Blue Angels Touch Down at Elementary School
August 18, 2009
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif.--Children at the La Mesa Elementary School in Monterey received a visit from members of the U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, who were in town to attend the California International Airshow in Salinas.
Maj. Brendan Burks, USMC, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Harper, USN, spoke to a crowd of about 150 students, parents and teachers in the school's multi-purpose room about the experiences of being a member of the Blue Angels team.
Burks, who is the pilot of the Blue Angel's C-130 airplane that is also known as Fat Albert, told the history of the Blue Angels and the selection process for joining while Harper explained more of the technical details about the aircrafts and described the responsibilities of the aircraft support team.
Together their presentation displayed the professionalism and teamwork that are Blue Angels trademarks.
Burks noted that it was a challenge to appear at the elementary school since they usually give their presentation to an older audience but also said that is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
"It's so nice to come in, seeing the smiles on the kids' faces, and know they are excited to meet us," said Burks. "What we do here today will benefit us 10 to 15 years down the road, if we can get someone excited about aviation now then it will insure that we have great people to fill in the ranks behind us."
The audience was shown a 15 minute video that allowed the children to see many of the moves that the Blue Angels would be performing in the upcoming days at the California International Airshow. This was followed by a question and answer session where the students demonstrated some of their creative thinking.
"The questions were great" said Burks. "We got everything ranging from the speed of sound to how to go potty while you're flying."
PTA Member Laura Osburn, who spearheaded the effort to have the Blue Angels appear at the school, remarked about the fabulous job that Burks and Harper did with the children.
"They did a wonderful job" commented Osburn. "They inspired the children by coming today and giving them a chance to see their icons. Now when they go watch them fly in Salinas they can see there are actual faces and bodies that go along with the planes."