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A Look Inside the Blue Angels’ Trip to Vidalia

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During their trip to Vidalia for the Vidalia Onion Festival, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilots and crew practiced their routines, gave several individuals the thrill of a lifetime by letting them fly in the Blue Angel 7 FA-18 Super Hornet and C-130 Fat Albert, and even competed in the Vidalia Onion Run.

Fat Albert M1 Pilot USMC Captain William Austin Huckeba and Blue Angel 2 Crew Chief Tanner Bayles shared their experiences with coming to Vidalia during a media event on Thursday at the Airport. “Coming in here to Vidalia, we are obviously looking forward to the Vidalia Onion Festival as well as the air show,” Huckeba remarked. “We are very excited to be able to show what we do weekin and week-out. [I’m] really excited to meet some of the people here in Georgia, and just to have a good time.”

Bayles said that his main objectives when coming into town to do an air show is to “make sure the jets go up and that they come back down to showcase the finest that the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Department of Defense Civilians have to offer.” He added, “We are really looking forward to putting on a good show and being a part of the Onion Festival. We are really excited to be here.”

Both Huckeba and Bayles stated that it was their first trip to the Sweet Onion City, though neither man had roots far from the area. Huckeba was born in Pennsecola, Florida, but grew up in Hoover, Alabama, and said that the South definitely felt like home. Meanwhile, Bayles, although never having traveled to Vidalia, was very familiar with information about the state and the Vidalia Sweet Onion from his time living in Warner Robins, Georgia.

Huckeba flew Fat Albert for the Air Show on Saturday, and said that the crew planned a 10-minute performance of the C-130 to accompany the 45-minute performance of the FA-18 Super Hornets.

“I think we’re going to see some pretty phenomenal stuff in the air with both Fat Albert and Blue Angels 1-6 during the weekend,” Bayles emphasized. “It’s always a pleasure to do what we do, and we are very grateful to the Vidalia Onion Festival for having us.”

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