The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, ordered the establishment of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team in 1946.

The Blue Angels team flew the Grumman F6F Hellcat in 1946, the more powerful Grumman F8F Bearcat (1946 to 1949), the Grumman F9F Panther Jet (1949 to 1955), the Grumman F9F-8 Cougar (1955 to 1957), the Grumman F11F-1 Tiger (1957 to 1968), the McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II (1969 to 1974), the Douglas A-4J Skyhawk (1974 to 1986). Since 1986 the team has flown the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet.

The Blue Angels is the second oldest formal flying aerobatic team in the world, after the Patrouille de France formed in 1931.