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The Blue Angels returned to Pensacola after the completion of a nearly three-month training deployment to California, and were greeted by city officials and fans at the National Naval Aviation Museum this week.

In an official proclamation, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward declared March 21, 2016, Blue Angels Homecoming Day, as the team celebrated the start of its 70th anniversary.

U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, Delta pilots fly in formation over downtown Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward declared March 21, 2016, Blue Angels Homecoming Day, as the team celebrated the start of its 70th anniversary year. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrea Perez/Released

U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, Delta pilots fly in formation over downtown Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward declared March 21, 2016, Blue Angels Homecoming Day, as the team celebrated the start of its 70th anniversary year. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andrea Perez/Special to The Pulse)

Retired Navy Rear Adm. David Anderson, a Blue Angel from 1985-1987, welcomed the team home and spoke about how grateful he was to have Pensacola as a hometown when he was with the team.

“Pensacola, I give you the 2016 Blue Angels to take care of for us,” said Anderson. “2016 team, this is your hometown.”

Due to the large military presence and aviation training command on Naval Air Station Pensacola, the city is proud to call itself the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

Blue Angels Flight Leader and Commanding Officer Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi spoke on behalf of the team when he said how happy everyone was to be back in Pensacola.

“With the heartfelt thanks of the team, it’s wonderful to be home,” said Bernacchi. “We’re so proud to call Pensacola home and we’re so proud that you guys call us your team.”

The mission of the Blue Angels is to showcase the pride and professionalism of the United States Navy and Marine Corps by inspiring a culture of excellence and service to country through flight demonstrations and community outreach. Since 1946, the Blue Angels have performed for more than 484 million fans.

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