Vietnam: The Manchus of Charlie Company

Greetings friends,

I want to say upfront just how difficult this article has been to write. As my personal friends and immediate family members, as well as those of you on my mailing list know, my understanding of war among men and nations is not a popular topic around the water-cooler. The things I have written from the scriptures are crystal clear, but those opposed to them have taken many things out of context rather than admit the Lord Jesus Christ actually said these things before any of his followers followed in his footsteps. The main purpose of this article is to introduce you to the men of Charlie Company and their unbelievable stories during a time of great division and bitterness in America over the Vietnam war. Moreover, this article is my attempt to bring balance to the New Testament teachings concerning Christian involvement in warfare while at the same time honoring, respecting, and paying tribute to soldiers as Paul taught in Romans 12-13.

Last year I wrote and posted to our website an article entitled “Pacifist, Patriot, or Pilgrim” which highlighted the story of a longtime personal friend of mine, Larry Ward. Larry and I grew up in the same small town in Iowa, went to college together, and entered the Army about the same time. After our basic and advance combat training we both received orders for Officers Candidate School, his in infantry and mine in logistics. We were both in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet offensive but didn’t know it. As a matter of fact we were only twenty miles or so apart as I was with Headquarters Command in Saigon and he in Cu Chi with C (Charlie) Company, 4th Battalion, 9th “Manchu” (their nick-name) Regiment of the 25th Infantry Division.

Even though the battles raged in and around Saigon with the 25th Division, the Army still allowed soldiers to go on R&R for one week. Larry had made arrangements before Tet to meet and marry his girlfriend, Cheryl, in Hawaii, so off he went. By this time in his one year tour of duty he had moved up as the XO or executive officer of Charlie Company. Upon his arrival back to Saigon with his new bride fresh in his mind and heart, and still not knowing that I was just across the street from the Air Force base, he was informed of a major battle taking place near the bridge at Hoc Mon. It was March 2, 1968, a date that will be forever remembered by the men and families of Charlie Company. All Larry could do was listen to the radio relays as his friends were being ambushed and massacred by the North Vietnamese army units that had set the trap. When it was all over fifty-eight American soldiers lay dead in their blood, with twenty-eight more severely wounded.

A couple of months later our mothers back in Iowa realized their sons were stationed very close to one another in Vietnam and contacted us. The Tet offensive had pretty much been crushed, so Larry came to see me in Saigon. I will never forget, even now after forty years, how good it was to see my old friend. It wasn’t long and he began to brief me on the details of Hoc Mon and Charlie Company. He was moved deeply in his heart as he recounted how he was not there with them on that dark day. He had seen many days of combat and told me about many experiences, but clearly Hoc Mon was burned deep into his heart.

Upon returning to the States we met up again as students at the University of Northern Iowa. He was also the company commander of an infantry reserve company. He asked me to join the unit and become his XO, which I did and our friendship continued on for two more years. Then my father was taken ill and I decided to enter the family business, while Larry continued with the reserves and moved to Illinois. Sadly, we then lost contact with each other. A few years later Carol and I moved to Phoenix where we have been for the last twenty-five years.

Larry and I were reunited a few years ago and plan on staying that way until we leave this planet for Heaven. We recalled those days of Tet and our meeting in Saigon. My foggy memories of those days were beginning to clear up. Then in July of this year Larry asked me to join him for the annual September reunion of the Manchus to be held in San Antonio. I almost wept as I realized that I would finally meet some of those who survived Hoc Mon and many other battles of Charlie Company.

As the day approached for my flight to Dallas to meet Larry, where we would drive together to San Antonio, Carol and I were talking about what I should say to Larry’s friends. Carol looked at me and said “just listen to them”. I knew by this short exhortation from my Godly wife that I was to respect and honor these men as I do Larry. When Larry and I met in Dallas to begin our journey to San Antonio we immediately began to share our experiences in Vietnam. I told him about the young corporal from Alabama under my command who was killed by a sniper’s bullet, and how a few days later another sniper took aim at my head and missed. As I was writing a letter to accompany his belongings back home, I knew this young man’s face would be with me forever. My life would never be the same. Then Larry looked at me and said he had written fifty-eight letters to families of the men who died at Hoc Mon. Upon hearing that, all I wanted to do was lay down and cry for my friend and the men of Charlie Company.

