Have you ever seen the Blue Angels perform? I recently had the opportunity to see them and they were amazing! Thanks to a Navy Aviator friend, I had a view that was front and center on the flight line. I watched in amazement as the Blue Angels performed incredible aerial acrobatics. They flew in tight formations at speeds of over 600 miles per hour with near perfect precision. Sometimes flying upside down and as close as 18 inches from one plane’s wingtip to the next. 18 inches! Upside down!
The Blue Angels are the elite of the elite Navy and Marine Corps pilots. The qualifications to just be considered as a flying member of the team is impressive – a career U.S. Navy (or Marine Corp) pilot and officer with at least 1,250 hours in a tactical jet and be aircraft carrier qualified. Those qualifications are just the beginning. If you are considered, you still have to gain and pass multiple exhaustive interviews by the current Blue Angels pilots. All that leads to one of the three who are selected annually to join the flight team. After all of this you get to serve two years representing the U.S. Navy in one of the flying positions #2-6. To fly the #1 Jet and lead the group (aka the “Boss”) is another process all together!
The training and yearly show schedule for the pilots is equally demanding. Their commitment, determination, and skill are mind blowing to me. But what really impresses me is why they do what they do. The mission of the Blue Angels is not all about flying, it is to impact others by “inspiring a culture of excellence and service.”
The core of the Blue Angels is not the flight demonstrations and wowing the crowds with their precision skill (although they do). Their job is to be “Ambassadors of Goodwill.” The word Ambassador is defined as “a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent as an authorized messenger or representative.” The Blue Angels are all about using their talents and refined skills for something greater than themselves – inspiring others!
Paul said that as followers of Jesus we should be Ambassadors for Him…
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us…” (2 Corinthians 5:20 ESV)
As I reflected on the inspiring demonstration of skill by the Blue Angels and learned of their ultimate mission, I was challenged about my mission and how I use my abilities. The truth is, we are all ambassadors of something. We all use our skills and training for something. Imagine the impact of using your abilities not for impressing others, but for inspiring others.