captain-bw-cc.jpgPENSACOLA – A former member of the Blue Angels has become the new commanding officer of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Capt. Keith Hoskins, 47, on March 28 became the chief of the base where he started his career in 1989. This is his third tour of duty in Pensacola.

Hoskins flew with the Blue Angels flight demonstration team from 1999 to 2001. The U.S. Navy on March 28 extended the practice schedule for the flight team through April 5. But four April appearances have been cancelled because of possible federal budget cuts.

Officials say Hoskins is the first member of the Blue Angels and the first African American to hold the post. He has more than 3,400 flight hours and 570 aircraft carrier landings.

A statement from the base said Hoskins, a native of Parkville, Missouri, graduated from Missouri Western State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Technology in 1988. He was commissioned after completion of Aviation

Officer Candidate School in September 1989 and was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1992 in Kingsville, Texas.

In September 1998, he joined the Blue Angels – the Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron – and served as narrator, opposing solo and lead solo pilot. In August 2003, Hoskins was assigned to the U.S. Strategic Command, serving as an action officer and then

executive officer in the Plans and Policy Directorate, responsible for writing, assessing and disseminating high-level policy during the command’s restructuring in the midst of the United States’ global war on terrorism.

He then began his command tour with VFA-15 – “The Valions” – as executive officer in April 2006, taking command in June 2007. He led his squadron in combat deployment onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Hoskins’ service includes an extended deployment flying combat missions in support of Enduring Freedom and OPerations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom.

His next stop was the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where he received a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy and Policy.