Visit Pensacola for the 2022 Blue Angels Air Show!

Image: dbvirago - stock.adobe.com



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