We arrived in San Antonio and finally, after going around in circles for awhile, we found the hotel. Larry had told me to bring my golf clubs making me think we would play a lot of golf, which I enjoy more and more as I grow older. It’s also great exercise that restrains my arthritic ankle, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In fact, we played only one time on the first day, and I managed to tie another man for first place, whose name is also Larry, I think. But after listening to Larry’s friends that night, I told Dan McKinney, one of the tournament organizers, I could not accept any trophy and for them to give it solely to the other man. For in my heart I didn’t even belong in the same room with these men who suffered and sacrificed so much for their country.

I must confess that after spending several days with the men from Charlie Company my understanding of the “wars and rumors of war” that Jesus prophesied for the last days before his second coming was confirmed, Matthew 24, Luke 21. Moreover, all of the great men of Charlie Company hate war and know up close and personal the physical and emotional scars of battle. There were many things said by these men that could fill the pages of a book, but for the sake of your time I will try to limit my observations. This is just a small part of what I heard and witnessed among them:

Dan McKinney

Dan told us that he been assigned to Charlie Company for only five days when the ambush of Hoc Mon happened. He was surrounded by men who had lived through many battles and his memories of being with his wife, Linda, were recent and fresh. He said the moment machine-gun and rifle fire began he fell to the ground as the hail of bullets seemed to be coming from everywhere. As he lay there, bullets ripped into his feet and legs, as shrapnel from grenades or mortars grazed his head. Then a bullet hit him in the back. He thought he was dying and blood saturated the ground around him. Dan looked to one side and saw a dead friend. He looked to his other side to see another friend who was wounded but alive. Just then, a bullet struck the soldier between the eyes and Dan watched the life leave his body. The way Dan told his story made you feel like you were there with him on that day forty years ago. Soon there came upon him a medic, who saw that Dan was still alive but in great pain, so he gave him a shot of morphine to bring him relief. Dan watched as the medic moved out to treat another soldier when another wave of bullets took him down, killing him instantly.

Just a side note to those who might read this that confess to be secular or religious pacifists. I was told by Larry that some of the medics he served with were pacifists or conscientious objectors, yet chose to serve as medics. The soldiers of Charlie Company I talked to all expressed their deep respect and admiration for these medics who gave their lives while they were treating the wounds of their fallen friends. They are all heroes in their eyes. When Dan was sharing this dreadful day with us, his daughter, Tina, who always comes to these reunions with her father, was visibly moved as we all were, and I knew how thankful she was to the medic who saved her father’s life. As I watched Tina and Linda, I thought of Carol and our daughter, Tiffany, and wished they were there with me. Dan then recounted for us how he was falling in and out of consciousness. He could hear voices of the enemy soldiers moving through the battlefield, killing the wounded Americans on the ground. When they came to his location they saw the dead men beside Dan and all of the blood that covered his head and body and thought he was dead as well. Dan calls it a God thing.

Dan is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. All of his Manchu friends know that Dan and his family love God. I will never forget the night when twenty-three of us, including some wives, were getting ready to eat dinner along the riverwalk of San Antonio. Dan stood up and asked all of us to join hands and ask God to bless this meal and the friendships of his Manchu brothers. His boldness for God and love for his Manchu brothers has humbled me immensely. It is an honor to now be the friend of Dan McKinney and his family.

