Shocked Community Remembers Blues Angels Pilot Killed in Crash

  • Jun 2, 2016 9:27pm GMT

Strangers, friends, family, and shipmates shared their thoughts and memories of U.S. Marine Captain Jeff Kuss who tragically died Thursday when his jet crashed during a practice show for this weekend's Great Tennessee Air Show.

Shocked Blue Angel fans gathered for a candlight vigil at Lee Victory Park in Murfreesboro to honor and remember Kuss with a moment of silence, song and prayer.

The Daily News Journal shared Lee Orman's thoughts, "It really feels like I lost a brother," said Orman, a former Army paratrooper. "It affected me more than I knew."

He was hardly alone but the accident hit those who knew Kuss best especially hard as they processed the sudden tragedy.

Justin Lewis on Facebook: I am so heartbroken over the loss of my Shipmate today but I am honored to have called Blue Angel #6 my brother and friend. I had the privilege of flying with Jeff Kuss many times in the Navy while he was a Student Marine Aviator. Even before he soloed his first jet, I could tell Jeff was an extremely talented pilot and a natural leader. In a word, I think his demeanor could be best described as humble. In fact, the only thing I can ever remember him being outwardly proud over was his relentless devotion to his soon to be wife, Christina. As personnel in the military are often cursed to do, we distance away from incredible friendships but the bond of the brotherhood never changes. I have been and will always be proud of you Jeff. RIP

Adm. John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, also commented in a Facebook post."My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Blue Angels after this tragic loss. I know that the Navy and Marine Corps Team is with me. We will investigate this accident fully and do all we can to prevent similar incidents in the future."

Kuss joined the elite demonstration team in 2014 and accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours.

He was a native of Durango, Colorado, and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines in 2006. He previously served in Afghanistan before joining the Blue Angels.

The Blue Angels will not fly this weekend, but air show officials say the show will proceed despite their absence.