The U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron performed over the weekend above the Florida Keys to celebrate 200 years of naval presence in Key West.
The Blue Angels headlined the Southernmost Air Spectacular, a free air show staged Saturday and Sunday at Naval Air Station Key West’s Boca Chica Field in the Lower Keys.
The legendary flight demonstration team is internationally recognized for its superb formation flying and maneuvers, sometimes used in aerial combat. The squadron, whose winter home was NAS Key West in the 1960s, performed both days in F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter aircraft.
Other air show highlights were demonstrations by the U.S. Navy Reserve Adversary Squadron VFC-111 “Sun Downers,” flying the supersonic Northrop F-5N Tiger II; and the F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team, operating the Air Force’s most advanced multirole fighter aircraft.
Themed “200 Years of the Navy in Key West,” the event commemorated Commodore David Porter’s 1823 arrival and construction of the first U.S. Navy buildings on the island. Today Naval Air Station Key West is the Navy’s premier air-to-air combat training station.
The 2023 show was also among Florida Keys activities marking the 200th anniversary of the Territorial Florida Legislature’s establishment of Monroe County, which encompasses the Keys island chain.