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Navy’s Blue Angels name first female demonstration pilot

“We look forward to training new team members, passing on the torch, and watching the incredible things this team will accomplish in 2023.”
The Associated Press/Michael Conroy

Story at a glance


  • Lt. Amanda Lee of Mounds View, Minn., was selected to be a demonstration pilot for the Blue Angels aerobatic team for the upcoming 2023 season.

  • Hundreds of women from the Navy and Marine Corps have served with the Blue Angels for 55 years but never as a demonstration pilot.

  • The elite flying team serves as ambassadors of U.S. naval aviation and entertains audiences around the country with high-speed air show exhibits. 

The Navy’s famed Blue Angels demonstration squadron has selected a female fighter jet pilot for the first time in the team’s history 

The Navy on Monday announced Lt. Amanda Lee of Mounds View, Minn., was selected to be a demonstration pilot for the Blue Angels aerobatic team for the upcoming 2023 season. She is one of six new members chosen for the team that was founded more than seven decades ago. 

Hundreds of women from the Navy and Marine Corps have served with the Blue Angels for 55 years but never as a demonstration pilot, according to the Navy.  

Lee was selected to fly the team’s Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets along with Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Zimmerman, according to a news release. She’s been assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106, known as the Gladiators, stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va. While Lee has been selected, she will be required to successfully complete a rigorous five-month training program all new members must complete. 

“We had an overwhelming number of applicants from all over the globe this year,” Capt. Brian Kesselring, commanding officer and flight leader of the Blue Angels, said in a statement. 

“We look forward to training new team members, passing on the torch, and watching the incredible things this team will accomplish in 2023.”

The elite flying team serves as ambassadors of U.S. naval aviation and entertains audiences around the country with high-speed air show exhibits. The squadron performs for some 11 million spectators each year during show season, which runs from March through November.