No, he can’t wave to his parents from the cockpit.
But when Lt. Scott Goossens takes off in jet No. 3 as part of Fleet Week 2022, he’ll become one of the Blue Angels he idolized as a kid in San Francisco.
“I grew up coming to Fleet Week every year,” says Goossens, remembering how all the school kids would run outside the first time they heard a Blue Angel flying over. “The teachers knew whatever lesson plan was thrown out the window.”
Created as an annual event to honor the military, Fleet Week includes a ship parade, ship tours, military band performances and other events. But the main attraction is the air shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring the famed Blue Angels along with a host of other aircraft. (Check The Standard Guide for more details.)
Speaking to reporters before takeoff near Oakland Airport, Goossens says the lines he will fly this weekend will take him directly over the Cow Hollow neighborhood where he was raised. Many of his family, friends and classmates from St. Ignatius High School still live in SF and will be on the ground cheering him on.
“I feel fortunate to be here,” says Lt. Goossens, 34. “I can’t believe this is a job.”
It’s a long road to becoming a Blue Angel pilot: Goossens has accumulated more than 1,250 hours flying tactical missions and spent nine years in training.
After playing football and soccer at St. Ignatius, Goossens studied at George Washington University and graduated in 2010 with a degree in political science. He worked in national security in Washington, D.C., before joining the Navy in 2013 and spending two years in flight training. He was stationed in Japan on the USS Ronald Reagan and then was a flight instructor before joining the Blue Angels in 2021.
“We’re here to show the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marines,” says Lt. Goossens. “It will be so special to show the city of SF what this team has been practicing all year.”
His name is painted under the cockpit of Blue Angels jet No. 3, and he’ll be performing on the left wing of the formation during his first SF Fleet Week.
“There’s no more iconic backdrop for an air show in the world, I would say—in my biased opinion—than here in San Francisco,” says Lt. Goossens.
And for that most important question: Where’s his favorite place to eat when he returns to SF?
“Perry’s on Union,” says Lt. Goossens. “It was where we went all the time growing up.”
Maryann Jones Thompson can be reached at [email protected]