Sal Cannizzaro

Sal was the first one from Charlie Company who shared with me how much he respected and loved my friend, Larry Ward. Sal and I were sitting around with others as he waited for his wife to arrive from the airport, when he said that he and some others wanted to be in Larry’s platoon, because he had the reputation of caring for and protecting his men. Sal knew what I had known from high school, that Larry was a remarkable leader who could also be a loyal friend. But then Sal began to choke a little as he remembered another Lieutenant he served under with Charlie Company. When this man took over the platoon, Sal sensed something was troubling the young Lieutenant. Sal had a conversation with his new leader which revealed his indifference towards God. This comment would later change Sal’s life forever.

On a mission when Sal was walking through the jungle and trees right next to the Lieutenant, sniper fire from the trees put every man on the ground. I will never forget the look in Sal’s eyes as he told me his Lieutenant was mortally wounded. Sal moved closer to comfort him only to hear the Lieutenant say “Oh God” as he took his last breath. It was all I could do to keep my composure as I watched Sal. I knew that image of the Lieutenant had been with Sal for forty years and replayed in his heart just as long. He didn’t tell me, but I knew that Sal would never doubt the existence of God from that day forward. At that point his wife, Gail, arrived from the airport and we all readied ourselves for dinner. Little did I know, but this was Gail’s very first Manchu reunion and that her life was about to change as well.

The desire to go golfing had now totally departed from me and was replaced by a God-given compassion upon these men from Charlie Company. I wanted to know them and become their friend. At the same time I knew the scriptural truth about war that I hold to might someday come between us. If they were anything like my friend, Larry, who knows what I believe about America and Christian involvement in carnal wars, we would remain friends and grow together in the grace and knowledge of God, our Savior. Larry is not sure in his mind about my controversial stand about America as Babylon of the New Testament, but he is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and knows that repentance of sin and faith in the shed blood of Jesus is the only way to enter Heaven when he dies. This is the root foundation of our friendship upon which all other knowledge must rest.

This truth of eternal life only through the Lord was deepened in Larry’s heart as he has been diagnosed with CLL or Leukemia brought on by his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam. There were hundreds of men and some family members that attended the Manchu reunion, and Agent Orange exposure was a popular topic of conversation. Most of us have come down with diseases associated with these deadly toxins that entered our bodies like time-release capsules that exploded within us as we have grown older. Government scientists have proven this to be true. When compared to the average population, these deadly diseases are much more prevalent and struck us at earlier ages than normal. In my case, insulin resistance leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease which necessitated open-heart surgery, have almost taken me down. But the skillful hands of a heart surgeon and multiple medicines have restrained these diseases and restored the life of my body for a time.

Murray “Bird” Birnbaum

What can I say about Bird? If it were not for him I would have been drained from the emotions stirred by listening to these men. My heart was heavy with sorrow for the men of Charlie Company. To me, it was like God sending Bird among us to tell the funny stories even in the midst of death and destruction. He had me in uncontrollable laughter many times. But there was a serious side to Bird. He was one of those soldiers known as Tunnel Rats, men who would enter alone into the small caves and tunnels where the Viet Cong either hid or initiated ambushes upon the Americans. He knew the risks he was taking. Bird never shared with me his religious views, but we all knew he was born Jewish. He was asked why he regularly attended the Chaplain’s Christian services before they went out on a mission. He said he wanted to “cover all of the bases” in case he was killed.

There were no tears of laughter rolling down our faces when Bird told us about the Viet Cong soldier who came through the bushes right in front of him with his rifle pointed at his heart. Something must have delayed the enemy soldier for Bird raised his weapon and killed the soldier instantly. Again my heart was filling up with sorrow as I watched the pain in Bird’s eyes. But there was more, much more, to the story. Bird said he went up to the dead body and quickly saw this soldier was no more than boy, maybe a young teenager. Grief began to overcome Bird as he noticed a necklace on the dead boy. And on that necklace was a cross. He had killed a Christian, a believer in the God of Israel. If that was not enough, he also reached into the pocket of the boy and found a picture. The images on that picture were of the boy and his mother. Bird’s life would never be the same. When he returned home he carried with him that picture and necklace. He told us that he spent ten years in the VA hospital trying to deal with what he had done.

