Blue Angels names first female pilot to famed flight demonstration squadron

Lt. Amanda Lee will fly with the Blue Angels in 2023 as a demonstration pilot

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, selected six new officers to join the team for the for the 2023 air show season. Lt. Amanda Lee, of Mounds View, Minn., is currently assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2013. (Chief Petty Officer Paul Archer, Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron)

MOUNDS VIEW, Minn. – For the first time in the history of the famed U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron Blue Angels, a woman has been named as a pilot for the team.

Lt. Amanda Lee, of Mounds View, Minnesota will be one of the demonstration pilots for the 2023 show season.

“For over 55 years, hundreds of women have served with the Blue Angels representing the very best of the Navy and Marine Corps,” according to a Facebook announcement from the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels were founded in 1946 and women started serving with the squadron some 20 years later.

“We had an overwhelming number of applicants from all over the globe this year,” said Capt. Brian Kesselring, commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels. “We look forward to training our fantastic new team members, passing on the torch, and watching the incredible things this team will accomplish in 2023.”

Texans will be able to see Lee and the rest of the Blue Angels fly at the Wings Over South Texas Air Show next year on May 6 and 7 in Corpus Christi.

Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Zimmerman of Baltimore, Maryland, and Marine Corps Capt. Samuel Petko of Osceola, Indiana have also been tapped as demonstration pilots for the 2023 Blue Angels squadron.

New team members will report to the squadron in September for a two-month turnover period, according to the announcement.

“The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the teamwork and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps through flight demonstrations and community outreach while inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country,” U.S. Navy officials said.


About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.