Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi. Photo courtesy of the US Navy
Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi. Photo courtesy of the US Navy

A UC San Diego graduate has been appointed the 2016-17 commander of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team, the Navy announced Tuesday.

Cmdr. Ryan Bernacchi was selected by a panel of 10 admirals and former commanding officers.

“We prioritized selecting an officer who is an outstanding example of the pride and professionalism of the Navy and Marine Corps,” said Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, the chief of naval training. “Commander Bernacchi has a proven record of excellence and will be both a strong flight leader and commanding officer for the 2016 team.”

Bernacchi, a native of Los Altos in Northern California, earned his bachelor’s degree at UCSD in 1996. He received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program.

Bernacchi, who has flown the Blue Angels’ aircraft — the F/A-18 Hornet – – in Afghanistan and Iraq, had been serving as the federal executive fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“It is an absolute honor to have been selected for this prestigious position,” Bernacchi said. “There is a legacy of tradition and excellence within the Blue Angels squadron, and I look forward to maintaining the high standard of excellence set before me by (predecessor) Captain (Tom) Frosch.”

Bernacchi is scheduled to assume command in November.

— City News Service