"Life as a U.S. Navy test pilot was an adventure for my dad, Lt. Ed Tandy. Racing through the sky at speeds of over 600 miles per hour in his Fury Three fighter jet, Lt. Tandy determined whether these planes were fit for their designed purpose. But on one fateful day in 1956, he had to determine much more than that – and he only had seconds to do so.
Tandy’s Memorial Day mission was to test the often-faulty oxygen system, which he discovered was still defective. While performing high altitude maneuvers, Tandy began to lose consciousness. His plane began an out-of-control descent toward a California beach packed with people enjoying the holiday weekend.
As he raced toward the ground, Tandy recovered consciousness and immediately faced the biggest decision of his life – either bail out and save himself, allowing the plane crash onto the crowded Monterey Bay beach; or fly the plane into the water to spare those on the beach. With a young bride who was pregnant with their first child, the decision was anything but easy. Yet Tandy had already made his decision the previous evening while reading his Bible.
Opening his Bible on the Sunday evening prior to his test flight, Tandy began reading the story of Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14. As he pored over the passage, one word seemed to stand out to him.
Peter said to [Jesus], “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – Matthew 14:28-29
He circled with his red pen the word “come.” Something in that word so gripped Tandy that his countenance suddenly changed. His wife saw the look on his face and asked, “Ed, am I going to lose you?” Tandy replied, “No. Why would you say that?” She asked only because she detected a certain unfamiliar look in his eyes. That night, God spoke to Lt. Ed Tandy about the importance of following His voice. Less than 24 hours later, Tandy heard God’s voice loud and clear.
To some of the people sunning on Monterey Bay beach, Tandy’s out-of-control airplane must have looked like some special holiday air show. But to a waiting young bride, pregnant with their firstborn son, it was no show at all. It was a day that would change her life – and the life of her son – forever.
In the split second he had to decide, Lt. Tandy made the decision to veer away from the beach and into the water, flying his fighter plane into glory. An eyewitness reported that the plane started to make a recovery from the crash-dive, but when the plane ran out of altitude, it suddenly dove right away into the water from the beach.
A single word from his Father in heaven gave him the courage to face his destiny. One Memorial Day 1956, a hero was welcomed into heaven.
Knowing the kind of man my Father was, my mom told me that she believed that Ed heard the same word he had circled the night before, answering the call to come." Excerpt from The Difference a Father Makes
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Published on November 1, 2019.