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Bend man joins the U.S. Navy’s elite Blue Angels

Collin Palmer shares his story of accomplishing milestone of a lifetime

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels are an elite precision flight team you may have seen performing their dramatic maneuvers at air shows around the country. Now, two Bend men are part of that glory.

A life of structure and discipline is what Collin Palmer, who turned 28 Friday, said the Navy afforded him when he joined seven years ago.

Born and raised in Bend, Palmer attended Elk Meadow Elementary School, High Desert Middle School and Bend High School. He was unsure after graduation what he wanted to pursue, but when he landed in the Navy, he excelled.

"He ended up joining the Navy when he was 20 years old, and from there became a jet mechanic," said Cindy Palmer, Collin's mother.

Collin's parents, Cindy and Kip Palmer, said when Collin joined the Navy, they never knew the opportunities that would unfold for him.

"He never liked Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts. He didn't like conforming at all," Kip Palmer said. "We don't know where this came from -- but when he jumped in, he jumped in hard."

Collin Palmer, who works on the Power Plants team as an aircraft maintenance mechanic, was one of 32 men and women crested as Blue Angels on Thursday.

"It was a big step to take," he said. "It is not easy to get on the team, but just seeing the people that I respected were able to do that, I figured it (was worth) a try, and ended up getting picked up this time around last year."

Members of the Blue Angels go through a rigorous three- to four-month training process to showcase the excitement and power of naval aviation, which they in turn share with the public in exciting fashion.

"We really kind of provide that community between the public who might not really have that experience with the military and what we do as Blue Angels," Palmer said.

Palmer has three years remaining on the team and said he would love the opportunity to one day become a pilot.

He joins Chris Gordon, another Bend native and a Mtn. View High graduate who was crested as a Blue Angel last year and works in public affairs.

From a boy with no clear path to a man serving now proudly serving his country, no one is more proud of his accomplishments than his parents.

"He's come full circle, from kind of losing his way, to finding a direction, to just excelling at what he's doing," Cindy Palmer said. "And we're just so proud of him!"

Central Oregon / Deschutes County / News / Top Stories / War-Military

Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.



  1. Congratulations. I’ve seen the Blue Angels twice at two different air shows.
    Those guys are incredible… While it’s not the same, a friend I’ve known since
    elementary school was a NAVY fighter pilot, and flew in a couple different conflicts.
    His dad and older brother were also career NAVY pilots..

        1. Not sure if you were asking me or not but no I didn’t. My dad was in the Marines and I had planned for a long time on going into the Marines too, but I started racing motorcycles when I was younger and had a couple bad crashes and severely injured my back. That was the end of my plans to join the Marines.

      1. That’s what my friend did. He put in his 30 and retired before he was 50.
        Now him and his wife live in Colorado Springs in a nice home on a golf course.
        They sell real estate together part time, and he plays golf and fly fishes.
        Not a bad gig. He earned it…

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