Blue Angel 6 Killed In Crash During Smyrna, TN Practice

posted in: Jet Teams | 67
Captain Jeff Kuss - Blue Angel 6
Captain Jeff Kuss climbs skyward in Blue Angel 6 just weeks ago.
Taken at the 2016 Spirit of St Louis Airshow and STEM Expo, presented by Boeing

We are sad to report that Captain Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel 6, has been killed in a crash today at the Great Tennessee Airshow in Smyrna, TN. He was performing as part of a practice routine for this weekend’s airshow. Eyewitness accounts say the aircraft impacted the ground at a nearby golf course while attempting a Split-S maneuver after takeoff, as is normal for #6. A large fireball and smoke cloud were seen, and rescue personnel responded. The other Blue Angels landed safely.

Captain Jeff Kuss - Blue Angel 6

According to his bio on the Blue Angels website, Kuss was a native of Durango, CO and was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps in 2006. He joined the Blue Angels in 2014 and served as the team’s narrator during the 2015 season before transitioning to Opposing Solo for the 2016 season.

Please note that this incident is unrelated to the USAF Thunderbirds incident in Colorado today.

Our thoughts are with Capt. Kuss’ family, friends, and shipmates during this horrible time.

UPDATE: One of our photographers gathered this footage of various tributes to Captain Kuss in the days following the crash.

67 Responses

  1. BD

    So sad to hear about this. My condolences to all of the Blue Angels family past and present, the officers and enlisted personnel in our Navy and Marine Corps, his friends, family and loved ones in this saddest of times. Rest easy, Captain Kuss, and God Speed.

  2. Luke Carrico

    My deepest sympathies and support to the Blue Angels and their families during this difficult time.

  3. Jorge Almarza

    A new Angel is flying high. Will be in our prayers. Our deepest thoughts to family and friends.

  4. Mary Ann Corkett

    God Bless Captain Kuss, Blue Angel 6! My thoughts and prayers are with his Family, Friends and Blue Angels Team! Praying for all! RIP

  5. Ann Kelley

    Our deepest thoughts and prayers go out for Captain Jeff Kuss. Our love and condolences go out to his family and loved ones after this terrible tragedy. God Bless him. He will always be remembered as a hero!

  6. Chuck Hemphikl

    Sure hope his next of kin was notified before the media plaster his name all over the networks . Also what happen to the 24 wait before listing names of those killed or injured?

      • RyanS

        The Navy is standing by their 24 hour protocol, but the family released the name to the media this evening.

  7. Dave Brewer

    We are praying for the family and all others that are touched.

  8. Tammy Lewis

    Prayers to his family and his Blue Angels family. God bless you all. RIP Captain Kuss.

  9. jacqueline rex

    So sorry for your loss of a talented Blue Angels pilot. Prayers to Captain Jeff Kuss family.

  10. Curtis B

    God bless his family, I know he is in his heavenly father’s arms.

  11. Jim

    So sorry for loss of this fine Marine, and. Thanks for his service. RIP, and prayers and condolences for the family, as well as his military family.

  12. Msgt. Wooden Ret.

    My prayers go out to his family, Semper Fi sir rest in peace.

  13. Charlie

    Remember this hero tonight when you say your prayers. Residents of a nearby apartment building are likely alive because this brave man chose to ride it in rather than punch out and have a pilotless bird go wherever. Semper Fi

  14. John Witt

    What a tragic loss! Our heartfelt condolences to the Blue Angel family, Captain Jeff Kuss family and friends! Blue Skies Sir! RIP!

  15. Bob lergner

    God bless our military service members and their families.

  16. pennyjo Dias

    Fair winds Captain. Blessings to you and the family missing you.

  17. Tommy

    High Flight

    John Gillespie Magee, Jr
    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air…
    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    • Pam

      Beautiful, thank you. I remember this playing as a young girl when TV went off-air. Fitting tribute.

    • William Wright USN (Ret Seior Chief)

      Worthy epitaph for a fallen Sky Warrior. May fair winds & a clear blue sky assist his final flight. RIP brother.

  18. Brenda Susan Christensen

    RIP, and Our nation, and my Family humbly Thanks you for your courageous act. You saved lives while giving your own! God bless you and please Father in Heaven comfort and wrap your loving arms around this pilots precious family, friends, and fellow Blue Angels as they grieve and walk this path of sorrow!

  19. Jacalyn Hunter Fell

    God be with your family during this rough time. Semper Fi Marine, from a VMTB-131 WWII Marine daughter.

