EL CENTRO – The sounds of screaming jet engines and sonic booms are the norm for people living in the Imperial Valley, as the Navy Blue Angels from Naval Air Facility El Centro typically grace the skies nearly 200 days a year.
But that all came to a halt in April, when steep government budget cuts forced the planes to the ground.
The elite Navy fliers were forced to cancel a number of shows across the country, and their status for 2014 was up in the air.
That is until this week, when it was announced the group would be fully funded and resume a busy schedule, beginning with their first show of the year in El Centro on March 15.
The Angels commanding officer Thomas Frosch says the air shows provide a unique opportunity to help connect Americans to their service members.
Frosch says he is excited to get back to work, and so is his team.
“I think getting ourselves mentally back in the game,” says Frosch.
“You know it’s a completely different up tempo than we’re normally used to. We’re flying six days a week, traditionally, and here now we’re flying three or four days a week so we need to get ourselves mentally geared toward operational tempo again.”
After playing to the crowds in El Centro, the Blue Angels will make their way from coast to coast, performing 65 shows, ending with their final performance November 8th at Navy Air Station, in Pensacola, Florida.