In a traditional change of command ceremony, Navy Capt. Chris Martin will assume command of one of the nation’s premier air bases Thursday. Concurrently, the Navy will also say goodbye to one of its most beloved and accomplished officers, Capt. Keith Hoskins.

Hoskins has served as the commanding officer of Naval Air Station Pensacola since 2013. His career has been marked with numerous accomplishments and firsts, holding the recognition as the first African-American and first former Blue Angel to command the base known as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

The career naval aviator retires today in a formal ceremony at the National Naval Aviation Museum aboard the naval base. As Hoskins says farewell to active duty, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the naval aviator’s most memorable moments during his career in a video produced by the Blue Angels Association:

A native of Parkville, Mo., Hoskins joined the Navy after graduating from Missouri Western State University in 1989. After deploying aboard the U.S.S. America and flying combat operations in Operations Decisive Edge and Southern Watch, Hoskins served with the Blue Angels, acting as the narrator, opposing solo, and lead solo pilot from 1999-2001.

Returning to the fleet, Hoskins completed an extended deployment flying combat missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Southern Watch, and Iraqi Freedom.

After serving as the national director of NROTC programs, Hoskins took command of NAS Pensacola in 2013. During his career, Hoskins accumulated more than 3,400 flight hours and 570 arrested landings. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Air Medal (three awards with combat “V”), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards with combat “V”), Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), and numerous unit commendations and awards.


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