SMYRNA, Tenn. - The City of Smyrna will honor the life of a Blue Angels pilot who was killed in a crash in 2016 with a permanent memorial.
Marine Captain Jeff Kuss was killed on June 2 while practicing in Smyrna for the Pensacola, Florida-based flight demonstration team. The crash happened the day before the Great Tennessee Air Show. Captain Kuss left behind a wife and two young children.
Mayor Mary Esther Reed and other city officials announced plans to honor the Marine at the Smyrna Event Center Thursday afternoon.
Officials unveiled plans for the Captain Jeff Kuss USMC Memorial, which will include a retired Blue Angels jet.
The cost of the memorial stands at $1 million, and half of that has been raised. The mayor said more is still needed, and there are multiple ways to donate.
Those wishing to make a donation can text "Jeff" to 71777. Cash and checks can be given in person at Smyrna Town Hall at 315 South Lowry Street. Donations can also be sent to Franklin Synergy Bank at 724 President Place, Smyrna, TN 37167.
To see additional photos of the memorial's design and to learn more, click here.
A separate memorial is also being planned at The Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation where the Blue Angel crashed.
"It was a traumatic event for a lot of people," Dr. Steve Murphree, president of the Sam Davis Memorial Association, said. "The very first responders were the Sam Davis Home staff."
The plane narrowly missed the Sam Davis Home and the tourists and employees there at the time.
"The ground shook, almost like an earthquake," Murphree said.
The Sam Davis Home had to shut down for about a month while the Navy investigated the scene and cleaned the debris and jet fuel from the area.
The memorial planned for the Sam Davis Home will feature a bench with the Blue Angels insignia as well as a photo of Captain Kuss and an inscription.
The Sam Davis Home has also planned to plant a tree in honor of Kuss nearby. The memorial has been expected to be installed some time in the summer.