Presently, none of the U.S. Navy “Blue Angels” squadron are Georgians, but one, U.S. Marine Corps Captain Corrie Mays, was a Georgia resident for a few warmly regarded years.
Mays, who will be in Peachtree City this weekend participating in The Great Georgia Air Show, is a University of Georgia graduate, and she says she looks forward to being back in the state she grew to love. Originally from the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, Mays says she applied to several colleges and visited them before choosing.
When she visited UGA, she says she knew she found the right fit for her. “I went there and immediately fell in love,” she says. Mays says she generally stayed in the Athens area while in college, but she did venture to Atlanta “every now and then.”
While at UGA, Mays earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Economics and Management in 2003. Three years later, she was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. She completed The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia in 2007.
Prior to joining the “Blue Angels” Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, Mays was a weapons system officer, a “back-seater,” in the F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. She has served on two deployments. When this tour is over next fall, Mays is expecting to rejoin her squadron at Miramar.
“Miramar is the place to be when you’re flying Hornets,” Mays says, adding that Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina is another impressive base full of F/A-18s.
While serving on this two-year Blue Angels tour, Mays is the events coordinator for the squadron, where she says she is usually working on tour details a year or more in advance.
“Everything from fuel trucks to hotels, rental cars and every little detail comes through my office at one point or another,” she says.
Mays, now in the middle of that two-year tour, actually visited Peachtree City last year just after joining the Blue Angels squadron. She and fellow Marine Captain Jeff Kuss were the advance team scouting out Atlanta Regional Airport for this weekend’s The Great Georgia Air Show, which will be highlighted by Blue Angels performances Saturday and Sunday.
The Blue Angels squadron is the highest-profile act ever to be featured at The Great Georgia Air Show since its founding in 1998. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were the headlining act in 2000, which helped attract record crowds and raise record amounts of money for the local non-profit organizations benefitting from the air show. This weekend’s air show is expected to top them all.
Mays says she is confident her team will provide an unforgettable experience for attendees. Known for their precision, high-speed jet formations, Blue Angels aircraft fly as close as 18 inches apart during air shows. “If there was no canopy there, you could literally reach out and touch the other jets,” Mays says. “It’s incredibly impressive.”
Mays says she has flown in air show routine practices, and she describes it as “an amazing adrenaline rush.”
Locals may see the Blue Angels gets practicing in the area starting today, which is when the full team is expected to be in town. An advance team, including Mays, was scheduled to arrive at Atlanta Regional Airport Wednesday.