NAS PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, announced the commanding officer for the 2020 and 2021 seasons at a press conference at the National Museum of Aviation onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola Tuesday.
A selection panel comprised of nine admirals and former commanding officers selected Cmdr. Brian Kesselring to succeed Capt. Eric Doyle.
Applicants are required to have a minimum of 3,000 flight hours and be in current command or have had past command of a tactical jet squadron.
Kesselring, a native of Fargo, North Dakota, joins the Blue Angels after serving as the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 81. His previous assignments include four squadron tours, where he flew the F/A-18 Hornet and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve.
Kesselring holds bachelor’s degrees in physics, mathematics and business administration from Concordia College and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the U.S. Naval War College. Kesselring has more than 3,790 flight hours and 812 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Air Medal, Strike/ Flight Air Medals, Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medals, as well as various campaign and unit awards.
“It’s absolutely humbling and I’m honored to be here to represent the Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Kesselring. “Throughout my career as an F/A-18 pilot, I’ve always looked to the Blues as a source of inspiration.”
Kesselring will serve as Commanding Officer and Flight Leader for the 2020 and 2021 Blue Angels air show seasons. He will report for initial training in Pensacola, Florida in September and officially take command of the squadron at the end of the air show season in November. The change-of-command ceremony is slated for November 10, 2019 at the National Naval Aviation Museum.
As the Blue Angels’ commanding officer, Kesselring will lead a squadron of 141 personnel and serve as the demonstration flight leader, flying the #1 jet. The Blue Angels perform for 11 million people annually across the United States, and are scheduled to perform 56 shows in 29 locations for the 2020 season.
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. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 496 million fans.
For more information about the Blue Angels, including the 2019 and 2020 air show schedules, visit www.blueangels.navy.mil.
For more information about the U.S. Navy, visit www.navy.mil and the U.S. Marine Corps at www.usmc.mil.