Having grown up in the Valley of Heart’s Delight with my bedroom window looking out towards Mount Hamilton and the flight path of airplanes on final approach to Moffett Field, I developed a love of aircrafts and all things that fly. I built scale models of the P-3C Orions that where stationed at Moffett and the drone of their four turboprop engines where part of the sound track of my youth. The monotony of P-3s passing by my bedroom window, returning from submarine patrol, where occasionally disrupted by a C-130 or the largest airplane in the air, the C-5 Galaxy and occasionally, the far sexier F-16 Falcon. No aircraft was more eagerly awaited than the Blue Angels, the blue and gold A-4F Skyhawks arriving for the annual air show.
My fascination with military grade planes and the Blue Angels has waned over the years like my interest in Star Wars action figures. I have left the Valley of Heart’s Delight ( now known as Silicon Valley) and moved north to the city of St. Francis. In 1994, Moffett Field was closed as a navel air field and the Blue Angels followed me up north to San Francisco and Fleet Week.
San Francisco has a love/hate relationship with Fleet Week and the Blue Angels. With the increased traffic and deafening roar of supersonic jets overhead I can understand why. I got out of Dodge during Fleet Week and retreated to the peace of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I did return to the City on Sunday, in time for the last Angel show of Fleet Week. I climbed to the highest point within a two block walk: Sunset Reservoir. I look north towards Golden Gate Park, the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais.
I have also had the same reservations about the Blue Angels and the use of taxpayer dollars as I look out across the crumbling infrastructure of San Francisco’s streets, not to mention the underpaid and overworked teachers, the true homeland security of the United States. But waiting up on that hill for the first sighting of the F/A-18s, I am brought back to my childhood, eagerly waiting at my bedroom window for the blue and gold gashawks to appear. While I scan the skies the costs and my mixed feelings about the military fades away as the the blue diamond appear over the City.
Blue Angels taking off at San Francisco International Airport in 2010.
The sketcher on the tarmac of SFO with Blue Angel F/A-18 H number 1.