Second African-American Thunderbird Honored In Alabama

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Captain Joseph “Pete” Peterson

The USAF Thunderbirds honored one of their own during a dedication ceremony in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Captain Joseph N. “Pete” Peterson graduated from Tuskegee Public School in 1967. It was during his high school years when he developed an interest in flying and started taking lessons. After graduation, he attended Auburn University and participated in the school’s ROTC program. On August 27th, 1971, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. During his flying career, he served in Korea flying the F-4E Phantom.

In 1981, Capt. Peterson joined the Thunderbirds. As only the second African-American pilot to join the team, he broke barriers and continued to change the way things were done. Sadly, he was one of the four pilots killed in the infamous “Diamond Crash” in 1982.

A 10.5 mile portion of State Road 199 in Tuskegee, AL changed names to honor Peterson. The Captain Joseph “Pete” Peterson Memorial Boulevard honors the legacy that Peterson left. The road, near Morton Field Airport, connects two former Tuskegee airfields where black pilots trained in the days when training was segregated.

In a post on their Facebook page, the USAF Thunderbirds said that “as a Thunderbird, Pete exemplified everything we are as Airmen then and today — Bold, Courageous, and always #BreakingBarriers”

The six F-16 fighting falcons performed a flyover during the ceremony.

Thunderbirds Flyover State Route 199

Photos courtesy of the USAF Thunderbirds

Colorado Highway Named In Honor Of Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel #6

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Colorado Highway Renamed Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway
Courtesy: CDOT/Navy

A new sign now stands as an honor to fallen Blue Angel #6. Colorado Highway 3 just outside of Durango has been renamed as the Capt. Jeff Kuss Memorial Highway in honor of the Marine pilot. The announcement comes nearly a year after the tragic accident in Smyrna, TN in which Kuss lost his life.

The resolution, brought forward by Rep. Barbara McLachlan who represents the district of Durango where Kuss resided, was formally read before the chambers of the Legislature of Colorado and passed in both the House and Senate with all members joining as co-sponsors. McLachlan said that she sees the resolution as “a tribute to Kuss, his family, and veterans across the state.”

Five members of Kuss’ family who live in Colorado were present in the House of Legislature for the announcement of the resolution.

The town of Smyrna, TN, where the accident occurred is also working to honor Kuss by building a memorial. They have raised half of the expected $1 million cost of the memorial but help is needed to complete the project. Click here for more information on how you can help.

Blue Angels Honor Capt. Kuss at First Public Display Since Crash

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Blue Angels Honor Jeff Kuss

The United States Navy Blue Angels returned to flying public demonstrations over the July 4th holiday weekend when they took to the skies over Traverse City, Michigan. Instead of the typical six jets, the Blues flew with only five jets as a new #6 pilot is still in the works.

Capt. Kuss’ memory was still shining bright as the team flew in Michigan. Upon arriving in Traverse City, the Blue Angel’s Maintenance Crew marked a spot on the ramp with silver tape, in the spot where the #6 jet would typically be parked.

Blue Angels Honor Jeff Kuss

United States Coast Guard Base Traverse City is also honoring Kuss by flying his number on their MH-65s.

Coast Guard Honors Fallen Blue Angel Capt Jeff Kuss