Blue Angel No. 1, "Butch" Voris, Dies

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Retired Navy Capt. Roy "Butch" Voris, the founder and original flight leader of the Blue Angels precision flying team, died last Tuesday at his home in Monterey, Calif. He was 86. Voris was a flying ace in World War II and shot down eight Japanese fighters. After the war, he was asked to organize a flight team to showcase naval aviation, and on June 15, 1946, he led the Blue Angels and their Grumman F-6F Hellcats in their first public performance, at Jacksonville, Fla. Voris survived a midair collision during a Blue Angels show at Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1952, in which one pilot was killed. Voris brought his plane in despite lack of control and a severed tail. He retired from the Navy in 1963 and worked as an executive at Grumman Aircraft Corporation and as a spokesman for NASA during the 1970 moon shots. Voris was a member of the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in Pensacola, Fla., and the International Air Show Hall of Fame. He was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, 11 Air Medals, three Presidential Unit Citations and a Purple Heart. A biography, "First Blue," by Robert K. Wilcox, was published last year.