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Tribute to an Angel: Honoring USMC Capt Jeff Kuss

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Fly with the Navy Tac Demo, Rob Holland and Aeroshell in Tribute to USMC Capt Jeff Kuss, Blue Angel 6, at the Vero Beach Air Show

Report, Photos and Video by Mike Killian

June 28, 2016

To honor USMC Capt Jeff “Kooch” Kuss, Blue Angel 6, the U.S. NAVY F/18 Tac Demo team and Hornet pilot Lt. John “Toby” Keith, World Champion aerobatics pilot Rob Holland and myself teamed up to honor Kooch with a tribute shoot at the Vero Beach Air Show June 24, 2016.

Rob flew a photo shoot with Capt Kuss and Blue Angel 5, USN Lt. Ryan Chamberlain, earlier this year with aviation photographer Glenn Watson. I had the honor of shooting with Capt Kuss and Lt Chamberlain in TN, along with Team Oracle and Sean Tucker, the day Kooch was lost.

Blue Angel 6 with Team Oracle and Sean Tucker

Tac Demo from VFA-106, the GLADIATORS, and Rob Holland honor Capt Kuss with #6 painted on their planes. The Hornet demo team stepped up in place of the Blues at the airshow while the team continued practicing in Pensacola for their return.

The same day, the Blues announced they are returning to airshows for Independence Day weekend July 2-4 in Traverse City, Michigan, at the National Cherry Festival Air Show. The team will fly a modified five jet demonstration, along with Fat Albert, until further notice.

Navy Tac Demo, Rob Holland and Aeroshell in Tribute to USMC Capt Jeff Kuss

With thanks to Gene McNeeley and Team Aeroshell for stepping in to fly the photo ship, as well as USN Tac Demo Lt. Jaime “Eeyore” Monroe.

– MUSIC: Tracey Chattaway / Nightsky


A fund has been set up to help the family of Capt Kuss. The link to the fund and instructions on how to donate can be found: HERE
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Mike Killian
Photojournalist at Aviation Photography Digest
Mike Killian is a spaceflight & aerospace / aviation photojournalist who currently calls Florida's "Space Coast" home, where America's launch pads are his office as Managing Editor for the online daily space-news magazine AmericaSpace. Over the years his assignments have brought him onboard NASA's space shuttles, front row for launches of spacecraft to other worlds, in clean rooms with Mars rovers, in the skies producing air-to-air photography and videography with civilian and military aircraft, pulling G's with air show performers like World Champion Aerobatics pilot Rob Holland, the GEICO Skytypers and U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and on space-launch range clearing Pave Hawk missions with the Air Force (to date the only photojournalist to do so).

In the time since, Killian's work has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, National Geographic, NBC News, CNN, BBC, Weather Channel, and has been used by organizations such as the Air Force, NASA, Airbus, SpaceX, Boeing, National Park Service, Go Pro, hotel chains and various magazines and websites.

Mike also volunteers as a team photographer / videographer with Thom Richard and his Florida-based Precious Metal / Hot Stuff air racing teams, and keeps busy elsewhere producing articles and imagery for several publications and various marketing and advertising campaigns for several companies.

Mike can be reached at: [email protected]
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