Christian Fighter Pilot Tells Troops about Need for Faith
Guy Gruters recently spoke at a gathering at the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center at Pensacola, Florida. The first words of the official Navy article on the event are fascinating:
Guy Gruters is a religious man. You would be, too, if you’d been in his shoes.
Then-Lt Gruters was an Air Force F-100 pilot in Vietnam who, after his second shootdown, was captured and spent nearly six years as a POW. One of his cellmates was Lance Sijan, and Gruters’ testimony would strongly contribute to Sijan posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor. During his capivity, Gruters said faith was his means of survival — as it was for all the POWs:
“It was absolutely, desperately impossible to live up there,” Gruters said. “And it was impossible to get out of it. The only way we got through it was with prayer. The only way. Well, all of life is really that way.”…
One of the first orders Gruters received from Lt. Col. Robbie Risner – the highest ranking officer in his first camp – was that theirs was a God-based resistance, and that they were to do the right thing based on the Code of Conduct…
If it sounds like he’s preaching, he is…
You cannot tell the story of the POWs in Vietnam without talking about their faith. That is not to say they were all Christians, nor that their lives were perfect either during or after their captivity simply because they claimed faith. Regardless, faith is integral to their story.
Even so, there are those who are either so offended — or so afraid of offending — that they will do anything to avoid the public association of faith with the military — even if that means scrubbing from public any religious association with POWs. For some, that has included efforts to remove Bibles from POW remembrance tables. It simply doesn’t make sense. Faith is part of their story.
There’s a reason Gruters’ senior ranking officer LtCol Risner has a statue at the US Air Force Academy — one that’s nine feet tall.
And there’s a reason there’s a Bible inscription on its base.
You might be able to swipe a Bible from a table, but you can’t take faith away from the POWs — or their story.
Guy Gruters is now a fairly prolific public speaker on faith and leadership.