The Blue Angels' enlisted maintenance and support team is comprised of approximately 100 Sailors and Marines. Alternating crews of about 45 team members travel to each show site. All career-oriented enlisted Sailor or Marine applicants come recommended for Blue Angel duty by their current commanding officer. Applicants go through extensive screening, including interviewing with the members of each of the 15 squadron work centers. The keen selection process secures the squadron's tradition of excellence, ensuring the Blue Angels are a direct reflection of the professionalism of today's Sailors and Marines. After completing their Blue Angel tour, individuals return to the fleet to continue their naval careers.
Selected enlisted personnel volunteer for a three-year tour with the squadron. Though every team member brings skills in a distinct job specialty, each is expected to work beyond that specialty, contributing to the overall effectiveness of the Blue Angels. The squadron consists of seven distinct departments, jointly responsible for guaranteeing command readiness. A tribute to this dedicated team is the fact that the Blue Angels have never canceled an air show due to a maintenance problem.
Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Christopher Zeigler is a native of West Monroe, Louisiana, and graduated from Carroll High School in 1991. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in September 1994 and completed basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois...FULL BIO
Maintenance Master Chief (AW) Matthew Heathcoat is a native of Bradford, Illinois, and graduated from Bradford High School in 1988. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1988 and completed Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, Illinois...FULL BIO
The all-Marine flight crew assigned to the squadron's Lockheed-Martin C-130 Hercules is responsible for transporting road-crew personnel, supplies, and equipment to and from each show site throughout the season.
The Fat Albert Maintenance work center maintains the airframe, life support, engine, hydraulic and avionics systems of the Blue Angels C-130 Hercules aircraft, Fat Albert.
The squadron's senior enlisted Navy and Marine Corps personnel ensure day-to-day operations while providing key leadership, guidance, and training to enlisted personnel in the areas of maintenance, logistics, public affairs, and administration.
The crew coordinators are selected from the team after their first year and can be E-6 personnel in any rate. They are responsible for the overall training of the maintenance and support team on all the squadron procedures, and they coordinate ground operations necessary to facilitate a Blue Angels performance.
The administration department is responsible for executive and official correspondence, squadron records, pay, and travel orders. Administration maintains instructions and notices, handles promotions and awards, and controls legal and security concerns.
The airframes work center comprises Navy Aviation Structural mechanics and Marine Corps F/A-18 fixed-wing aircraft airframe mechanics specializing in hydraulics and aircraft structure. These personnel maintain flight controls, hydraulic systems, landing, arresting and catapult gear, and perform composite/sheet metal structural repairs of the F/A-18 Hornet. During the air show season, an airframes representative accompanies the C-130 crew as a safety observer in the Fat Albert portion of the flight demonstration.
The Aviation Medicine Department is responsible for the health and wellness of each team member. The medical team performs annual physical examinations and emergency medical procedures, keeps medical and dental readiness up to date, and acts as a liaison for advanced medical care.
Navy Aviation Electronics technicians and Aviation Electricians, as well as Marine Corps F/A-18 aircraft electrical systems technicians and squadron aircraft communications/navigation radar systems technicians comprise the Avionics work center. They are responsible for the performance of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and timely troubleshooting of F/A-18 and C-130 electronic flight controls, communication, navigation, radar, mission computers, display systems and fuel quantity.
The Navy Career Counselor is responsible for managing and developing the Sailors' career.
The Crew chief work center is composed of Navy and Marine Corps maintenance technicians in various aviation specialties. Two crew chiefs are assigned to each pilot, and they are responsible for performing engine turn-up operations and flight controls/instruments checks, as well as daily turn-around and preflight inspections of the aircraft. Each crew chief goes through extensive training to get a working knowledge of the aircraft and its systems.
The events coordination office schedules preseason visits with show site sponsors and secures accommodations and ground support for each air show. Events personnel also create all air show schedules and coordinate team commitments, including the school and hospital visits, and manage the Blue Angels Key Influencer rider program.
The Life Support work center comprises Navy Aviation Structural Mechanics - Safety Equipment technicians and Aircrew Survival Equipment technicians. They maintain and repair the systems that support the life of the pilot in normal and emergency situations. These systems include air conditioning, avionics cooling, heating, liquid oxygen, and canopy and ejection seat emergency escape systems. They also maintain the personal flight gear the pilots must wear, such as helmets, oxygen masks, inflatable flotation devices, and ejection seat flight harnesses.
The Maintenance Control work center is comprised of Navy Aviation Adiminstrationmen. They manage aircraft maintenance and technical support for the squadron's assigned aircraft and maintenance personnel. They coordinate, direct and manage scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on squadron aircraft and ensure aircraft records are accurate.
The Paint Shop work center is composed of maintenance technicians from various aviation ratings. Team members assigned to the Paint Shop are responsible for painting operations, corrosion control, and corrosion removal on the F/A-18 Hornet and Fat Albert, the C-130 transport aircraft.
The Power Plants work center is composed of Navy Aviation Machinist Mates and Marine Corps F/A-18 and C-130 fixed-wing aircraft mechanics. Power Plants personnel adjust, maintain, replace and service Blue angel aircraft engines, accessories and fuel and smoke systems. They also maintain the secondary power systems of the F/A-18 Hornet, which allows the aircraft to be started anywhere, without external power.
The Public Affairs Office documents and promotes the Blue Angels. It designs, writes, photographs, edits, publishes and distributes news and promotional materials for the squadron. The Public Affairs Office also coordinates promotional coverage and interviews with local, national and international media, and manages the Blue Angels VIP rider program.
The Quality Assurance work center is composed of maintenance technicians in various aviation ratings. These individuals administer and prepare maintenance instructions, review incoming technical directives, and participate as members of a technical task force that investigate trouble areas in fleet-wide aircraft maintenance. They also supervise and inspect the squadron's aircraft maintenance regime and regularly complete audits on work centers for specific maintenance programs.
The Logistics Department researches, procures, stores, and dispatches spare parts, tools, and uniforms. Logistics personnel also research future squadron logistical needs, and initiate contracts for services required to support daily operations.
The Video work center comprises Navy and Marine Corps maintenance technicians in various aviation specialties. The personnel are responsible for filming each training flight and flight demonstration for use by the pilots during debrief. They also maintain the communications cart, which allows support officers to communicate with the pilots during flight, and they simulcast the demonstration music and narration.