Wife of fallen Blue Angels pilot speaks for first time

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN)  – A pair of Rutherford County football teams put aside their rivalry to honor a fallen hero Friday.

Stewarts Creek High School hosted La Vergne High three months after the tragedy stunned the area.

Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss’ Blue Angels jet crashed in Smyrna on June 2 ahead of the Great Tennessee Air Show.

As the jet was going down, Kuss crashed into a field near an apartment complex. Many believe he sacrificed his life to put the plane down in the field instead of a populated area.

Todd Harris is one of the football coaches at Stewarts Creek High School.

“Capt. Kuss’ actions really did save a lot of lives who were in that apartment complex,” said Harris. “Many of whom will grow up and go to Stewarts Creek or go to La Vergne.”

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The two teams dedicated the game Friday night in honor of Capt. Kuss.

Before kickoff, the United States Marines Silent Drill Team performed. The platoon is in Middle Tennessee for Nashville Marine Week.

“One of the things we pride ourselves on is we never forget those who have gone before us,” said Drill Commander Eric Montgomery. “Capt. Jeff Kuss represents that hero, that great American man standing up and doing what’s right. So to have an opportunity to be a part of that is extremely humbling.”

Capt. Joe Starnes, a U.S. Marine from Rutherford County who was friends with Kuss, handled the coin toss.

“I went to Basic Officer Training school with Capt. Kuss, then went to flight school with him,” said Capt. Starnes. “So when I learned he crashed and passed away, that really hit home for me. He was a great guy.”

There was also a moment of silence at halftime, followed by the playing of “Taps” by a Stewarts Creek H.S. band member.

 

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