I forgot to mention that Bird and Sal grew up together in New York and went to the same high school. It was not a accident or coincidence that both men were also assigned to Charlie Company and had a great reunion when they met. As I listened to Bird, I said to myself “God was preparing them for something”. Bird’s wife, Dianne, was also with us in San Antonio. And she and Gail had never met, for Bird was now living in Florida. Like Gail, this was Dianne’s first Manchu reunion. On the last day of the reunion I witnessed Dianne and Gail embracing, weeping, and declaring they were now friends forever. I could now understand why Sal and Bird where both assigned to Charlie Company forty years ago. God is a patient God is he not? It was a beautiful sight that I will never forget.

Dianne told me that she was a Christian who struggled with war, and hated war even more as she lived with the emotional destruction it inflicted upon her beloved Jewish husband. She clearly knew the teachings of her Lord Jesus Christ that forbids Christians to make war, but yet she wondered why Christian men in America today seem to be the most eager to take up arms against America’s enemies. It is indeed very confusing and causes great stress among friends and families.

All of us should know that Jesus is coming again to “make war” on the proud and selfish war mongers of this world system who reject Jesus Christ “and” his teachings, Revelation 19:11. That simple truth makes it impossible for me to be a classic Christian pacifist who believes that all wars are wrong and evil. The Old Testament wars Israel fought were directed by God himself, therefore they cannot be called evil. When Jesus finally came to Israel from Heaven to die on the cross for all of us, shedding his pure blood to save us from our sin nature, he postponed warfare for those who would follow him. Instead, we are called “in this age” before his second coming to pick up our own cross and call our enemies to repentance rather than kill them. We are spiritually from another Kingdom which is not of this world system, John 18:36.

We who know Jesus is alive, believe he is coming to imprison the fallen angels and Satan, who deceives all nations of this world and stirs up mankind’s sin nature that is filled with pride, lusts, and hatred that are the root of all wars among men. There is coming a time when Christians from all ages, in our resurrected bodies, will be with him on that final day of wrath known as Armageddon, Revelation 19:14-21, 14:14-20. We will witness and participate in carnage and bloodshed that makes Hoc Mon, even D-Day, pale in comparison. This is the only “just” war for Christians and we must suffer rejection and persecution, as Jesus did, until that day when our Lord returns to judge the living and the dead. For he alone is worthy and able to judge fairly and righteously among men.

William (Bill) Hunter

Bill Hunter and his son, Scott, were the first of Larry’s friends that I had the honor and privilege to meet. On the first day Larry and I played a round of golf with them, and I was quickly made aware that Bill was the holder of a trophy from last years Manchu reunion. I’m not sure, but I think it was a trophy for the “oddest” shot of the day. The trophy would stay in the family, for Scott’s drive on a par four was one of the weirdest movements of a golf ball I have ever seen. Bill was much like Bird in that he provided the much needed laughter that broke the heaviness of remembering the evil of war.

It is forever etched in my heart the day some of us went to the Vietnam memorial in San Antonio. As we walked around the statue depicting a fallen soldier being comforted by his friend, and reading the prayers and poems written on the walls, I noticed some of these old soldiers weeping openly then wiping the tears from their eyes. A young lady not with us was standing nearby and was visibly moved by the love and compassion she saw in these men. She had been taking pictures of the memorial and asked if all of us would pose for a picture in front of the statue. As we all gathered together, I heard the voice of Bill Hunter, who must be at least 6′ 4″ tall, coming from behind the memorial. Bill removed all tears of sadness and replaced them with tears of laughter as he said “wait for me, make room for 320 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal”. You must know that Bill carries with him an oxygen tank and is suffering from PTSD, as well as the ravaging diseases caused by Agent Orange, to understand just how funny that was.

