US Blue Angels select first female pilot in squad's history

Blue Angels first female pilot
Lt. Amanda Lee is the first female F/A-18 demonstration pilot chosen to fly with 
U.S. Navy's elite Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels, the US Navy's elite flight demonstration squadron, has selected the first female fighter jet demonstration pilot for their upcoming season.

Lt. Amanda Lee was selected to be a F/A-18E/F demonstration pilot along with Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Zimmerman, according to a team press release. While Lee has been named, she will still need to complete an intensive five-month training program with the Blue Angels, which all new members are required to complete.

The Blue Angels announced six new team members overall. The other new members include an events coordinator, a C-130J Super Hercules pilot, an aviation maintenance officer and a flight surgeon "to replace outgoing team members," the Blue Angels say.

While Lee is set to be the first woman to serve in this role on the team, "For over 55 years, hundreds of women have served with the Blue Angels representing the very best of the Navy and Marine Corps," the release states.

"We had an overwhelming number of applicants from all over the globe this year," Capt. Brian Kesselring, commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels, said. "We look forward to training our fantastic new team members, passing on the torch, and watching the incredible things this team will accomplish in 2023."

The new team members will report to the squadron in September and begin the five-month training program in November at NAS Pensacola, Florida and Naval Air Facility El Centro, California.

The Blue Angels' mission is to "showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach," the release states. The Blue Angels were founded in 1946 and perform multiple showcases across the US every year.

Written by Darren Bondi

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