Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial Scholarship Announced


The Town of Smyrna has announced the inaugural Captain Jeff Kuss Memorial Scholarship in honor of Captain Jeff Kuss, USMC.

In June 2016, the Town of Smyrna was impacted by the plane crash of USMC Captain Jeff Kuss during the US Navy Blue Angels performance at the Great Tennessee Air Show, in Smyrna. Following this tragedy, the Smyrna community and Blue Angels supporters from around the country mourned and showed an outpouring of support for the Kuss Family.

Town of Smyrna officials called upon the community to help establish a living memorial in tribute to the life, honorable service, and high ideals exhibited by Captain Kuss. The illuminated memorial is located in Smyrna’s Lee Victory Park along the beautiful greenway across from the Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport. As the centerpiece to the memorial, the National Naval Aviation Museum has generously provided, on permanent loan to the Town of Smyrna, recently retired Blue Angel F/A-18 Hornet aircraft, BUNO 163498, which depicts Captain Kuss’ plane number 6.

The Kuss Scholarship was developed to offer educational opportunities to deserving high school seniors in Smyrna who exhibit exceptional scholastic abilities, leadership qualities, citizenship, and character including participation in school and community activities.

“Education was important to Captain Jeff Kuss. Since the construction of the memorial, it has been the vision of the committee to establish a memorial scholarship to continue his honor and legacy through a scholarship program benefitting the higher education of Smyrna students and citizens”, stated Mayor Mary Esther Reed.

The purpose of this scholarship is to promote the values of honor, courage, commitment, and excellence that are held by heroes like Captain Jeff Kuss, by supporting excellent outstanding students in their pursuit of higher education with a financial contribution toward the costs of a program of postsecondary training.

The Kuss Scholarship program is offering (3) $2,000 scholarships for the use of postsecondary education. To be eligible to apply for a scholarship, the applicant must be a current high school senior who intends to enroll in a program of postsecondary education within one year of high school graduation and either a current resident of Smyrna or currently enrolled in a high school that is physically located in the Town of Smyrna.
Proceeds from the annual Top Gun Night Run 6k are applied directly to ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the Captain Jeff Kuss USMC memorial and the Kuss Scholarship fund.

The application is available here. The application deadline is Friday, March 15, 2024. If you have questions, please contact the Town of Smyrna at 615-267-5005.

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