School counselor takes ride in fighter jet

Virginia City High School Counselor Caren Baum waves as she prepares for take-off with Blue Angels’ Pilot Lt. Griffin Stangel Wednesday.

Virginia City High School Counselor Caren Baum waves as she prepares for take-off with Blue Angels’ Pilot Lt. Griffin Stangel Wednesday.
Photo by Sarah Drinkwine.

To engage take off of the Aviation Round up, Blue Angels Pilot Lt. Griffin Stangel took community representative Caren Baum for a joy ride at the Minden-Tahoe Airport Wednesday.
Baum is a counselor at Virginia City High School.
“I’m at a loss for words, that was a truly amazing experience,” said Baum.
 Part of the Blue Angels’ mission is community outreach and to connect with the community.
“We want people to remember that while we are still active members of the military and there is that professionalism we represent, we also want to show them what we do from a more personal experience,” said Stangel.
One way to do that is to select a community representative who is a positive influencer in the community, for instance a teacher or counselor. 
“From my understanding it’s a key influencer for people who can talk to students about the opportunities of the military,” said Baum.
Baum has been a counselor in Storey County for 12 years from the elementary level to the high school and a member of the Nevada School Counselor Association for two years, she said.
“The opportunity presented itself to me and I am honored to have been selected to represent the community and help make that connection with the military and the community,” said Baum. “I think with what I do as a counselor is very important. There’s a lot of one-on-one and interaction with students and to be looked at as a positive influencer, it’s very rewarding.”
Griffin said bringing a community representative, like Baum, helps build the connection between the military and community and allows people to experience what the military does from a different perspective.
“It’s an opportunity to show them what we do from a unique ‘cockpit’ experience and an inside look at the aircraft and what we as pilots do,” said Griffin.
While the Blue Angels and other flight performers are expected to entertain the community at the Minden-Tahoe Airport this weekend, it’s also a demonstration of the professionalism, military culture and service to the country to help inspire the community.
“The most important thing is to inspire, if we’re able to inspire someone in the smallest way possible, then we’ve done our job,” said Griffin.  “We’re looking forward to putting on a great show and encourage the community to come out to Minden-Tahoe Airport and see all the airshow performers.”
The Aviation Roundup today and Sunday features airshow performers, static displays and vendors. This year performer includes aerobatic and formation flight performer Bill Stein, arial parachute demonstrators The Chuters, the Vertigo Super Salto Sailplane and the headliners, The Navy Blue Angels.
“If you have seen the Blue Angels before, you haven’t seen them like this year’s show,” said Blue Angels Pilot #3 Lt. Scott Groossens. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement. This is the first time we are flying with the Super Hornet and Super Hercules, so the audience will get a chance to see some aircraft we have never shown before and it’s going to make for an exciting show.”
Gates open at 9 a.m. opening flight begins at 11:45 a.m. and the show is done at 4:30 p.m.
Traffic will be directed to the airport, along Airport Road and Haybourne Road.
Minden-Tahoe Airport Director Bobbi Thompson said there are three parking areas available. One for General Admission, VIP and Handicap parking. A map showing where each lot is located can be found online at 11 buses are available to transport people from the parking area to the main gate.
“The VIP area fills up pretty quick, but the General Admission is more than accommodating to the amount vehicles we will have during the weekend,” said Thompson.
Thompson highly recommends visitors to purchase tickets in advance online to avoid waiting in line. For more information and tickets visit For more information about the Minden-Tahoe Airport visit



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