  20. Patrick C

    From a supporter over here in Australia may peace be upon Capt Kuss and his family at this time

  21. HM2 (FMF) Bryan Draper

    I am the eagle, I live in high country,
    In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky,
    I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers,
    But time is still turning, they soon will be dry,
    And all those who see me, and all who believe in me,
    Share in the freedom I feel when I fly!

    Come dance with the west wind,
    And touch all the mountain tops,
    Sail o’er the canyons, and up to the stars,
    And reach for the heavens, and hope for the future,
    And all that we can be, not what we are.”

    Great easy Warrior. Semper Fi to you my Brother. We have The Watch. Fair Winds and Following Seas….

  22. Col M T Goodman USMC retired

    “If the Army and the Navy, ever look on heavens scenes, they will find the streets are guarded well, by United States Marines”

    God speed

  23. Scott

    Prayers and thoughts with family and friends. Editors… Please get his title correct, when honoring a fallen service members. A Captain in the Navy is an O6, he was an O3 Lieutenant. Thank you.

  24. grateful/saddened citizen

    It is a sad day here in Smyrna. Thoughts and prayer go out to the family and his extended family of the military in this very difficult time. To know the sacrifice that these men and women take in order to save the lives of others is a heroic feat. The sacrifice that Captain Kuss has taken of his own life over the lives of the civilians on the ground is not forgotten and a very heroic act that will not be forgotten.

  25. Scott

    Just learned he was a Marine, please disregard my last. My apologies.

  26. Gigi

    So sad, sending prayers to his family and friends. The Blue Angels are among the best pilots in the world, I remember being a kid sitting on the beach in Pensacola watching them practice… heart goes out to his young family.

  27. Stanley Rzad

    RIP Captain. We enjoyed meeting you and seeing the Blue Angels perform in Key West in April 2016.

  28. Antonio la Vega Ortiz.

    DESCANSA EN LA PAZ DEL SEÑOR, COMPAÑERO. Un piloto de reactores, como tu, que desea tengas un puesto en la formación de Angeles del Señor.

  29. The Taylors

    So very sorry to hear this. What a special man he was to be a Blue Angel. Prayers for his family and the entire Blue Angel family.

  30. Reid Grossman

    Bless you Captain for your service to our country. Prayers for comfort for your family and fellow warriors.

  31. Northwest Floridian

    What a tragedy. Sorry for this accident, it seems the good die young. Now he will be a real spiritual angel, God needed another one .

  32. Dan Downs

    RIP sir, thank you for your service. God bless your family and colleagues. You will be sorely missed..

  33. The Hidlebaugh Family

    Thoughts and prayers for the Kuss Family and the Blue Angels Family.
    R.I.P. Captain Kuss, Blue Angel 6

  34. Ron

    So Sad. Prayers for the family and the Blue Angels team. My daughter was going to see them this weekend.

  35. the schenk family

    A Angel has fallen,a Angel has his wings.R.i.p sir

  36. Jim Booterbaugh

    Love watching the Blue Angels perform. I had the opportunity to do some photos for them at Willow Grove NAS. Pa in 1972 RIP Captain Kuss!

  37. David Mix

    Captain Kuss, thank you for your service and may you rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers for your family and fellow Blue Angels

  38. L J

    God Bless you, Jeff. May God surround your family and friends at this very sad time, with his love and comfort. Thank you for your service. RIP. Fly with Angels.

  39. The Montgomerys

    May God comfort you all. We greatly appreciate Captain Kuss’s service and sacrifice he and all his family have made for our country.

  40. Diane Nurroughs

    So sorry. Our thoughts & prayers for his family & the other pilots. You all are hero’s & we thank all of you for your service. We would also like to thank his family for their sacrifice as he served our country.

  41. QB Aviator

    If the account is true, sounds eerily similar to the 2003 Thunderbird incident; verticle departure followed by roll and split S.

  42. Gordon

    Jeff was nice enough to pose with me following his performance at an air show in Beaufort, SC in 2015. Saw his picture on FB and just knew he was the same pilot. My heart sank when I found our picture together in my gallery. Godspeed Jeff and thank you for your service to our country.

  43. The Mahaffey's

    May the Lord of all comfort give his family peace at this time of great loss. Thanks to you and all the Blue Angels for all the service to our country and the inspiration for so many thru the years.

  44. Nathaniel Thompson

    To the family and friends of captain Kids, may the LORD strengthen you during this difficult and painful time. May his wings forever blue. Peace.

  45. Nathaniel Thompson

    My “smart phone’ misspelled the captain’s name, sorry.

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