The Navy’s Blue Angels performed their first air show of the season on Saturday at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif., according to a Navy release.
The elite flight demonstration team usually flies 35 to 40 shows a year, but only flew twice last year due to sequestration.
However, the Blue Angels didn’t just sit still, the release said. Instead, they refocused their energy on community outreach, contributing more than 5,000 hours of community service at more than 500 events.
While air show attendants will generally only see the six acrobatic pilots who fly within inches of each other’s wingtips, it takes more than 130 sailors and Marines to make up the team, performing jobs ranging from aircraft maintenance to photography.
There's also a recruiting element to the high-flying shows.
Cmdr. Tom Frosch, the squadron’s flight leader, said he hopes his team can inspire young men and women to pursue a career in naval aviation or the military.
“Our passion for naval service and naval aviation is the message we wish to convey to young men and women across our great nation and across the globe,” Frosch said.
In their 68th year of performing, the Blue Angels are expected to show off their skills for nearly 15 million spectators in 2014.
The 2014 and 2015 shows schedules are available on the Blue Angels website.