Captain Jeff "KOOCH" Kuss was a private pilot by the age of 15, but didn't stop there when it came to aviation and his pursuit of his dreams in the clouds. He was lucky enough to take flight lessons while still in high school. Jeff, a native of Durango, Colorado, graduated from Durango High School in 2002. He attended Fort Lewis College in Durango and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in 2006. He was a true Coloradan but left his home state to pursue a career as a Marine Corps Officer and pilot.
Commissioned in 2006 as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Jeff received his Wings of Gold in November 2009 after completing flight school. Jeff was a standout student pilot and always willing to help others study or practice. As a top performer, he was selected to fly the F/A-18 Hornet. Jeff's first fleet squadron was Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 312 "Checkerboards" at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. He continued to excel and he subsequently graduated from U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) in 2012 and completed a combat deployment with Carrier Air Wing THREE aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. Jeff contributed to VMFA-312 earning the Robert M. Hanson Award as the Marine Corps Association Fighter Attack Squadron of the Year.
Seeking a new challenge, Jeff joined the Blue Angels in September 2014 where he began his duties as Narrator, Blue Angel Number 7, and then moved to Opposing Solo, Blue Angel Number 6, in 2015. Jeff was killed on June 2, 2016 while performing a rehearsal flight for the Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, TN.