Blue Angels Honor Kentucky WWII Flying Ace's Memory

The Blue Angels roared into Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon. Fans stood breathless as the U.S. Navy precision flight team landed their Boeing F/A-18 Hornets to pay homage to Kentucky's Johnny Magda.

Allison Yell's grandfather, Bob Kirby fought in the Korean War. "Very cool," she said as she watched the Blue Angels fly-over. "I've never seen them before, so it's somethin' that I'll always remember and my 5-year-old daughter got to see it as well, so."

Lieutenant Ben Walborn from Pennsylvania was proud to be a part of this commemoration.

Besides leading the Blue Angels in the 1950's, Johnny Magda was an ace in World War II, shooting down five Japanese aircraft, destroying seven more on the ground at the age of 23.

He was awarded 11 medals, including the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with two Gold Stars, and the Purple Heart.

Richard Bradberry was Magda's wing man when Magda was shot down over North Korea in March of 1951.

Marni Magda was only four years old when her father was killed. She's grateful for this day to learn what a great man her father was.

Wednesday's ceremony concluded with the Blue Angels' official dedication of Lieutenant Commander Johnny Magda's commemorative F9F Panther.

Lieutenant Commander Magda's plane will be permanently displayed alongside General Dan Cherry's Vietnam War era Phantom 550 at Bowling Green's Aviation Heritage Park on Three Springs Road.


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