Andy Gayle

Andy was the company commander of Charlie Company when Larry arrived in Vietnam and these fine officers had not seen each other for forty years. When Larry was told that his former CO was there in another room he immediately went to see him. Andy looked at Larry and said “Larry Ward, you have not changed a bit”. Later that night Andy, Larry, myself, and several others were sitting in the hotel lobby talking about the two topics that break up families and cause wars, religion and politics. At first I sat there obeying my wife’s exhortation, just listening to Andy, fascinated by his knowledge of religious and political history, and his soft tone that made me think I was sitting under a learned professor. And yet this aging veteran was a career soldier, retiring as a Colonel. He was easy to listen to and my respect for him grew immensely in a very short time.

When he paused, I asked him what he thought of Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia, and if this was bringing America and Russia to the brink of war, either hot or cold. Before he could answer, I continued to add detail to my question by stating that I understood the history of the Roman Empire after the time of Jesus Christ to be very relevant to the question. For the followers of the risen Lord, who were also Roman citizens, refused to join with the emperor in his wars of defense or conquest, just as the apostles who wrote the New Testament had done. It was later Christian leaders, like Constantine and Augustine, who reversed the policy and doctrine of the apostles and the “just” war doctrine for Christians was born. And when Rome’s power was divided into the Eastern and Western branches, the cultures of each migrated into Russia and America with each branch thinking they had been given by God the task of establishing the dominion of the Kingdom of God on the Earth “before” Jesus could return.

I forgot to mention to Andy at the time that this is exactly what the prophet Daniel saw in the vision given to him by God, Daniel 7&8. Daniel said two Little Horns (younger nations) would arise at the end of the age to compete for world dominion, and bring about a bloodbath that would usher in the return of the Messiah to save the people of the world from themselves and their wayward leaders. Andy looked at me and appeared to agree with my understanding of Roman history and said he was very concerned about Russia and their alliances with the radical Moslem states like Iran, which is known in history books as Persia, Ezekiel 38.

Andy left Vietnam before the Tet offensive of 1968, so he was not there to witness firsthand what happened to his company at Hoc Mon. He returned for a second tour with the 101st Airborne Division and was again a company commander in the battle that became known as Hamburger Hill, one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam war, the kind they make movies about.

Watty Smith

Watty was not a member of Charlie Company, but from what I witnessed and heard he was the honorary member of those I have written about so far. He was the CO of Bravo Company, and was a friend of Andy Gayle while in Vietnam. Watty is no stranger to the diseases cause by exposure to Agent Orange. From what he told us he was among the first returning veterans to approach the Defense Department and the VA about the diseases that were attacking his body. He said it was a long struggle with the bureaucracy, but in the end they conceded there was a connection between Agent Orange and these killer diseases. We all owe men like Watty a debt of gratitude for taking his stand against powerful men in high places.

Watty told us of a time when his company was out in the field as the aircraft that sprayed these toxins flew low right over them and he would wave at them as they passed overhead, not knowing they were raining down death upon them. I had already been introduced to Watty’s southern wit and humor, but I still didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Watty and his wife of fifty-two years, Helen, brought all of the southern grace and charm of Tennessee to our conversations. It was a mixed group that often gathered together for meals and the chats in the hotel lobby. I was amazed to see this Tennessee couple with their southern accent, so enjoying the presence of their friends from New York, Sal and Bird. Listening to them was like hearing two different languages. I knew their experiences together with the 4th Battalion was what bound them together forever.

During one of our chats, Watty, Andy, and Bird recalled and told the story about the 4th Battalion’s “secret river crossing” that should be written down for all the men of the 4th Battalion to read. It is a classic story which, if made into a movie would surpass the fame of the Clint Eastwood movie, “Kelly’s Heroes”. As the story goes, the battalion commander was given intelligence that some American POW’s were being help in a camp across the Saigon river. Eager to free their brothers in arms, a mission plan was put into operation that involved the entire battalion. It was to be a quiet river crossing to take the enemy camp by surprise.

