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Blue Angels soar again three weeks after crash

The show team performs its first show since April 21, when it lost a rookie teammate.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published May 13, 2007


SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. - After 21 years as a U.S. Navy pilot, tragedy comes as no surprise to Cmdr. Kevin Mannix.

That includes last month's fatal crash of a fellow Blue Angels pilot during a show in South Carolina.

But for Blue Angels pilots, whose demeanor is a key part of the job, the tragedy offers another opportunity to perform the mission they were first given six decades ago: promote the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines Corps to the world.

"Our ability to bounce back and do our mission is the same as every other squadron in the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps, " said Mannix, minutes after practicing Thursday at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro.

On Saturday at Seymour Johnson, the team performed its first show since the April 21 crash.

Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis, 32, died when his No. 6 jet went down during the final minutes of a performance at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in Beaufort, S.C. The Pittsfield, Mass., native was in his first year flying in formation with the team.

An investigation into the cause of the crash, the Blue Angels' first since 1999 and the 26th fatality in the team's 60-year history, could take several months, according to the Navy.

The Blue Angels' F/A-18A Hornets stayed on the ground for nine days after the crash.