Memorial To Honor Blue Angel Pilot Nears Completion, Public Dedication

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Blue Angels Memorial in Smyrna

The finishing touches are being put on a memorial to honor Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who was killed when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed during a practice flight demonstration in Smyrna, Tennessee in June 2016.

Kuss, who was in his second year on the team, was loved by many. He also was popular in the media, since his position as the team’s 2015 narrator also enabled him to give rides to media, VIPs, and local influencers at each show site the Blue Angels attended.

Following the crash, the town of Smyrna wanted to honor Kuss in a special way. In May of 2017, plans were announced to build a permanent memorial for the fallen Blue Angels pilot outside the airport and adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the town came together the night of the crash to honor Kuss. Plans for the memorial included pavers, which could be bought for a small donation, and a retired F/A-18 Hornet in Blue Angel colors.

Kuss Memorial Groundbreaking

On October 18th, 2017, groundbreaking for the memorial was held.

On Friday, the most prominent part of the memorial was installed. A retired Blue Angel jet, BuNo 163498, was lifted by crane from a flatbed trailer and into position on an elevated platform in the memorial. The aircraft is on permanent loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

Kuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TNKuss Memorial F-18 Hornet - Smyrna, TN

In a video posted by the Town of Smyrna, some F/A-18 hornets are seen flying over the Blue Angel jet. The flyover was performed by members of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101), based out of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA. They flew in from California on Thursday, and waited until the plane was placed to do the flyover, then departed on their way to NAS Oceana, VA.

The memorial dedication will be held on June 9 at 10:00 a.m. at Lee Victory Recreation Park in Smyrna and is open the public. For those who can’t attend, the ceremony will be streamed live. Stay tuned to our social media channels for more info.

Smyrna Breaks Ground On Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial For Fallen Blue Angel Pilot

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The construction of a memorial to honor a fallen Blue Angel has begun.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed on June 2nd, 2016 when his Blue Angels jet crashed during a Thursday afternoon practice demonstration in Tennessee. In his memory, the town of Smyrna plans to erect a permanent memorial.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held October 18th, was the first step in getting the memorial built.

As part of the memorial, a Blue Angels F/A-18C hornet will be on permanent display outside the airport adjacent to Lee Victory Recreation Park, where the community came together the night of the crash to remember Kuss.

If you want to donate, visit www.captjeffkussusmcmemorial.com. You can purchase a paver or donate money. As of late October, 78% of the money needed to build the memorial has been raised. All or part of your gift may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

Here’s video from the groundbreaking ceremony.

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

Candlelight Vigil To Honor Fallen Blue Angel Tonight In Pensacola

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Candlelight Vigil to Honor Blue Angel 6 Marine Capt Jeff Kuss

Thursday night, the citizens of Pensacola, FL and the surrounding area are invited to gather at Pensacola’s Veterans Memorial Park for a candlelight vigil to honor Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The vigil will begin at 7:30pm central daylight time.

Admiral Anderson from the Blue Angels association will start off the evening by welcoming everyone. Following the welcome, a prayer will be lead by Sr. Pastor Gordon Godfrey Jr from Marcus Pointe Baptist Church.
McGuire’s Pipe Band will be on site to provide musical honors through the event.

Mayor Hayward of Pensacola and Lt. Matt Suyderhoud, Blue Angel #2, are also expected to be in attendance.

Capt. Kuss will be honored with six minutes of silence as well, to recognize him as Blue Angel #6.

If you are unable to attend, the City of Pensacola will live stream the vigil on their Facebook page. You are also encouraged to light a candle at home, no matter where you are in the world, to show your support. We invite you to share a photo of your tribute on our Facebook page.