U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, held the squadron’s change of command ceremony at the National Naval Aviation Museum on Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Nov. 12.
Cmdr. Eric Doyle relieved Capt. Ryan Bernacchi as Blue Angels commanding officer/flight leader and spoke of his optimism for the future and pride in taking command of the prestigious squadron.
“It is an absolute honor to have the opportunity to lead the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron,” said Doyle. “I am humbled to join such a talented group of dedicated professionals as we head into the team’s 72nd air show season.”
Doyle joined the Blue Angels in September. Prior to his selection as the Blue Angels’ commanding officer, he was the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 113, the “Stingers,” at NAS Lemoore, California. Doyle’s previous assignments include: Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115), the “Eagles,” NAS Lemoore; U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), NAS Fallon, Nevada; Strike Fighter Squadron 37 (VFA-37), the “Ragin’ Bulls,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15, the “Valions,” at NAS Oceana, Virginia; 422nd Test & Evaluation Squadron, the “Green Bats,” at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bernacchi joined the Blue Angels in September 2015. He led the team through two different, three-month long training work-ups, where pilots completed 240 practice flights between 2016-2017. He also led the team in performing more than 110 air shows and flyovers in more than 60 locations throughout the U.S. Bernacchi is awaiting orders to his next duty station.
“I am immensely honored to have served as the commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels, and I will be forever thankful for the experiences I shared with the team and with the people I have been fortunate to meet, all around our county in the past two years,” said Bernacchi. “I am extremely proud of the men and women – Sailors and Marines, of the Blue Angels, and the dedication, skill, and teamwork with which they represent the Navy and Marine Corps.”
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. In 2016, the Blue Angels celebrated their 70th anniversary. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 496 million fans.