The US Navy Blue Angels have announced that Commander Brian “G” Kesselring will be the next Flight Leader and Commanding Officer of the famous demonstration team. He will take over from current “Boss” Captain Eric “Popeye” Doyle at the conclusion of the 2019 airshow season. The change of command ceremony is traditionally held the day after the team’s homecoming airshow at NAS Pensacola. This year, the final performance is scheduled for November 9th, with the ceremony taking place November 10th.
From the team’s announcement:
Kesselring, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, joins the Blue Angels after serving as the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 81. His previous assignments include four squadron tours, where he flew the F/A-18 Hornet and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.
Kesselring holds bachelor’s degrees in physics, mathematics and business administration from Concordia College and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College. Kesselring has more than 3,790 flight hours and 812 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Air Medal, Strike/ Flight Air Medals, Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medals, as well as various campaign and unit awards.
“It’s absolutely humbling and I’m honored to be here to represent the Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Kesselring. “Throughout my career as an F/A-18 pilot, I’ve always looked to the Blues as a source of inspiration.”
His two years as Boss will include the team’s highly anticipated transition from F/A-18 Hornets to F/A-18E/F Super Hornets. The transition is in progress, and the team will have an extra long winter training period after the 2020 show season to adjust to the new jets before the first performance in 2021.