Behind the Blues: The Hoosier connection

News 10's Susan Dinkel went to Pensacola, Flordia to take you behind the scenes with the Blue Angels, and while she was there, she discovered the elite U.S. Navy squadron has some Hoosier connections.

Posted: Jul. 24, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: Jul. 24, 2018 9:57 PM

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WTHI) - Bonded by training, trust, and teamwork.

We all have a family...but the one we are focusing in on for this story is military based.

News 10's Susan Dinkel went to Pensacola, Flordia to take you behind the scenes with the Blue Angels, and while she was there, she discovered the elite U.S. Navy squadron has some Hoosier connections.

When you walk into their headquarters you will find offices, workstations, and training rooms.

It is there where the magic of the Blue Angels begins.

LINK | BEHIND THE BLUES: THE FACES BEHIND THE JETS
LINK | BEHIND THE BLUES: GETTING THE JETS IN THE AIR

Blue Angel family photos line the walls of the base, with photos of the team from present day going all the way back to 1946 when the team was founded.

They are 130 service men and women strong now, with two of them calling Indiana home.

Petty Officer Timothy Schumaker is from South Bend.

He focuses on public affairs, but he also knows the ins an outs of the jets.

"They make us very versatile, so that when we go on the road...and you're the next man up, and we need to change a tire on a jet...we are that guy," PO Schumaker said.

The other Hoosier connection is Petty Officer Ailiyah Maydwell from Fort Wayne.

"You get a sense of pride...that's your bread and butter right there. You see something you have been working so hard on to amaze others...that experience means so much. More than words can explain," PO Maydwell told us.

More and more females are a part of this elite squadron and she is thrilled to be one of them paving the way.

"It's actually a step forward for us as women because a lot of people have a misconception there are a lot of things we can not do," PO Maydwell said. "We are breaking milestones day by day."

LINK | THE TERRE HAUTE AIR SHOW 

Even behind the scenes, both Maydwell and Schumaker play critical roles in getting the blue and gold jets off the ground.

"I would compare it to Disney World, where you go to Disney World and you don't see when they close...all of the people who go out and make it perfect again," PO Schumaker told us.

Even though this is their job, the excitement never fades.

"It's routine...but still you look at it and it never ceases to be awesome," Schumaker said.

"The feeling of the jets starting up is a rumble you don't forget...because it's just...that's our war cry right there. Hearing those jets start up, watching them take off and seeing the faces. Everybody happy, screaming, cheering...that's the greatest feeling ever felt," Maydwell told us.

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