WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Defense to deploy an elite U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron known as the Blue Angels to the Persian Gulf where it will assist in the American-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Monday.
“President Trump wishes to send a strong message to the Islamic State by showcasing the awesome power and performance of the U.S. military,” Press Secretary Spicer told reporters, continuing, “That message is: We will win.” Spicer said the Navy has re-configured twelve Blue Angels jets, including ten aging F/A-18C Hornets, for combat missions in Iraq and Northern Syria.
While enjoying a much-needed weekend respite from running the country, President Donald J. Trump met briefly with the Blue Angels pilots on Saturday near his lavish estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Over hot dogs, President Trump asked the seasoned aviators to fly in their signature Diamond Formation and perform advanced aerobatic maneuvers while striking Islamic State targets – and to do so as a “personal favor” to him.
“We’re going to give [the Islamic State] a fantastic show,” Mr. Trump told fellow attendees at a Red Cross fundraising gala hosted at Mar-a-Lago later that evening. “Believe me, it’s going to be beautiful when you see what these pilots can do.” The President was accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump, who was allowed her first public appearance since the Inauguration.
Meanwhile, a high-ranking defense official who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon has been instructed by the White House to gather footage of the Blue Angels executing “well-choreographed and highly synchronized airstrikes” against the Islamic State. “Ultimately this is something they’ll use for the purpose of propaganda,” the official was quoted as saying. “From a recruitment standpoint, you couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.”
Widely known for executing death-defying stunts at air shows throughout the United States, the Blue Angels were formed in 1946 and are one of the oldest formal flying aerobatics teams in the world, second only to the French Patrouille de France.