NAS PENSACOLA (WALA) - It's the end of the 2012 season for the Blue Angels, and that means it's time for their annual Homecoming show aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola.
In keeping with tradition, the Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron is hosting its media day, our chance to get to know some of the Gulf Coast's favorite pilots.
On the surface, Navy Captain Greg McWherter is like any other Gulf Coast native. He enjoys anything relaxing, whether that means golf or the beach with his family.
Where he differs from most of us is his job.
"Boss" McWherter is the commanding officer and flight leader for the Blue Angels. We got to know him at media day, on the eve of their annual homecoming show.
"We're very proud to be from Pensacola, excited to call this our home," McWherter said. This is where our kids to go to school, where our families live, so to be able to bring the show back home that we've been demonstrating across the country, it's a real special feeling for us."
Education and recruitment are just two aspects to an Angels' job as they raise awareness of Navy and Marine Corps professionalism, while recruiting new blood to join in for the thrill of a lifetime.
"We use the jets to grab people's attention, but really where the rubber meets the road is doing stuff like this, visiting schools, talking with the media and walking along the crowd line and signing autographs, so when you look down from the plane and you see hundreds of thousands of people out there just to see the Marine Corps and Navy in action, it gives us a great thrill," McWherter said. "It doesn't matter whether it's here or over Pensacola Beach, it's just something special to see that many people from Pensacola coming out to see the show."
But this weekend is the last time these Angels will peform together. Boss says after his final show, he expects the team to reflect on what a special-and wild- ride it has been.
"I've had a fantastic four years here," McWherter said. "I'm very, very excited to watch the folks that are coming after me who I've helped train to take this team to new levels. That's one of the beautiful things about the Navy and Marine Corps is we always learn from past teams and make the future stronger than the past. So it's going to be an excited thing to watch from the outside looking in."
But before the curtain closes on this team, expect one fun and emotional grand finale.
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