As recently noted in the article on There Are No Atheist in Foxholes, men and women in the military–indeed, in the world–often sense the hand of a higher power when they survive what should otherwise have been a fatal encounter.
Another recent example was that of US Marine Lance Cpl. Andrew Koenig, who was shot in the head…but the bullet didn’t penetrate his helmet. He sported a welt and the shock of being hit, but returned to his position to continue fighting. Koenig’s reaction was typical of many:
“I don’t think I could be any luckier than this,” Lance Cpl. Koenig said two hours after the shooting.
Others saw the hand of Someone bigger:
“He’s alive for a reason,” Tim Coderre, a North Carolina narcotics detective working with the Marines as a consultant, told one of the men. “From a spiritual point of view, that doesn’t happen by accident.”
With enough patience one can find many similar stories of people Read more
The phrase “there are no atheists in foxholes” is not without controversy. (In fact, one Soldier even went so far as to file an official complaint because an officer used the “discriminatory” phrase.) The old saying, whose origin is unknown, isn’t meant as a moral conclusion or a statement of fitness. It simply characterizes the belief that in extreme situations and faced with mortal danger, many people are open to the concept of some form of higher power.
There are certainly examples of the opposite truth. A New Hampshire publication Read more
As US forces continue to draw down their equipment and leave Iraq, there are some unique items that troops are having to deal with.
As bases were built and initial combat conducted, a variety of memorials began to surface as units looked for ways to remember the fallen. Some bases have T-barriers painted with murals, and others have entire walls covered with the names of those who paid the ultimate price at their nation’s call.
PFC Oscar Martinez is one such Marine. He was killed in a rocket attack on Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq in 2004. His unit made a 3 foot tall aluminum cross and placed it on the base in his memory–nearly six years ago.
USMC Photo (Cpl Bobbie Curtis)
Now that bases are closing and being turned over to the Iraqis, Read more
The Commandant of the Marine Corps has said that the Marines’ “amphibious readiness may be suffering” after years of fighting on land. In short, the wars that they are fighting now may be detracting from the tactics and training that the Marines may require to fight a future conflict.
The same is true for the Air Force. One of the hardest things to do as a fighter pilot Read more
The Military Times papers have now picked up on the previously noted story about Army Chaplain (Lt) Thomas Dyer, a former Marine and Baptist pastor who converted to Buddhism and joined the Army National Guard (as published in the Tennessean).
The most recent article did have some interesting (and sometimes controversial) comments. For example, despite the accusations that Chaplains can never evangelize, the article does provide the qualifier: Read more
Thomas Dyer grew up Presbyterian and enlisted in the Marines. Feeling threatened by the training he was receiving to kill, he left the Marines and attended Mid-America Baptist Seminary, eventually becoming a Baptist preacher. His inability to find happiness as a Christian led him to convert to Buddhism. Having obviously given up his job as a Protestant preacher, he joined the Army National Guard and was commissioned a Chaplain in 2008. He will deploy to Iraq in January.
The article on Dyer is quite interesting, detailing both his wife’s reaction (she stands by him, though she hopes he’ll return to Christianity) and Dyer’s own lifelong search for fulfillment. Read more
Captain Scott O’Grady is best known as the F-16 pilot shot down during Operation Deny Flight over the former Yugoslavia in 1995. He survived for five and a half days — during which no one even knew he was alive — before being rescued. Upon his return home he was declared a hero, a title he eschewed and passed on to the Marines who lifted him to safety.
The book details the mission from his arrival at work until the missile took his jet out from under him; it then describes the days he spent on the ground hoping for a rescue. Interspersed are back stories of his life and his family back in the US as they learned of his shootdown. The retelling of the organization of the rescue effort and its subsequent execution — which was completed about 5 hours after the initial radio contact — is well done.
Regrettably, O’Grady became a victim of Read more
On 12 March 2007, General Peter Pace (bio), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave an interview to the Chicago Tribune in which he was asked his thoughts on the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of homosexuality in the military. Part of his reply has been the center of some debate:
“I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts… I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior.”
Literally hundreds of internet “blogs” and other media sources have pontificated about the General’s comments Read more