Magazine article Sea Classics

Original Blue Angel Dies

Magazine article Sea Classics

Original Blue Angel Dies

Article excerpt

Retired Capt. Roy M. "Butch" Voris, the original flight leader of the famed US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, died at his home in Monterey, California, 10 August. He was 86.

Voris, a WWII flying ace in the Pacific theater, was hand-picked by Adm. Chester Nimitz in 1946 to organize a flight demonstration team to showcase Naval aviation. On 15 June of that year, Voris led the newly-named Blue Angels and their Grumman F6F Hellcats in the team's first public performance at Craig Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Voris' Navy career spanned 33-years, flying biplanes to jets, many of them in combat. His status as an ace was earned in the early years of WWII when he shot down eight Japanese fighter planes. Flying from the carriers USS Enterprise (CV-6) and USS Hornet (CV-8), he had taken part in the battles of Santa Cruz, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Central Pacific Islands, Philippine Sea, the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot and The Mission into Darkness, in which air wing pilots had taken off near dusk to pursue the Japanese fleet, knowing many probably wouldn't have enough gas to return.

Voris had survived numerous accidents and emergency situations in the air, including a mid-air collision during a Blue Angels demonstration at Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1952, in which one Blue Angel was killed and he miraculously brought his plane in, despite lack of control and a severed tail.

In 1952, Voris was brought back to reform the Blue Angels following their stint as a fighter squadron in the Korean War, when they were known as "Satan's Kittens. …

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