PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) -- The U.S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron --- best known as the Blue Angels -- on Monday announced officers selected for the 2020 air show season.
The Pensacola-based squadron selected two F/A-18 demonstration pilots, two C-130 pilots, a maintenance officer, and public affairs officer to replace outgoing team members.
Many highly qualified Navy and Marine Corps officers submit applications to join the Blue Angels each year.
“We had a phenomenal group of applicants this year,” said Capt. Eric Doyle, commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels. “The 2020 Blue Angels are lucky to have these talented individuals join them to represent the Navy and Marine Corps in the team’s 74th show season.”
The Blue Angels select finalists to interview at the team’s home base of Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Florida, during the week of the Pensacola Beach Air Show each year. The team makes selections at the conclusion of that week.
The selected 2020 officers include: F/A-18 Demonstration Pilots:
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.
C-130 Pilots: 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.
Maintenance Officer: Navy Lt. Brian Abe, of Richardson, Texas, is a maintenance officer currently assigned to the “Rampagers” of Strike Fighter Squadron 83.
Public Affairs Officer: 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.
Previously selected to join the 2020 team are:
Commanding Officer and Flight Leader: Navy Cmdr. Brian Kesselring, of Fargo, North Dakota, was most recently the commanding officer of the “Sunliners” of Strike Fighter Squadron 81.
Executive Officer: Navy Cmdr. Todd Royles, of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, is currently the executive officer of Training Squadron 86’s Squadron Augment Unit.
Expected to return for the 2020 season are:
F/A-18 Demonstration Pilots:
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Andre Webb, of Lawton, Oklahoma.
Navy Lt. James Cox, of Chesapeake, Virginia.
Navy Lt. James Haley, of Canadian, Texas.
Navy Lt. Cary Rickoff, of Atlanta, Georgia.
C-130 Demonstration Pilot: Marine Capt. Beau Mabery, of Lompoc, California.
Events Coordinator: Navy Lt. Cmdr. Adam Kerrick, of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.
Flight Surgeon: Navy Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Hicks, of Federal Way, Washington.
Supply Officer: Navy Lt. j.g. Kristin Toland, of Sedalia, Missouri.
The new team members will officially begin their training for the 2020 show season following the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Nov. 9.
The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach.