April 23, 2007 in Nation/World

Neighbors recall Blue Angels pilot

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Davis
(Full-size photo)

BOSTON – Even as a young boy, Navy Blue Angels Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis was intrigued by speed.

“He was fascinated with airplanes from the time he was little,” former neighbor Betty Sweeney said. “He knew what he wanted to do, and he did it. That’s the only relief: that he went doing what he wanted to do.”

The 32-year-old Navy lieutenant commander was killed Saturday when the F/A-18 Hornet jet he piloted as a member of the Blue Angels team crashed during an air show in a residential area of Beaufort, S.C.

He joined the Blue Angels in September 2005. A Navy statement said the pilot, whose Blue Angels nickname was “Kojak,” had been on the team for two years – and this was his first year as a demonstration pilot.

Another former neighbor, Tom McGill, taught at Taconic High School, where Davis’ father, John, was principal. McGill said John Davis and his wife, Ann, who now live in Aiken, S.C., were in the crowd at the air show Saturday.

Sweeney had not seen Davis for several years but remembered him as a small boy in their western Massachusetts town of Pittsfield.

“My son, David, had a motorcycle, and he (Davis) was so interested in that when he was a kid. He used to call my son ‘Motorcycle Dave,’ ” she said.

Davis graduated with honors in 1996 from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., according to the Blue Angels’ Web site. In September that year, he entered officer candidate school at Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

At Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, the site of Saturday’s crash, a somber crowd watched Sunday as six jets flew overhead in formation. Smoke streamed behind one of the jets as it peeled away from the others to complete the “missing man formation,” the traditional salute for a lost military aviator.

Meanwhile, investigators looked through wreckage to determine what caused the crash.

The Navy said it could be three weeks before it announces what may have caused the crash. The squadron returned to its home base of Pensacola Naval Air Station late Sunday.

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