The US Navy Blue Angels have announced some new faces that will be joining the team! The two F/A-18 Hornet demonstration pilots, two C-130 Hercules pilots, maintenance officer, and public affairs officer will assume their roles before the 2020 airshow season.
Marine Corps Maj. Frank Zastoupil, of Kingwood, Texas, is an F-35 Lightning II pilot currently assigned to the “Warlords” of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2009.
Navy Lt. Julius Bratton, of Woodlawn, Tennessee, is an F/A-18 Hornet pilot currently assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron 106. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2011.
Marine Corps Capt. William Huckeba, of Hoover, Alabama, is a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to Officer Candidate School Quantico. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2012.
Marine Corps Capt. Rick Rose, of Napa, California, is a C-130 Hercules pilot currently assigned to the “Sumos” of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152. He graduated from California State University Sacramento in 2011.
Navy Lt. Brian Abe, of Richardson, Texas, is a maintenance officer currently assigned to the “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 83.
Navy Lt. j.g. Chelsea Dietlin, of Detroit, Michigan, is a public affairs officer currently assigned to Navy Public Affairs Support Element – East. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2012.
These new officers will join the squadron’s new Executive Officer (XO), Cmdr. Todd Royles. He has served as a Weapon Systems Officer (WSO) on F/A-18F Super Hornets and also served as Blue Angel #8, the events coordinator for the Blue Angels, in 2011 and 2012.
The team will also have a new Boss for the 2020 season; Commander Brian “G” Kesselring was previously introduced as the next Flight Leader and Commanding Officer. He is expected to oversee the much anticipated transition to F/A-18E/F Super Hornets before the 2021 season.
Four current demonstration pilots; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Andre Webb, of Lawton, Oklahoma, Navy Lt. James Cox, of Chesapeake, Virginia, Navy Lt. James Haley, of Canadian, Texas, and Navy Lt. Cary Rickoff, of Atlanta, Georgia, will return to the team next year.
Check out our airshow calendar to see preliminary dates for Blue Angel performances in 2020!