Retired Air Force Col Carlyle “Smitty” Harris was shot down over Vietnam on 4 April 1965. He spent nearly eight years as a Prisoner of War.
He recently published a book entitled Tap Code, based on the method of communication the POWs employed in the Hanoi Hilton. In an interview with the local Daily Journal in Tupelo, Harris said
There were times – too many to count – when a Read more
The Chaplain Kit, a website that bills itself as an “online chaplain’s museum,” memorialized John McCain this weekend by noting he was once “chaplain” John McCain –while he was a prisoner of war:
While not officially a chaplain, John McCain was elected one by the group of POWs who shared a cellblock with him late in the Vietnam War. McCain wasn’t chosen as chaplain “…because the senior ranking officer thought [he] was imbued with any particular extra brand of religion, but because [he] knew all of the words of the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed.”
The article includes an excerpt from McCain’s book, Faith of My Fathers, on a Christmas service held during his captivity: Read more
Chris Rodda — Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s sometime research assistant — wrote a column yesterday at the Washington Examiner saying “Bibles don’t belong on POW remembrance tables.” (Two years ago Rodda said the same thing, though it was only self-published on the Huffington Post. The Examiner opportunity was apparently created by Mike Berry’s article on the same website.)
It’s possible an editor chose her title (and also word-limited the normally very verbose Rodda), but it’s worth noting Rodda never gets around to saying why Bibles ‘don’t belong on POW tables.’
First, she says that, historically, early POW/MIA remembrance tables didn’t have Bibles. She revisits her previous strawman by saying the American Legion doesn’t include Bibles in its remembrance ceremony, as if that is remotely relevant. Her point was long ago rebutted: The issue isn’t what the Legion — or any other group — chooses to do; it’s what they prohibit others from doing.
No one is traipsing around the country demanding Bibles be included on POW/MIA tables — at the American Legion or anywhere else. What some Americans are doing is Read more
At The Ada News, a local paper from just outside Oklahoma City, Richard Putnam wrote a short piece on “Christians and Violence” entitled “The Veterans’ Chaplain.”
Putnam, who apparently supports the concept of a military and non-pacifistic defense, also says:
How…do we square the business of defending ourselves and our loved ones with Jesus’ explicit command to not engage in violence? The answer is, of course, that we cannot. We cannot obey Jesus’ command to remain nonviolent and engage in battle to protect our families.
The short column is best summed up here [emphasis added]: Read more
A local story repeated at the Stars and Stripes covers Willard Keith Staneart, who served as an Army chaplain during Vietnam. Faced with the potential of an overwhelming attack by the Viet Cong, Staneart spoke with his battalion commander:
“He said, ‘Chaplain, every one of these young men are like my own sons. Their parents and their spouses are dependent on my getting them home safely,'” Staneart said. “He says, ‘I’ve failed. They’re all going to die tonight.'”
The commander asked Staneart to go around, pray with and counsel the men.
“I took a Bible, went Read more
The Moving Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall is a half-scale representation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. The Moving Wall travels around the country, “paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The wall was recently at Desert Hot Springs, California, where a local Marine Color Guard supported its opening ceremony.
The display of the wall has also included, in at least one case, a POW/MIA Remembrance Read more
Just prior to Memorial Day retired LtGen William “Jerry” Boykin wrote a column in the Washington Times entitled “Rolling Thunder, ‘Missing Man’ tables and the Bible.” Rolling Thunder is the annual arrival in Washington, DC, or thousands of motorcyclists at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Gen Boykin notes Rolling Thunder also supports Missing Man or POW/MIA Tables around the country — something certain government agencies have actually made more difficult.
After noting the traditional makeup fo the POW/MIA table, Boykin said: Read more
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 Read more