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From NMMI cadet to Blue Angel pilot No. 4

February 13, 2011 • Local News, News

Lt. Robert Kurrle (Courtesy Photo)

Long before Lt. Robert Kurrle became a Navy Blue Angel, he first had to learn to salute.

It was at New Mexico Military Institute that the then-18-year-old aspiring aviator received the first military training in his career, including “how to salute, how to march and how to follow orders.”

“I would not trade going to NMMI for anything in the world,” Kurrle said by phone from Naval Air Facility El Centro, Calif., where the Blue Angels annual winter training takes place before the show season starts in mid-March. “It taught me discipline, good study habits, time management and how to operate and perform under stress.”

In the fall of 1997, the new cadet attended NMMI through the Naval Academy Foundation, a program for a select number of Annapolis applicants that requires a year of preparatory school before entering the Academy. NMMI is one of the colleges across the country that hosts the program.

Fresh out of high school, the North Carolina native began his first semester like all the others—  a RAT, or Recruit-At-Training. RATs receive basic training daily and are inducted into the strictly Login to read more

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