Durango Set To Honor Blue Angels Pilot

Photo: Blue Angels On Action (AP/File)
The Blue Angels.

Durango is getting ready to pay its final respects to a hometown Blue Angels pilot killed in a crash in Tennessee last week.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, a 32-year-old Durango native who also attended Durango High School  and Fort Lewis College, died June 2 while practicing for an airshow.

There will be a motorcade along Durango’s  Main Avenue from 32nd Street to College Drive, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. From there, the family will continue to Greenmount Cemetery, where Kuss will be buried. The ceremony will include a flyover by the Checkerboards, Kuss' unit before joining the Blue Angels.

During an emotional candlelight vigil in Florida on Thursday, members of an elite flight demonstration squad also said goodbye to Kuss, who was the married father of two young children.

The Blue Angels canceled upcoming performances in New York and Ohio following the crash. The Pensacola News-Journal reports fellow Blue Angel pilot Navy Lt. Matt Suyderhoud promised the crowd Thursday the squad will fly the skies over Pensacola where it is based "when the time is right."

Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered flags be lowered to half-staff statewide on all public buildings from sunrise until sunset on Saturday,  in honor of Kuss.

The Blue Angels crash occurred the same day that an Air Force Thunderbird pilot’s jet crashed near Colorado Springs after performing in an air show commemorating graduation day at the Air Force Academy.

President Obama delivered the commencement address at that gathering. Later, he met and shook hands with the pilot, who ejected and was able to walk away from the crash.