Christian Fighter Pilot Returns to the Sky

LtCol Jonathan “Flood” Kassebaum, commander of the 125th Operation Support Squadron at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base, Florida, flew an F-15 Eagle last week – eight months after nearly being electrocuted in his backyard.

Kassebaum was severely injured while working on a project in the backyard of his family home. He remained lifeless for nearly 12 minutes after the electrocution and was placed in a medically induced coma.

In his civilian life, Kassebaum is the Lead Pastor of the Crossing Church, and he told his story at the church last November. He initially describes the series of events that saved his life as miracles – but later reconsiders, noting the otherwise “normal” things strung together to save his life are indications of God’s sovereignty:

“Ya know,” Jonathan said, “God saw fit to use me and our family and our story to, to just say, ‘I got this. I’m in charge of all this stuff. I control these things.’ There’s no other explanation for it.”

In the conversation about whether he would ever fly again (which was not a certainty), Kassebaum demonstrated the perspective many Christians have when they work even in awe-inspiring professions, whether football players or fighter pilots: It’s a great life, but it isn’t everything.

“From my perspective, I know that this is a gift of being able to fly,” he said. “If you told me tomorrow that I couldn’t fly again, then, so be it.”