PGA TOUR player Blayne Barber has always loved airplanes and the military – two passions borne from his close relationship with his grandfather, 27-year military veteran Joe Shearer, also known as Jojo. So when Barber had the chance to take flight with the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squad, the Blue Angels, it was a dream come true.
“This was a pretty unbelievable experience,” said Barber. “I have always admired the bravery and selflessness of our military, so having an opportunity to not only fly with the Blue Angels but also interact with and hear the stories of these incredible American heroes was truly unforgettable.”
Growing up in Lake City, Florida, Barber and Jojo enjoyed spending time building and flying model airplanes. Along the way, Jojo shared stories about his decorated military career spanning nearly three decades. A civil engineer by trade, Jojo served three deployments as part of the U.S. Air Force and the Navy Reserves, including service in Vietnam. He achieved the rank of E9 Chief Master Sergeant, the highest rank achievable as an enlisted officer. He also worked for seven years as a contractor at Elgin Air Force Base and taught civil engineering for 12 years at Okaloosa Walton College.
“I think every day about the unflappable determination and courage of our military men and women like my grandfather, who are willing to put their lives on the line in service to our country. I’d like to express my gratitude to him and to members of our U.S. Armed Forces everywhere for keeping America safe and free.”
Barber’s experience was coordinated by the Blue Angels in collaboration with the PGA TOUR’s Birdies for the Brave military outreach initiative. For more information, please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org.