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Military Airshow Teams To Return For 2014

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The Navy's Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds will return to a full airshow schedule for the 2014 season, military officials announced this week. "Community outreach is key to connecting Americans to the military," said Cmdr. Thomas Frosch, flight leader for the Blue Angels. "Our performances provide a unique opportunity to inspire millions to connect with and support our service members." The teams have been grounded since this spring, when federal spending cuts took effect, and many aviation events around the country were canceled when the teams and other military attractions were unable to appear. The Blue Angels' 2014 schedule (PDF) includes Sun 'n Fun, in Lakeland, Fla., in April. The Thunderbirds team, which canceled a visit to EAA AirVenture this year, has not yet released a 2014 schedule.

The Blue Angels will perform at 65 shows at 34 locations across the U.S. in 2014. The Navy's skydiving team, the Leap Frogs, also will return to a full schedule next year. Military flyovers, which in the past have numbered as many as 1,000 per year, will be reduced, said Wendy Varhegyi, of Air Force Public Affairs. "We're trying to be as fiscally responsible as we can be, which is what the American people want," Varhegyi told ABC News. "Our focus will remain with airshows primarily." Overall, the military will cut its number of public outreach events by nearly half, for a savings of $1 billion over the next decade.

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