For 74 years, the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels have been fulfilling the late Admiral Chester Nimitz’s vision to raise public interest in naval aviation and boost Navy morale. Nearly every time the Angels appear in the sky, they generate dozens of headlines as large crowds gather to watch the blue-and-yellow aerial artists defy gravity and electrify the crowd with maneuvers straight out of a Michael Bay movie.

The Blue Angels, of course, are more than just aerial artists. As members of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps., they’re also community helpers. In April 2013, the squadron reached out to the local community, performing more than 500 outreach events. They have also started representing the diversity of the armed forces when they appointed their first female Blue Angels pilot in 2015. Marine Capt. Katie Higgins to fly the Blue Angels’ Lockheed Martin C-130T Hercules transport aircraft. 

About the same time the Blue Angels were formed in the 1940s, the Air Force created its own super aerial artist team: the Thunderbirds. Now in its 59th show season, the team has represented the “everyday, hard-working Airmen” who voluntarily serve to defend our freedom for decades, mesmerizing crowds much like the Blue Angels. 

Now the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds are coming together as part of  “Operation American Strong,” a multi-city tour that hit New York City and Philadelphia, and will be flying over Plano and the DFW area Wednesday morning. 

It’s part of President Donald Trump’s mission to honor “American medical workers.” 

“What we’re doing is we’re paying tribute to our front line workers confronting COVID,” Trump told reporters at a late April press conference. “And it’s really a signal to all Americans to remain vigilant during the outbreak. 

“This is a tribute to them, to our warriors. Because they are equal warriors to those incredible pilots and all of the fighters that we have for the more traditional fights that we win and we win.” 

Plano Councilman Rick Grady provided Local Profile with a flight route, pointing out that they should be flying over Hwy 380 and Hwy 75 at about 11 a.m., head west toward Lewisville Lake and then passing over Hedgcoxe Road and Legacy Drive.

“Given their flight speed, I would suspect they will be over Plano between 11 and 11:30 a.m.,” Grady wrote in an email. “I just want to hear the Air Traffic Control instructions on this one.”

So do we. 

Christian McPhate

Christian has been working as a freelance journalist in North Texas for more than a decade. His stories have appeared in the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press, and Rolling Stone magazine. He covers a...