BIMI

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my ears because of the deafening ex- plosions, I did the only thing I could think of—and that was to pray to God. I was unsaved and knew nothing about God or prayer but somehow I knew that's what I had to do. In a few min- utes I heard the sound of small arms fire which meant the North Vietnamese were definitely overrunning the base. one of us had been issued any M-16s, and we had no way to defend ourselves. I knew any moment that a North Vietnamese soldier could throw a hand grenade in the bunker. All of us were utterly help- less and hopeless without any means of defense. Forty-eight years later, I still re- member the exact words I uttered to God. I said, “God, this is it. This is where I am going to die.” All of a sud- den like a flash of lightning, I heard the thunderous roar of planes overhead; F-4 Phantoms, C-47s, and helicopter gunships had come to our defense. The attack was driven back. I went back into our hut and after a few moments of time, the door opened. A soldier stepped in and inquired, “Does anyone in here know Eddie and Gary?” I responded, “I do, we just had breakfast together.” He replied, “They were killed by a rocket or a mortar.” I was stunned and saddened. The next day I walked by the area where they had been killed and spoke to the soldier who took care of the body bags. There was a large crater in the concrete on the flight line where they had died shortly after stepping out of that Jeep. As I reported for work that day (May 13), our NCO informed us of another intelligence briefing inform- ing us that the North Vietnamese were planning another attack. We needed additional jet fighters on alert—armed, refueled, and ready for an immedi- ate launch for an air strike. My NCO N looked at me and said, “Jim, get your plane ready for alert.” I walked out to my jet fighter to prepare it for an air strike in the event that one was needed. I refueled the plane, had it loaded with bombs, napalm, 20 MM cannon shells, and completed my pre-flight inspec- tion. A Jeep pulled up and dropped off my pilot—a Major. I assisted him in getting his parachute and helmet up to the cockpit. Together we completed our walk around inspection, pulled all pins on the bombs and landing gear. The pilot climbed up into the cock- pit and started up the plane to check all gauges. He shut the plane down. Everything checked out OK. The plane was ready to launch for an immediate air strike. Forty-eight years later, I still remember the exact words I uttered to God. “God, this is it. This is where I am going to die.” While the pilot was still seated in the cockpit, I climbed up the ladder to ask him several questions in case we had another rocket and mortar at- tack. As I stood on the ladder on the side of the fuselage looking down into the cockpit at my pilot, I said, “Sir, if there is a rocket and mortar attack, do we run to the bunker?” He answered, “No, Sarge, we do not run to the bun- ker in the event of a rocket or mortar attack.” I then said, “Sir, if the North Vietnamese drop rockets or mortars on the runway, you won't be able to take off.” He replied, “Sarge, if I can't take off on the runway, I will take off on the taxiway.” While he was still seated in the cockpit, and I was still standing on the ladder looking down into the cockpit at him, I noticed that he turned his head in a northeasterly direction and pointed with an outstretched right hand and an outstretched index finger. What was he pointing at in that direction? From my vantage point standing on the ladder, I had a clear view of the northeasterly direction. What was out there? I could clearly see the taxiway and the runway. I could see the elephant grass beyond the runway. I could see the jungle be- yond the elephant grass. My pilot was still pointing. What else was out there that was so important? There was an encampment of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles. There were times when the 101st Air- borne would call us for air strikes as they engaged the North Vietnamese in battle. Pointing with that outstretched hand in the direction of the 101st Air- borne, the Major said, “Sarge, if a call comes in from the field, someone out there needs me, and no matter what happens I am depending on you to get me off the ground.” As my pilot ut- tered those words to me, he never took his eyes off the field. hose words have stood me in good stead for forty-eight years. I am in a different war- fare now—Satan's war against Christ and the eternal souls of men and wom- en. Forty-eight years later, the Lord uses those same words to speak to me: “Jim, a call has come in from the field; someone out there needs you, and I am depending on you to get my work off the ground.” Dear friend, God uses human in- struments to get His work done. Chris- tian, a call has come in from the field; someone out there needs you, and God is depending on you to get His work off the ground. Are you the kind of Christian that God can depend on to get His work off the ground? T –Remember, somebody out there needs you! NATIONS • 15