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Captain Jeff Kuss


U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Jeff Kuss, a native of Durango, Colorado, was a decorated pilot who joined the Blue Angels in 2014. Prior to the Blue Angels, he served in Afghanistan and had accumulated more than 1,400 flight hours and 175 landings on aircraft carriers.

As a child, Kuss dreamed of being a pilot and obtained his pilot’s license before his driver’s license. After graduating from Fort Lewis College, Kuss was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps and reported to Pensacola, Fla. in 2007. He earned his wings of gold in 2009 and later graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapon School, also known as “Top Gun,” in 2012.

While serving in Afghanistan, Kuss earned the Strike Flight Air Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. In 2014, he joined the U.S. Navy Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron.

On June 2, 2016, at the age of 32, Kuss tragically lost his life when his jet crashed a day before the Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna. A Blue Angel F/A-18C Hornet similar to the jet flown by Captain Kuss and on loan from the National Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida will be on permanent display as part of the Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial. He is survived by his wife Christina, children Calvin and Sloane, parents Janet and Michael, and brother Eric.

“Jeff was my inspiration and the outpouring of support from the people of Tennessee has been profoundly humbling. You all have wrapped our family in so much love. We are inspired and we are grateful. This memorial is a wonderful tribute to Jeff’s life and distinguished service. I am hopeful it will inspire and encourage the children who see it to pursue their dreams as Jeff did.”     - Christina Kuss
  Photo courtesy: Matt Bell

Photo courtesy: Matt Bell

By this memorial, the Town of Smyrna and its citizens are proud to honor the legacy of Marine Captain Jeff Kuss. Kuss was a fearless leader, a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a hero.  It is with great honor that the Town of Smyrna hereby pays tribute to his legacy.

The Town of Smyrna gratefully acknowledges the loan of the F/A-18C Hornet, BuNo 163498,
which is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, FL.