The Blue Angels - the U.S. Navy's elite flight squadron - could be grounded under proposed "sequestration" budget cuts, according to the Navy.
The Pensacola-based aerobatic team was listed among a series of cuts that will be made unless Congress approves tax increases by March 1, according to an internal Navy memo obtained by the Washington Times.
The document said the Navy is prepared to ground the famous squadron for the second half of the 2013, according to the Times.
That would cancel about 30 air shows including the annual July performance over Pensacola Beach. The cancellations would save the Navy about $20 million, but would also shut down one of its top recruiting tools and a major economic boost for the Gulf Coast. The Navy estimates that 11 million people attend Blue Angels shows each year.
Navy Lt. Katie Kelly, the public information officer for the Blue Angels, told WEAR-TV that the team is aware of the possible budget cuts but is continuing to prepare for the 2013 air show season.
"We hope this doesn't happen. We're hoping congress can form a budget," Kelly said. "We're looking forward to performing for the millions of Americans across this country who look forward to seeing the Blue Angels."