Blue Angels Fat Albert Pilot Mark Montgomery talks about the most fun he’s had in the air, as well as how much “Month of the Military Child” means to him.
What’s better than pizza, snacks and a visit from a Blue Angels pilot on a Friday afternoon?
That was what lunchtime consisted of for children of military parents enrolled at Gulf Breeze Middle School on Friday. Since April is “Month of the Military Child,” senior Fat Albert pilot and Marine Corps Maj. Mark Montgomery stopped by the school to chat with the roughly 10 percent of GBMS students who are sons or daughters of servicemen.
“This is the best part of the job,” said Montgomery, who has been with the Blue Angels for three years. “Flying is fun, but flying without really seeing anybody, it doesn’t really bring out the job. These are the kids that watch the Blues, they watch us practice and that’s why it’s kind of an honor to give a little something back to them.”
Montgomery’s visit was split into three lunch periods attended by approximately 35-40 military children apiece in the school’s library.
A Blue Angels tribute video was played on the library pull-down projector, there was Blue Angels trivia, prize giveaways and a lunch catered by Domino’s pizza.
Montgomery spent time talking with kids individually and also sent a message to the group as a whole, attempting to motivate them to do their best.
“Each day you can go out and go to school, you can sit in class and play on your phone under the desk and not pay attention or you can try to do your work and try to do the best you can,” Montgomery said to the students.
Montgomery was not a son of military parents but is a military father, so spending time Friday to show his appreciation and understanding for kids in the same situation meant a lot to him, he said.
“These parents make the sacrifice, these kids have moved 9 or 10 times, they’ve lived everywhere,” Montgomery said. “Some of them lived in Asia, some lived in Europe and here they are again, putting on the brave face, going to a new school every couple of years. To be able to come in here and talk to them in an intimate setting, it’s an honor. I really enjoy it.”