PENSACOLA, Fla. (WTHI) - The U.S. Navy Blue Angels represent sailors and marines.
They define military excellence.
When we talk about the blues, the first thing you probably think about is the flashy blue and yellow fighter jets.
There's a whole lot more that goes into getting those jets off the ground.
If the pilot's main role is to strictly focus on flight...who is working to get them in the air?
Before the pilots get in the jets, the final checks are all on the shoulders of the crew chiefs.
We talked with Petty Officer Brandon Bates.
He is the crew chief to jet number five.
"There's a lot of behind the scenes that a lot of people don't see," Petty Officer Bates told us. "Lots of long hours to make sure these jets are functioning the way they should."
The pilots and crew chiefs have a trust like no other.
"They are trusting us to turn these aircraft...making sure they are functioning properly. All they do is they walk up, up into the jet, and take off. It's up to the crew chiefs to make sure these jets are working flawlessly for them to perform at these airshows," Bates said.
That responsibility doesn't just fall on the crew chiefs...it's on the team as a whole.
"The blues are all about teamwork...everybody helps each other. Not this is your job...everybody comes together to get the job done...to make the air show happen," Bates told us.
Everyone in the squadron learns all of the jobs.
This is part of their training.
"It makes it to where it can flow faster. It's not like if we're shorthanded, how are we going to get this job done? Everyone jumps on it to get the job done, and get the jets in the air," Bates said.
The Blue Angels are unique in the fact that all 130-team members not only wanted to be part of this squadron...they were chosen.
Their travel itinerary is hectic...going from show to show around the country.
The team rotates who stays at home and who goes.
No matter who deploys to an air show site, it's all about showcasing the pride and professionalism of their squadron.
When Crew Chief Brandon Bates looks up to the sky and sees his jet soaring..."I know I did a good job. I made sure the jet is functioning properly and 'five' is going to go out there and thrill faces and do what he does."
The Terre Haute Air Show is August 18th and 19th at the Terre Haute Regional Airport.
To buy tickets, click here.