Watty said that as the battalion moved out, Charlie Company was to cross the river in large rubber rafts, securing the far side of the river enabling the other companies to assemble a pre-sectioned bridge to cross the river. When Andy’s raft started out across the river, the current apparently took his raft downstream and he realized he was separated from his men. He stood up in the raft and shouted to his company they were off course. The man steering Andy’s raft told him to sit down or it would overturn and they would all end up in the river. Andy said “I am the Captain” and the soldier said “I don’t care who you are, sit down”. While Andy was struggling to change course, the other rafts were reaching the other shore. The first man jumped off the raft and immediately sunk in marshy quicksand. He was stuck and unable to move, as Bird now picked up the story with his infamous New York dialect. By then we were all laughing so hard it hurt.

Watty broke in again with his southern drawl saying while this was going on a couple of enemy soldiers were now spotted on top of the hill across the river. They began to fire their weapons high into the air for the battalion was out their range. Watty said they heard the rifle blasts and watched as the bullets eventually hit the water next to them. After all of this the entire battalion finally made it across the river and the men were still determined to free the POW’s, even though the element of surprise was now obviously lost. Watty said when they reached their objective, all psyched-up to rescue and save their fellow soldiers, all they found was a couple of bicycles and a duck. Needless to say, we all were beside ourselves in laughter. The intelligence was obviously flawed for there was no trace of any POW.

Don Crowley

I have purposely placed Don at the end of this article. Of all the new friends I found in San Antonio, Don seems to represent them all, the common thread that flows through each of them. His devoted wife, Mary, has inspired him to remain active with his friends. You could see the determination in her eyes as she helped him minister to his long-time friends. For many of these Manchus looked to him for spiritual guidance when they were in the combat zones of Vietnam. He was then the Battalion Chaplain and retired years later as a Brigadier General. I believe he was of the Baptist persuasion, so he knew the road to eternal life in Jesus Christ. He was there by their side, as they fought and died.

Don recounted several stories to me personally that moved me tears more than once. The one that I will never forget involved the ambush and massacre at Hoc Mon. After the battle was over, when the remainder of the 4th Battalion crushed the enemy who had killed their friends in Charlie Company, Don was one of the first men to walk through the battlefield. The helicopters were coming in to remove the dead and wounded so Don, along with another man, rushed to pick up everyone of his dead friends and put them in assembly areas. He said “I picked up all fifty-eight of them” as my heart was about to burst from my chest. This Godly man reminded me how horrible war really is and how much our loving and merciful God hates what men do to each other.

As Don was moving from body to body at Hoc Mon, he grabbed the arms of a fallen soldier who others assumed was dead and not one of the wounded. Keep in mind this is many hours after the battle had ended. Don said as he grabbed the man’s arms they felt warm, and Don’s heart leaped with hope within him as he yelled for the medics and doctors to come to his aid. The wounded soldier was saved, but in the rush to gather the dead Don didn’t get his name.

I wanted Don to understand why I was with the Manchus in San Antonio. I told him about Larry, how we had grown up together. My fervent prayer is that Don will read this article and ask our God to confirm from the scriptures what I have written here and on my website. I am convinced in the Lord that men can be saved, spirit-filled Christians and yet not fully understand the prophecies relating to the second coming and the alignment of the nations with America’s role in the end times. None of us have all the answers.

We are all growing together through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. We must be patient with one another. But Christians who are indwelled by the Spirit of God all share one thing and that is faith in the pre-millennial coming of the Lord, which is part and parcel of the gospel of the bloody cross. The Lord’s bodily resurrection links them together. The cross and pre-millennial coming of the risen Jesus cannot be separated. Pre-millennial simply means the second coming is imminent, that Jesus will come in judgment to intervene in the affairs of men and then establish his earthly Kingdom which lasts for one-thousand years. Any other teaching on this is a deception that will lead one to follow the coming Antichrist.

We should all be weeping for our country, not its political-religious-economic systems and institutions, but our friends, family, and neighbors who are trapped in the moral decay that would make Sodom and Gomorrah blush with shame. It is that bad my friends and know that judgment is at the gate. You can see the “beginnings” of it everywhere as the divine rain of the wrath of God falls lightly upon all economic-religious-political institutions. There is coming a period of time when his wrath will be poured out in its fullness upon all those who refuse his mercy and grace, Revelation 15:1.

