Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola hosted the 2023 Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow at the air station Nov. 3 and 4, the final airshow of the season.
Themed 50 Years of Women in Naval Aviation, the airshow was designed to recognize and honor the significant contributions women have made to U.S. naval aviation since the enactment of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, which removed restrictions previously prohibiting women from serving in combat-related roles and ultimately opened the door for women to pursue careers as Naval Aviators.
“For so many years, this great event has been our way of thanking the community for your continued support of the thousands of service members who call this wonderful city home,” said NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer Capt. Terry ‘Village’ Shashaty. “We love providing visitors the opportunity to visit our flight line and experience what has always been an outstanding event and interact with the men and women who have made this event possible – the service members and civilian employees working, training and living in the great city of Pensacola.”
Special guests at the airshow included women in the first classes of women aviators admitted to naval aviation flight training at NAS Pensacola in 1973, as well as other pioneering women in naval aviation were acknowledged each day. Capt. (ret.) Lee Hansen; Capt. (ret.) Kay Hire; Cmdr. (ret) Chris Giza; Capt. (ret.) Joellen Oslund; and Capt. (ret.) Mary Louise Griffin made appearances during each six-hour event, interacting with community members and posing for photos.
Shashaty added that the 2023 NAS Pensacola Blue Angels Homecoming airshow is annually made possible through the dedicated efforts of the installation service members and civilian employees, each of whom played a critical role in ensuring the safety and security of the estimated 150K visitors during the two-day event contributed to a memorable experience.
“There are so many pieces to putting together an event such as this,” he said. “Our Security Department is always critical, and the hundreds of men and women with MWR [Morale, Welfare and Recreation] as well as the efforts of our men and women in uniform are all contributing factors to the overall success of the airshow, and their professionalism and dedication is something I appreciate.”
Featuring acts including the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration team the Blue Angels, as well as performances from the U.S. Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team and the U.S. Air Force F-35 Demonstration Team, the airshow also showcased Adam Baker Airshows; RAD Aerosports; the Stearman Flight Team; the Third Strike WingWalkers; and women performers Melissa Burns and the Misty Blues Skydiving Team.