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DANGER ZONE

Tonight on Nightly News we're following-up a story that was breaking as we came on the air last night: the fatal crash of a Blue Angel's jet in South Carolina.   By the time we go on tonight we expect to be able to report the name of the pilot who was killed. We're also hearing from additional eyewitnesses as investigators try and figure out what happened.

Like many reporters I've had a chance to fly with the Blue Angels as well as their Air Force counterparts the Thunderbirds, and even the Canadian Snowbirds.  To a person I have always found members of these elite teams to be meticulous professionals, and proud ambassadors of their respective military branches.  But there is no denying a fighter pilot bravado that makes them often downplay the inherit danger of what they do. What happened in Beaufort Saturday reminds us all.  The fraternity of military precision acrobatic team members is a small one.  They will take Saturday's accident hard.  They will mourn the loss of a teammate, but will also learn all they can from this and get back into the air.  I wish them well.

In addition to coverage of the Blue Angel's crash, we're in Blacksburg, Virginia tonight where emails, EBay purchases and a van are telling investigators a lot more about the shooter in the Virginia Tech massacre.

And on this Earth Day we're asking the question: is "green" a passing trend, or are Americans in this for the long haul?

I hope you'll join me this evening for NBC Nightly News.