Commander Bryce Aubuchon grew up just north of Cape Girardeau in Washington, Missouri. He says his interest in aviation sparked when his parents began taking him on trips to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. There he would watch the Blue Angels practice and soak in every movement of the demonstration. Life has a funny way of bringing you back to where you started.

When it came time to find a college, Aubuchon toured a few universities but says nothing felt right. It wasn't until visiting Southeast Missouri State University that he knew he had found his home away from home. He says that although his mother attended Southeast, he had no idea what to expect as a freshman in 2001. Still, he made friends, became captain of SEMO's club hockey team, and enjoyed a campus that made him feel like more than just a number.

"The initial feeling was home honestly. Cape Girardeau was a big enough city, it wasn't small, it wasn't gigantic. You could easily find your way around, but it wasn't compact. I really like the way the University was laid out for various aesthetic reasons. There were, a lot of trees, a lot of grass, a lot of hills, a lot of students outside enjoying it. That's what I pictured as a university, and it didn't disappoint. "

Commander Bryce Aubuchon

Commander Bryce Aubuchon smiles for a photo in the Blue Angels uniform.

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Aubuchon says he had a vague idea of what his path could look like after college, but he wasn't sure how to get there. He says one of his biggest influences during his time at SEMO was Dr. Susan Gonders. He wanted to join the military, and she helped him see that it was possible.

When I was at SEMO, I started off undeclared my first couple of years and didn't really know what I wanted to do. Dr. Susan Gondors asked me "What do you want to do after you graduate?" And I said, I wanted to go in the military. I wanted to be a pilot. And she took it seriously. She was very much a mentor while I was there but then showed me that it's really possible to do what I want.

Cdr. Bryce Aubuchon

So, after graduating from Southeast in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications, he set out for a career in the Navy. He started out recruiting physicians for the military branch. He set job descriptions, screened applicants, and conducted interviews and jokes that it was about as fun as it sounds. That's when life took more than one unexpected turn.

In 2006 Aubuchon transitioned from the civilian world to head to Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida. This was the stepping stone that would take him to new heights. Finally, in July 2008, he earned the designation of Naval Aviator.


After an incredible career in service of his country, in September 2023, Aubuchon joined the prestigious U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels. This honor came after more than 3,100 military flight hours across the globe and many, many achievements, including the Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, three Navy Achievement Medals, and an array of personal, unit, and service awards. Still, he says in his mind getting there was always a long shot. The application process was difficult, and the training was extreme. Now, he's just "glad to be here."

Being in this seat, wearing the Blue Angel flight suit, and being able to be a part of this amazing team that's quite literally world-renowned is a monumental adventure.

Cdr. Bryce Aubuchon

Commander Bryce Aubuchon will serve as the executive officer of the Blue Angels for the 2024 and 2025 show seasons. His daily duties are to act as second in command for the world-renowned flight squadron. He remains in radio contact with the pilots during flight demonstrations and takes care of the administrative duties of 143 sailors and Marines. The group's show season will run for eight months in 32 cities with 64 live demonstrations from March through November.

Aubuchon says he feels immense gratitude toward SEMO. For him, the professors at SEMO were not just educators, they were mentors who genuinely cared about a student's success. The professors and the University community instilled in him the belief that anyone can achieve their goals with determination and hard work. He says to anyone aspiring to follow their dreams, remember that the starting point is just the beginning – the destination is entirely up to you.