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VIDEO: On Senate Floor, Rubio Honors Fallen Blue Angel & Celebrates The Blues’ Return To The Skies

Jul 14, 2016 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio today honored fallen Blue Angel, Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, who died during a training exercise on June 2nd.
 
“I know that in our country today, there is ample reason for pessimism,” Rubio said. “We hear plenty from various voices about what is wrong with our country. But let’s take a moment to reflect on the life of Captain Jeff Kuss and the Blue Angels – because they are everything that is right about our country. The love they share for one another, the sacrifices they make in service to our nation, and the devotion they have to their calling represents the very best of the American spirit.
 
“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 Captain Kuss and the life he spent doing what he loved,” Rubio continued. “To the people of Pensacola, the cradle of Naval Aviation and the place the Blue Angels call home, the Blues are their team. Think about whatever major sports team you have in your hometown, and the love the community gives those professional or college athletes who compete on national television; it pales in comparison to the bond that the people of Pensacola have to their home team, the Blue Angels.
 
“I’m so proud that my home state is the home to the Blues. I’m proud that Pensacola continues to embrace the Blues and to make every member of the Blue Angels family a part of the Pensacola family. I’m proud that the Blues will return to the Pensacola Beach Air Show this weekend. And I’m proud that the United States military made up of extraordinary Americans like Captain Jeff Kuss,” Rubio concluded.
 
A full transcript of Rubio’s remarks are below. His speech can be watched here and a downloadable broadcast quality version is available here for TV stations.
 
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate Floor
Washington, D.C.
https://youtu.be/L9QJLE3O7BM
 
With all that has occurred in our country in the past few weeks, I wanted to take a moment to bring everyone’s attention to something that had a profound impact in my home state of Florida, and something that all Americans should take a moment to pause and reflect on.
 
This weekend, the Navy’s Flight Demonstration Squadron, more famously known as the Blue Angels, will take to the skies over Pensacola for the Pensacola Beach Air Show. It will be their first airshow appearance in Florida since that fateful day on the second of June when they lost Captain Jeff Kuss, a United States Marine Corps Aviator and the number six airplane in the Blue Angels lineup.
 
Captain Kuss, simply put, was an American hero. Like all Blue Angels pilots and the men and women who support the Blue Angels mission, Captain Kuss was the very best of what our military and our nation has to offer. He was a war hero, who served our country proudly over hostile skies in Afghanistan. He was a decorated aviator, who earned the Strike Flight Air Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during his time with the Corps.
 
I commend the Marine Corps for training such a skilled aviator, as well as Naval Air Station Pensacola, where he first started flying in 2007.
 
Captain Kuss was a hometown hero. A local boy from Durango, Colorado who graduated from Durango High School and attended Fort Lewis College. He fulfilled a lifelong dream by performing a flyover with his teammates over Super Bowl 50 and then watching his Denver Broncos win their third Super Bowl Championship.
 
And Captain Jeff Kuss was a hero in his own home. A loving son to his parents Janet and Michael, a devoted husband to his wife Christina, and loving father to his two young children, Calvin and Sloane.
 
The same attributes that Captain Kuss demonstrated throughout his life: service, sacrifice, loyalty, faith, devotion – they were all present in his final moments as well. He could have ejected, but instead he stayed with his plane and steered it away from a more populated area to spare any additional loss of life.
 
I know that in our country today, there is ample reason for pessimism. We hear plenty from various voices about what is wrong with our country. But let’s take a moment to reflect on the life of Captain Jeff Kuss and the Blue Angels – because they are everything that is right about our country. The love they share for one another, the sacrifices they make in service to our nation, and the devotion they have to their calling represents the very best of the American spirit.
 
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 Captain Kuss and the life he spent doing what he loved.
 
To the people of Pensacola, the cradle of Naval Aviation and the place the Blue Angels call home, the Blues are their team.
 
Think about whatever major sports team you have in your hometown, and the love the community gives those professional or college athletes who compete on national television; it pales in comparison to the bond that the people of Pensacola have to their home team, the Blue Angels.
 
Our state and the community in Pensacola took the loss of Captain Kuss very hard. To the people who saw him around town he was Jeff. A friend, a neighbor, and someone to be proud of. And true to the spirit of Pensacola, the community has rallied to provide comfort to Captain Kuss’ teammates and to his family.
 
I’m so proud that my home state is the home to the Blues.
 
I’m proud that Pensacola continues to embrace the Blues and to make every member of the Blue Angels family a part of the Pensacola family.
 
I’m proud that the Blues will return to the Pensacola Beach Air Show this weekend.
 
And I’m proud that the United States military made up of extraordinary Americans like Captain Jeff Kuss.
 
So I ask all Americans to keep Captain Kuss and his family in your prayers. Thank God for him, for our military men and women and the families who sacrifice alongside of them, and for the freedom that they risk their lives to preserve. And I ask that God bless Captain Kuss and his family, and that God bless the Blue Angels as they fly this weekend and in the weeks, months, and years to come.