HOUSTON — One of the Blue Angel pilots who flew over Houston today is a native Houstonian and Texas A&M graduate.
Major Frank Zastoupil and the rest of the squadron honored front-line healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers with the America Strong flyover.
Zastoupil, a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, had never even been on a plane till he was a junior at Kingwood High School in Texas. He fell in love with being in the air and knew that’s what he wanted to do with his life.
First stop: Texas A&M where he did officer candidate preparatory work.
“I loved the culture that A&M and Aggieland had,” Zastoupil told The Eagle in 2019. “A&M and the mentors I had there helped me every step of the way.”
Zastoupil joined the Marines after graduating from Texas A&M in 2009 and began training to be a pilot. And not just any pilot. This ambitious Aggie set his sights high.
“What did I want to do? I wanted to fly jets in the Marine Corps. What’s cooler than flying jets in the Marine Corps?” he said when he joined the Blue Angels. “You get to fly the most technologically advanced aircraft in the world like the F-35.”
Zastoupil is the Blue Angels’ first F-35B Lightning pilot but he’s transitioned to the the F/A-18 Hornet for the public demonstrations.
“The people I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by in my current squadron are people who only want to excel,” Zastoupil told The Eagle in 2019. “They are team players who want to do the best thing for those around them. Everybody is there to make everyone around them better, and to serve our country in such a manner that they’re willing to deploy tomorrow if needed.”
His decorations include three Strike Flight Air Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and various personal and unit awards.
Zastoupil is stationed in Beaufort, South Carolina, with his wife, Shannon, and their young daughter, Harlow.