Family: Blue Angels pilot killed in crash dreamed of flying

This May 19, 2016, photo shows Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss at an air show in Lynchburg, Va. A Blue Angels F/A-18 fighter jet crashed Thursday, June 2, near Nashville, Tenn., killing the pilot just days before a weekend air show performance, officials said. A U.S. official said the pilot was Kuss. (Matt Bell/The Register & Bee via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) — A Blue Angels pilot who died when his F/A-18 fighter jet crashed near Nashville, Tennessee, had wanted to fly since he was a child, relatives said.

A U.S. official identified the pilot killed Thursday as Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“It’s hard to put into words right now, but it’s beautiful that a person can live and die engaged in their life’s pursuits,” said his grandfather, Dolph Kuss, reached at his home in Durango, Colorado. “This was his dream since he was a child, to be an aviator, a flier.”

He choked back tears and said he was struggling to gather his thoughts.

“It’s hard to celebrate someone’s life in this way,” he said. “It is certainly a shock. Everything in life has its dangers, I guess.”

Kuss was married with two young children, his grandfather said.

 

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