The transition from cadet life to active duty is a significant one, particularly for cadets from the military academies. While cadets from civilian colleges have lived “real” lives for the past few years, most Academy cadets are straight out of high school. The only life they have known has been the enforced structure of a military school, dorms and meals provided. The Academy has changed significantly, in part due to progress, in part due to scandal. Still, the fishbowl life of the Academy remains unique in its structure and rigidity. The first time that most cadets experience “freedom” is immediately after graduation when they are given 60 days of leave before reporting to their first assignments. Some take the opportunity to travel, others get married, some spend time with their families, and some do nothing at all. Unbeknownst to them, that leave is a quiet transition between the “too much homework” of the Academy and the “too many things to do” of the “real” Air Force.
Many Christian Academy cadets graduate with high aspirations of the things they’ll do when they’re finally free and clear, whether it’s going to church regularly, finding a Bible study, starting a personal daily Bible study, or beginning to tithe. Read more
What’s the difference between God and a fighter pilot? God doesn’t think he’s a fighter pilot. – Unknown
Some people have compared fighter pilots with the knights of old; selected because of their superior skills and courage, they charge off into battle with little or no support to further the greater good. Though modern training and equipment have taken many of the uncertainties away, flying can still be dangerous, and flying in combat is more dangerous still. Being a fighter pilot, then, does have the qualities of a noble profession. Men and women sometimes become fighter pilots because of the impact they as an individual know they can make for the good of their country. While some want to be nobly fly and fight for their country, many want to be fighter pilots just because it looks fun. Who isn’t impressed by the amazing acts they see at airshows, from the performance demonstrations of an F-15 climbing straight up into the sky or a formation of F-16s with their wingtips within inches of each other? Read more
A Christian is to be a soldier “marching as to war,” not searching for a safe harbor in which to drop anchor and rest. He is to be in the world, doing the work God would have him do. That work—and the constant spiritual struggle it presents—can be unbelievably fatiguing. The daily struggle to live the Christian life while nearly being overwhelmed wears on a Christian’s spiritual, emotional, and even physical being. If after fighting not to be overwhelmed he spends his remaining energy recuperating from spiritual fatigue, he has little energy left for personal growth and nothing left for assertively professing his faith. Constant bombardment in a hostile environment quickly wears a Christian out, and it tends to put him on the defensive, rather than the offense for Christ he would desire. He may be in the world, but if his efforts are focused on not getting drowned by it, he’s not doing much in the way of saving those around him. Read more
“Remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death.” James 5:20
While the fighter pilot environment causes a Christian to make reactive moral choices, what about a Christian fighter pilot who wants to exercise his faith? Can he actively witness to his fellow pilots? Can a Christian fighter pilot evangelize his fellow fighter pilots?
Prior to 2004 the Air Force had no official policy on most matters regarding religion other than prohibitions against discrimination. It was a vague but simple matter, then, for a Christian fighter pilot to live his life with wisdom, tact, and discretion. So long as he didn’t beat his fellow pilots about the head and shoulders with the Bible he would create no grounds for official complaints.
The religious culture in the Air Force has changed, however, Read more
[The text below was copied from internet sources as a generalized reference; it is not claimed as accurate.]
During World War I, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Read more