As Middle Tennessee and the rest of the country mourned the death of Marine Captain Jeff Kuss, his parents spoke about his death for the first time.
"You'd never know he was a Blue Angel pilot,” said Michael Kuss, Jeff’s father. “He was down to earth."
His parents said Capt. Jeff Kuss, age 32, dreamed of being a pilot as a child. He grew up in Durango, Colorado and attended Durango High School and Fort Lewis College.
With the help of his determination and drive, he achieved his dream of being a Blue Angel. His parents said they were proud of everything he accomplished.
“The first time we went [to an air show] it was just unbelievable,” said Janet Kuss, Jeff’s mother. “That that's your kid over there in that beautiful uniform."
Capt. Kuss joined the Blue Angels in November of 2014. He was a decorated flier who logged over 1400 flight hours. He flew plane #6, and it was his first year as a demonstration pilot.
“We lost an aviator who believed deeply in the Blue Angels’ mission of inspiring others and representing the Navy and Marine Corps, citizens, and our country,” said U.S. Navy Commander Ryan Bernacchi.
Capt. Kuss also left behind a wife and two young children.
His career was cut short when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed Thursday afternoon off of Sam Davis Road during a training exercise with five other Blue Angel pilots before the Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna.
Great Tennessee Air Show co-producers, the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority and The Air Show Network, will jointly donate a portion of proceeds of all ticket sales to the Captain Jeff Kuss Family Fund.
The International Council of Air Shows Foundation has also set up an account to help Jeff Kuss' family. You can donate by clicking here.
Kuss' sister-in-law also set up a gofundme account to help the family. You can find more information by visiting: https://www.gofundme.com/jeffkuss.