Too often Christians don’t share what’s going on in their lives—things that can encourage other believers and open their eyes to where and how God is working throughout the world. Here’s one such story about the work of Christ in one believer’s life.
In 1972, I graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and commissioned as an armor second lieutenant. My first assignment, following the Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Ky., was as an armored cavalry platoon leader in Troop C, 4th Squadron, 7th Cavalry, 2d Infantry Division, in the Republic of Korea.
Prior to deploying to Korea, I made the obligatory trek to the U.S. Cavalry Store in Radcliff, KY., to stock up on all the things that I was told a budding cavalry officer would need: all-weather plastic map case? Check. Grease pencils of various colors? Check. Flashlight with assorted filters? Check. Tanker’s boots? Check. Cavalry brass? Check. Watch with luminous dial? Check. Camouflage cover for watch with luminous dial? Check. Many and sundry other junior officer necessities? Check, check, and check.
Having stocked up on everything a young cavalry officer could conceivably need, I felt ready to take on the world! I could hardly wait to get a platoon.
Once I arrived in Korea, I was assigned as the platoon leader of third platoon in “Charlie Troop.” My platoon was awesome—inspiring even. It consisted of four gun jeeps for my scout section (plus a gun jeep for me as platoon leader), two Sheridans for my light armored section, one armored personnel carrier (APC) for my infantry squad, and one mortar carrier for my 4.2-inch mortar squad.
I had my very own combined arms team! I could hardly wait to take my guys to the field.
A couple weeks or so after I became platoon leader, the entire squadron went to the field for a week’s tactical maneuver training. Charlie Troop was responsible for screening the right half of the division front. Charlie Troop’s three-line platoons were deployed with first platoon on the left, second platoon in the center, and third platoon on the right. Our mission was to seek out the enemy and report their positions and deployments to the troop command post.
I was so proud of my men. All day we carefully and covertly sought out the enemy, and I meticulously noted and reported the strength, activities, and locations of the opposing enemy force. I recorded and updated friendly force positions in black on my map case and enemy positions in red, grateful I had thought to stock up on everything I needed.
As I monitored the troop’s radio net that first day, I noted that my platoon seemed to be finding and reporting considerably more than the other two platoons. As it should be, I thought!
Just after dark that first day, the troop commander put out a radio call for all platoon leaders to rally to his location to receive the updated operations order for that night and the following day. Because we were observing tactical sound and light discipline, my trip to meet the troop commander and other platoon leaders was especially slow; my driver had to drive in pitch black using only the jeep’s blackout lights.
Since white light is visible at great distances at night, we platoon leaders—all inexperienced second lieutenants—had been reminded numerous times that we should only use red lenses on our flashlights.
Since we had the farthest to travel, my driver and I were the last to arrive at the troop commander’s location. As soon as I had dismounted my jeep, the troop commander immediately informed me he was going to brief the next day’s plan using my map case.
Yes! I knew for sure I had not missed anything that had transpired that day, and I felt honored that the troop commander had chosen to use my map case.