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Marco Rubio, Matt Gaetz praise return of Blue Angels to Pensacola Beach after accident

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The return of the Blue Angels over the skies of Pensacola Beach this weekend after the death of one of their members drew praise from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and state Rep. Matt Gaetz.

The Blue Angels are scheduled to perform Saturday in the Pensacola Air Show, following the death last month of Capt. Jeff Kuss in a practice event in Tennessee.

“Let’s take a moment to reflect on the life of Capt. Jeff Kuss and the Blue Angels – because they are everything that is right about our country,” Rubio said on the Senate floor Thursday.

“And the rumble of those engines over the skies of Pensacola this weekend will not just be a resumption of their duties as aviators and military professionals, it will be a tribute – a tribute to Capt. Kuss and the life he spent doing what he loved,” the Republican senator from Miami said. “To the people of Pensacola, the cradle of Naval Aviation and the place the Blue Angels call home, the Blues are their team.”

Gaetz, a Fort Walton Republican running for Congressional District 1, said he agreed with Rubio.

“The Blue Angels are a representation of the precision, training, dedication, and discipline of all of our military,” he said.

Gaetz said the Blue Angels have taken “some hard hits” over the last few years, including budget cutbacks during the sequestration process and the recent loss of Capt. Kuss.

“Despite these setbacks, they remain professional and committed to the duty before them,” Gaetz said. “They represent what is good and right with our country and it is my firm commitment to the Pensacola area and to the Blue Angels squadron that I will fight to ensure Pensacola remains their home and they remain in the skies over our nation where they belong.

“I will do all within my power to guarantee that the dysfunctions of Washington do not ground them ever again.”

Lloyd Dunkelberger is a Tallahassee-based political reporter and columnist; he most recently served as Tallahassee bureau chief for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

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