Commanding the Blue Angels

Brian Kesselring will be flying high for the U.S. Navy as the new commanding officer for the flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels.

Millions turn their eyes to the sky each year to watch the precision flying of the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Beginning in 2020 audiences will see Concordia graduate Brian Kesselring ’00 flying the number one jet as the commanding officer of the “Angels.”

Kesselring, a native of Fargo who majored in physics, mathematics and business administration at Concordia, most recently served as the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 81. He was selected by a panel of nine admirals and former commanding officers to serve as the Blue Angels’ commander.

“Being selected to represent the Navy and the Marine Corps team as the CO and flight leader of the Blue Angels is very humbling,” Kesselring says. “To perform its mission of helping inspire a culture of excellence and service to country by conducting flight demonstrations and community outreach is such a great honor.” 

Through the years the Blue Angels have influenced Kesselring both personally and professionally he says. Now he will be leading the team of 141 members who serve as ambassadors to the Navy and Marines. 

“Our pilots and maintenance and support teams strive to inspire our audiences to follow their dreams and pursue excellence in all they do,” says Kesselring. 

Realizing his college goals is something Kesselring says he owes to Concordia faculty and staff who mentored him. He completed his three majors while competing in varsity basketball and track and field. 

“Each one of those professors chose to help me for nothing more than the sense of helping a young man realize his potential,” he added. “I’m forever appreciative of their long hours, dedication, sense of team, and higher calling. The greatest takeaway from my Concordia experience was the absolute dedication of my professors and coaches.”

And beginning in November, the Blue Angels and air show attendees will get to enjoy Kesselring’s dedication to being a naval aviator at the top of his craft.