Miracles Protect Our Soldiers
from the May 30, 2016 eNews issue
Memorial Day Weekend has passed, and the aroma of barbecue still lingers in the air. Camping trips and anglers’ breakfasts and all manners of out-of-doors cheer follow us into the new week. Most importantly, we recognize we are free to enjoy such a weekend. We can celebrate in the park without fear officers will grill us on where we bought our Tevas or the beef for our hamburgers. We can worship, pray, and honor our soldiers in public without concern we will be dragged into the nearest prison and tortured. A multitude of men and women have fought and died to protect us from our military and political enemies, and we enjoyed this Memorial Day grateful for that fact. While most of the soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have been brought home, thousands did so in caskets. Others still serve abroad in various locations around the world, still risking their lives in the name of freedom.
While Memorial Day has passed, we need to keep praying for our soldiers still in the field.
We recognize the soldier serves to protect the innocent, to stand up for those who cannot protect themselves. The soldier lays down his life out of love for his family and friends and neighbors. The following story was provided to us by two soldiers, and we thank God for His constant protection for our men and women serving both home and overseas. At their request, we have not included the last names of those interviewed for this article.
During the past decade, our military personnel in the Middle East faced daily dangers from roadside bombs and enemy fire. Many people in the military can testify about God’s faithfulness to answer those prayers with great protection in the midst of serious jeopardy. This is just one story two Green Berets had to share.
A Miracle in Najaf
On Jan. 28, 2007, a group of U.S. Special Forces soldiers was getting ready to leave the Iraqi city of Najaf when they got a call for help. Urgent help. Sergeant First Class Donny told us, “We were just about to head out when we got a call asking if we could help the mayor get out of this little firefight he was in.”
Hey, that is why they were there, to save lives. The S.F. soldiers dropped what they were doing and drove down to the troubled spot. There they spent the next three to four hours fighting until they had successfully rescued Najaf’s mayor. When that mission had been accomplished, they returned to their Najaf operating base “and got plussed up with ammo and food and gas.”
The fight to save the mayor had been no small battle, but the most intense part of the day was still to come. Staff Sergeant Tyler told us, “We’re thinking, ‘That was bad.’ Dude. That was not even the beginning of it. It just got worse and worse and worse.”
They were again preparing to leave town when they got a second call, “Hey, we got an Army bird down,” and they went back out to rescue a downed U.S. helicopter, hoping the personnel on board were still alive. Out they went through the dusty desert town, finding the enemy hiding here and there the whole trip. “It was kind of weird, with fires coming from all over the place, people taking pot shots from alleys or berms. The desert’s kind of crazy,” Donny told us.
They decided they would drive around a big berm and out to the helicopter crash site. “We had to drive between two berms,” Donny said, “That is not good — it’s a perfect place for an ambush.” There did not appear to be any other route to the helicopter, so the train of trucks carrying fewer than 100 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers began to drive right between the two berms. As soon as they did, men later identified as the Army of Heaven Muslim cult poured up to the top of the berms and began shooting down at them from only 15–20 feet away.
Tyler said, “Then we picked a route, and it just happened the route went through the center of the Heaven’s Army. And right there is the 12th Imam surrounded by all his people.”
“They used the berm as cover and started shooting at us, basically at point-blank range,” Donny said. “I was inside the Humvee behind bullet-proof glass, but the guys like Tyler in the back of the truck, they were only protected on the sides — the back was open and totally exposed.”
Tyler later found out his sister, father, and brother all had sudden urges to pray for him that day. “I was walking through the front door,” his sister told us. “I never worry about my brother, but that day I thought, ‘Wow, Tyler could actually be in danger. He really could die out there in Iraq.’ So I stopped and prayed for him and his team members right then. Then I went on with my day.”
The ambush was serious. “We were fish in a barrel,” Donny said. “They had a little mini-city they were building there, and we drove right into the middle of that hornet’s nest.”
“But you guys didn’t get shot?” we asked.
“It’s so weird, I didn’t get a scratch,” Tyler said. “Not a single scratch. And this is like, you put your finger up in the air, and it gets shot off. It was unbelievable fury! Unbelievable fury! The imam’s guys were so close we could reach out and touch them. I was definitely red most of the time on my ammo.”
“Can you believe that?” Donny said, “That’s God.”
Fewer than 100 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were attacked by an army of 600–1000 fighters who believed their leader was the Muslim Messiah.
One by one, the U.S. trucks drove through that ambush, and Donny was afraid the enemy would shoot out their tires and overrun them. Instead, each of the trucks made it through the brutal attack and they were able to drive far enough to turn around and get into a good position to battle back. They fought until nightfall, waiting until it was dark enough to check out the burning, charred helicopter.
Donny said, “We’re not the ones who did the battle damage assessment, but there were over 300 we killed, you know, between us and calling in fire, and 300–400 more were arrested.”
In contrast, the U.S. side lost two Iraqis during the fight. Tyler grieved over the two Iraqis, men he had trained personally, men he admired and cared about.
“Generally, if you set up an ambush,” Donny pointed out, “you should kill somebody. I’m not saying they were bad, because it was a pretty good ambush, but we had God.”
Tyler said, “After a battle like that, you don’t know what to say to your guys — to the Iraqis we had trained — to motivate them to continue fighting. After a fight like that, even though we won, it was a hard, hard win. You do not know what to say to them. However, every single one of them, down to the new 18-year-olds, they all came back the next day. Because they can quit if they want — it would be hard to keep them from running off. But, they didn’t. It really speaks volumes of them. I will never again doubt the abilities of the Iraqis to fight.”
The Army later learned the Soldiers of Heaven had been intending to attack Najaf the next day on the climax of the annual Shiite celebration of Ashura. They intended to massacre the clerical leadership, take charge of Najaf, and declare their leader the 12th Imam. The U.S. soldiers’ route between the wrong two berms ended all of that.
Tyler said, “Afterward, when it was all done, Donny looked at me and said, ‘We need to pray,’ and I said, ‘Roger that.’ We got down on our knees and thanked God.”
From the May 28, 2013, eNews issue
(Editors Note: A few notes of reflection after re-reading this article … Prayer is the walkie-talkie on the battlefield of the world. It calls on God for courage (Ephesians 6:19). It calls in for troop deployment and target location (Acts 13:1–3). It calls in for protection and air cover (Matthew 6:13; Luke 21:36). It calls in for firepower to blast open a way for the Word (Colossians 4:3). It calls in for the miracle of healing for the wounded soldiers (James 5:16). It calls in for supplies for the forces (Matthew 6:11; Philippians 4:6). And it calls in for needed reinforcements (Matthew 9:38). This is the place of prayer — on the battlefield of the world. It is a wartime walkie-talkie for spiritual warfare, not a domestic intercom to increase the comforts of the saints. And one of the reasons it malfunctions in the hands of so many Christian soldiers is that they have gone AWOL.)
Soldiers of Heaven— Wikipedia
A US Soldier… and the Afghan Soldier Who Killed Him— Stars and Stripes