I also shared with Don how I became a Christian. My wife, Carol, had suggested that I be a good listener, which I remembered every day, but I was now sitting before a humble and kind man who is gifted by God with the ability to listen and encourage others to open up their hearts. He has the heart of a pastor. I wanted to pour my heart out to this man, and I did. I told him how I turned to atheism after the war, even telling my Godly mother who raised me to believe in Jesus Christ, that I no longer believed in the Lord. It was like a knife going into my mother’s heart, but I was filled with hate and pride, only thinking of myself.

After ten years of walking in the darkness of atheism, a Jewish man and his Christian wife moved into our community of two-thousand German ancestry residents. Many of them hated this man, but he and his dear wife befriended Carol and me, and we responded in kind. His wife was troubled by all their personal problems and was being convicted by the Lord to renew her faith. Her Jewish husband was also coming under conviction and soon he came to me suggesting that Carol and I join them Sunday for church services. At first I refused, even lambasting him for being a Jew whose ancestors, as a nation, rejected Jesus as their Messiah. But the fact that a Christ rejecting Jew was now coming to me, a former Christian who became an atheist after the war, perplexed me greatly so we decided to join them the following Sunday.

This Sunday service was not what I expected, for there were thousands of people there to watch a movie called “Distant Thunder” which chronicled the Bible’s prophecies about the end times. It was riveting and at the end the pastor got up and asked all those who wanted to be forgiven and have their sin natures washed away by the blood of Jesus to come forward. Our wives immediately ran down the isle leaving my Jewish friend and me in our seats. We looked at each other, and without a word, followed our wives to the alter. The pastor came over to the four of us now weeping and kneeling, almost laying on the floor. He didn’t know us from Adam and Eve, but he began to pray over us. He reminded us of the Jewish holocaust in Germany, and how another one was on the horizon for Israel, just as the movie depicted. Little did the pastor know, but my Jewish friend was suffering great trouble and persecution in my little German village. And so was I for standing up for him among my former friends and business colleagues.

This was the beginning of a new life for Carol and me and our children. Now, some thirty years later, after sharing this testimony with thousands of people, I find myself back to square one, my life as a soldier. I now know the Lord arranged for me to be with these wonderful men in San Antonio so that I could reconcile in my mind, and re-confirm in my heart two fundamental truths that I alluded to in the beginning of this article.

First, is how Christian Americans should honor, respect, and pay tribute to veterans who suffered and sacrificed themselves for others, even though what we did was in ignorance of who really rules in the hearts of all mankind. Our rulers are the fallen angels, who none of us have yet seen face to face. This is a hard reality, I know, to put your faith in a Biblical truth that cannot be verified by our own eyes. But it is true none the less, and someday mankind will see these evil beings as God will allow them to show themselves in the coming tribulation outlined in the book of Revelation.

Secondly, because of the presence of these evil angels and their rule over all nations including America, which God allows because of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the followers of Christ are to remain loyal to the Kingdom of Heaven and understand that all of us are born with a sin nature that is filled with the pride of this life, the love of money and self, deception, and hatred, which are the root causes of all wars among men and nations. These elements of our sin nature are manipulated by the unseen fallen angels to do what these evil ones love the most, destroying and killing the men and women who God created and wants to save from their sins.

This generation has witnessed the return of the Jewish people to form a sovereign Israel in 1948, thereby fulfilling the very prophecy that would start the clock which ends with the second coming of Jesus Christ to imprison Satan and his fallen angels, and to make war against those men and rulers who refuse to bend the knee at the cross of Jesus Christ for salvation from the sin nature which controls all of us. I hope that my new friends from Charlie Company will join me in prayer and ask God for wisdom in these important matters. And those of you on my mailing list, and those who will read this on my web site, please love, honor, and respect all veterans and pray for these great men I have introduced you to today.

Your eternal friend,
Jack D. Hook