I'm sure most of you have heard about the Navy SEALs team who were killed in Afghanistan over the weekend. Such a tragedy! As a girl who has military members scattered all throughout my family (my husband, multiple brother in laws, cousins) I thought I'd share a little piece with you. My brother in law, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dennis Lorenz is a Chinook Helicopter Pilot for the US Army. He has been to Iraq a couple of times for over a year at a time. Its rough for my sister and their 3 kids but as a military wife, its something that needs to be done. He was asked to write a story for a book called Faith in the Service about an experience he had about keeping his faith. The book is filled with stories and experiences by Mormons that serve in the military. A great read! There are so many scary things that happen on the front lines, some are tragic and some make you stronger. This book is about the later of the two.
This is the description of the book straight from Deseret Book, I take no credit for writing this :)
This riveting collection of stories from Latter- day Saint men and women serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, and other locations around the world offers a remarkable record of uncommon courage and dedicated service. In their own words, these men and women describe feeling the Lord's blessings as they have served in some of the most harsh and difficult circumstances imaginable. Their experiences range from leading armed combat and air rescue missions to saving lives in a makeshift hospital tent. Also included are stories of much-needed help and support received by families of those who are serving away from home. These life-changing stories, recorded in on- site personal interviews by bestselling author and artist Chad Hawkins, are reminders that the Lord does watch over and protect His children during troubling times. Features black-and-white photographs throughout.
This is a story by Dennis.
"God Be With You Till We Meet Again"
Iraq, July 2007
"God Be With You Till We Meet Again"
Iraq, July 2007
My first Sunday in Iraq was on the Balad Airfield base. It was fast Sunday, and during the sacrament meeting a brother shared a recent experience and his testimony. His words left a lasting impression on me. He explained that he was a civilian truck driver and had been serving in Iraq for nearly four years. For the last year, he was promised he could work exclusively in the safer, secured area known as "inside the wire." One day, his co-workers were shorthanded and needed a driver to accompany them on a long and potentially dangerous convoy mission. He was nervous about going because of recent IED attacks on convoys. He originally declined but later agreed to assist the team.
The day came, and he suited up in armor and climbed into his semi truck. With the engines running, all the vehicles were ready to leave base. All drivers were listening to their two-way radios for final instructions. The Air Force radio operator on base broadcast final route details to the drivers and then concluded by saying, "God be with you till we meet again."
He wondered, "Why did the radio operator say those words? Were those words meant for me?" Those final words provided comfort to him during his dangerous mission.
After the convoy reached its destination, it immediately turned around and headed back to base. On their way back, another military convoy passed them heading in the opposite direction. Within five minutes, the second convoy was hit by an IED, killing seven. The blast occurred at a location where he'd been only moments before. As this brother arrived back on base, he immediately went to find the radio operator. He asked the operator why he had said, "God be with you till we meet again." The radio operator responded, "Because those words are a part of my faith." The driver hugged the man and said, "It is a part of my faith too. Thank you!"
The spirit was there as this story was related. It was an emotional moment for all present. The timing of this story was very important for me because I was new to Iraq. This brother's story helped me to accept for the first time the real danger of my situation. His testimony inspired me from the very beginning of my deployment to have a hymn in my heart and its words in my mind. I fly helicopters outside the wire four or five times a week, and I never leave without singing a hymn to myself. The hymns have definitely comforted me and soothed my nerves.
On three occasions, I have had close calls with catastrophe. One of these scary moments came when we had problems with in-flight aerodynamics. During such sudden and intense moments, flight crews refer to what happens to their bodies as a "pucker factor." This is when all the muscles in your body are tense, defensive state. As I was piloting through one such moment, everyone on board was in the pucker factor-except me. I did not have that feeling. Instead, I had a feeling of being hugged-and I did not worry. We were able to get out of that situation and everyone collected themselves. When I brought the helicopter in to land, I had the same feeling of comfort and knew there was no problem. I am grateful that the Spirit was with me.
I've heard a lot of military stories in my life from my family. But its so nice to hear happy endings. Unfortunately a lot of them don't have happy endings, like the Navy SEALs over the weekend. My thoughts and prayers go out to their families! I've sent my husband on a deployment before and let me tell you, its not fun! Every day I worried, had sleepless nights, and hated answering the door when someone unexpected knocked. But even through all that its important to keep your faith and trust in the Lord to protect them. I believe that there is life after death and even though those families are mourning right now of their loss, I know that someday they will be with them again in the next life!
~God be with you till we meet again~