For some reason lately I have been reflecting a lot lately on my experiences in the Marines during Panama and the Persian Gulf War- Desert Sheild/Storm.
Panama was a cat and mouse game that we had to play with the PDF that required us to be very alert and sober, but Desert Storm was a battle the big guns won and where we had air supremacy and this truly allowed us to run Sadaam's men out of Kuwait. Here is an experience of a Marine out there who came so close to the enemy that he practically had to call down fire on himself:
I never came that close and never even saw the enemy although I was a front line infantry Marine. I did survive two scud missile attacks and was involved in mine countermeasures and this makes me a combat veteran although I never once shot my weapon or killed anyone. I did have a close call in Panama and had to protect two locals who were being shot at by the PDF but chose not to fire on the PDF that night due to the tight rules of engagement along with knowing a firefight would get those men killed. As a battalion we had a confrontation with Noriegas men in the jungle as well and I sort of know the fear that this man speaks of here, but when people ask me if I killed anyone, for which some reason I get asked a lot; I just don't know what to say; but I do know that although I was trained to kill I was also trained to protect lives and in Panama I completed my missions safely and saved two lives. A lot of you may not know that prior to the invasion there were a lot of secret operations, and I was involved in some of them. Study the history. God was good there as well as we were operating around Araijan and in a very hot area where firefights were sporadically breaking out and where some Marines did get killed.
Just the other day I made a delivery down in the Jacksonville N.C. area, to a retired Marine who was in the same unit with me in Desert Storm. To help you understand something I must tell you that I was released when I returned and medals were passed out a few months and years afterward; and so he told me of all the war medals we received that I did not get. I have sent away to the retired records division to ask for them. He informed me that they count as points in some civilian jobs dealing with the government and it is important for my VA benefits as well. Please pray for me in receiving those please.
Just this week I heard the late Pastor Adrian Rogers speaking about his memories of how Americans were flooding into church during Desert Storm and calling out to God.
Truly it was a time of great fear and I can remember getting things right with God out there as well and God was faithful to see us through these attacks and mines and I also survived a fatal catastrophe out there where 10 lives were lost. It breaks my heart sometimes, when I think about how faithful God has been in my life and how unfaithful I have often been in return.
Adrian Rogers went on to point out in the message, that we build our golden calfs because at the heart we want to give the glory to ourselves or something else besides God and he reminded us that the whole country during Desert Storm was giving glory to God and then at the end of it we turned away to our golden calfs again.
We grow impatient and forget that the battle belongs to the Lord. I can remember being out there and giving thanks to God that we had air supremacy in this war, but still knowing I was in harms way. Still, if you have air supremacy, then you have the upper hand. Sadaam had 1 millon and we were only 574,000 strong and outnumbered even though that is the biggest build up we have had for any war.
We were promised the "Mother of all battles" but it ended, as the honorable Mr Cheney put it, the "Mother of all retreats". We ran the bully out of town. God was good and merciful to us back then.
I've only gotten myself into trouble when I forget that God has Air Supremacy where we can call down fire on the bullies that tempt and taunt us as believers and that the battle belongs to the Lord.
I never fired my weapons out there and came away from that war feeling like I did so little and that I had nothing to boast in, but I guess that is the whole point and God's way of grace to make it known to mankind. The medals are really the Lords doing. My combat action ribbon and the Liberation of Kuwait medal and Saudi Medal, Southwest Asia and a couple others he told me about. It was all the Lord's doing. Truly, whatever we pin on our chest or on our walls belong to Him.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Grace upon grace,