NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Cmdr. Kevin Mannix relieved Cmdr. Steve Foley as the commanding officer/flight leader of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) Nov. 12 in a change of command ceremony at the National Museum of Naval Aviation here.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Adm. Timothy Keating, commander, U.S. Northern Command/North American Aerospace Defense Command. Before the ceremony, Keating commented about what an honor it was to be invited to speak at the change of command.
"To have never flown with the team, but to have known so many so well, it's a great privilege and honor for my wife and I to be here," he said.
On the team's 60th anniversary, Foley spoke of the example that has been demonstrated by the Blue Angels throughout the years.
"As active ambassadors of all that is best about our military, the Blue Angels have emerged over 60 years as the keeper of the flame of naval excellence and accomplishment," Foley said.
Foley also reminded the crowd of the hard work and dedication each team member displayed during his time in command.
"I want to be clear that any success that the 2005-2006 teams have had is a direct result of the herculean efforts of our Sailors and Marines and our tremendous chief petty officers and gunny sergeants' mess before you today, in addition to the savvy counsel and superb judgment exercised by our officers," Foley said.
Mannix spoke enthusiastically of what it means to him to be a Blue Angel.
"I have a huge smile on my face and I am sure a lot of you know why. I have just assumed command of the Blue Angels and can say I now have the greatest job in the United States Navy," Mannix said. "You can expect this smile to be plastered on my face for the next two years, and not just for team photos, but because I am extremely excited to be here."
Closing the ceremony, Mannix thanked Foley for leaving the command in superb shape and he also addressed the new 2007 Blue Angel team.
"Team Blue Angel 2007, we have a lot of work to do, so let's get to it," he exclaimed. "I am fired up and ready to go!"
As a result of his outstanding service as commanding officer and flight leader, Foley received a Legion of Merit award.
Foley led the nation's premier flight demonstration squadron through two extraordinarily successful seasons, safely completing more than 700 sorties and 135 flight demonstrations in 73 cities. Foley will be reporting as deputy commander to Strike Fighter Wing Pacific.
Mannix is a 1986 graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College with a Bachelor of Science in computer science/mathematics. He received his commission through the U.S. Naval Reserve/Merchant Marine Reserve Commissioning Program. He earned his wings of gold in August of 1988. Since then, he has accumulated more than 3,900 flight hours and 882 carrier arrested landings. He has been awarded two Meritorious Service Medals, two individual Air Medals, three Strike Flight Air Medals, six Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and various personal and unit awards.
The Blue Angels 2007 schedule will be announced in early December. The team will commence winter training from January to March 2007 at Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif.
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