The United States Naval Flight Demonstration Team, the Blue Angels, shows off naval aviation at its best. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Blue Angels gracing skies over Beaufort


By Mike McCombs

If you thought when MCAS Beaufort announced in February that the 2021 Air Show scheduled for Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 was cancelled that it meant you wouldn’t see the Blue Angels over Beaufort this year, think again. 

Social media was abuzz Thursday afternoon as the Blue Angels flew low and fast around town. Civilians were surprised, but those who work aboard MCAS Beaufort and their families were aware the Navy’s flight demonstration team would be in town to practice and perform their routines.

And it wasn’t a secret, really. 

MCAS Beaufort announced earlier this week that the Blue Angels would be flying but made clear the demonstration, set to begin about 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, was not open to the public.

“The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will conduct flight training at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to support flight currency and proficiency requirements. These training flights on MCAS Beaufort will not be open for public viewing. We appreciate the understanding of our surrounding community as we look forward to the 2023 MCAS Beaufort Air Show,” MCAS Beaufort said on Facebook.

“The U.S. Navy Blue Angels typically fly at more than 30 air show sites each year. With many 2020 and 2021 air show cancellations, MCAS Beaufort offers the U.S. Navy Blue Angels an opportunity to practice for future air shows, utilizing multiple environments under varying conditions.

“The safety of our community and service members remains the top priority. We request the public continue to abide by CDC social distancing guidelines, and not congregate to view the training. For questions, please call the Communication Strategy and Operations Office at 843-228-7225.”

On Thursday afternoon, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office sent out a text asking citizens not to congregate on and near Highway 21 near MCAS Beaufort to watch the demonstration.

“For the safety of the public and motorists, those who wish to get a glimpse of the flight training from outside the military gates are advised not to park their vehicles along Trask Parkway (Highway 21) near the Marine Corps Air Station,” the Sherriff’s Office wrote.

The air show was canceled in order to protect the health of service members, their families and the members of the community, according to a news release at the time.

“The MCAS Beaufort Air show is a cherished event that allows the Air Station the opportunity to say thank you to our neighbors who support the men and women serving this nation. It is a difficult decision for me to cancel such a monumental event, but given the current COVID-19 environment it must be done,” MCAS Beaufort Commanding Officer Col. Karl Arbogast said in the February release.

The air show, which features military aircraft on display as well as aviation demonstrations by the Navy’s Blue Angels and other pilots, military and civilian, is free and usually attracts 100,000 spectators or more.

Mike McCombs is the editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

Above: Photo of the Blue Angels from a past Air Show at MCAS Beaufort.

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