Ken is a disabled American combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He was awarded a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with V device medal.
True Story #2.
Another vivid memory I recall was from a firefight my unit and I fought in on June 22nd. We were sent on yet another Search & Destroy mission to the east of our base camp. Our intelligence officer told us there was an enemy base camp near the Laotian border that needed to be cleared. If possible when we made contact, they would like for us to capture prisoners.
We humped the jungle from sun up to sundown the day before, arriving just on the outskirts of the supposed base camp position. We dug in deep that night, waiting until the early morning to launch our surprise attack.
Apparently, we hadn’t been very quiet, what with our digging, chopping down small trees to place over our foxholes, and filling sandbags for added protection. “Charlie” knew we were there and had decided to plan a bit of a surprise attack of his own.
When dawn broke, we checked and double-checked our gear, making sure to count the number of magazines we had, in case we had to engage in a long firefight. As we conducted our inventory search, suddenly we started receiving small arms fire to our front. “Charlie” had beaten us to the punch! They had decided to conduct their own “sound off” that morning, which started a major tit-for-tat between the two units.
I moved to the front line with my Commanding Officer (CO), so he could get a better view, and once again, we came under fire. As he used my radio to call in the coordinates for an airstrike, immediately, I switched off my safety and tried to return fire, but my rifle didn’t fire.
I quickly checked to make sure there was a round loaded in the chamber (there was), and made sure my magazine of rounds was properly loaded (it was), and then aimed, pulled the trigger — still nothing.
Quicker than an eagle swooping in on its prey, I removed my magazine, emptied the round from the chamber, and tried to find out if the firing pin was still working (it was.) Then, I thought to look inside the barrel for any possible obstructions. Sure enough, there was a cleaning swab stuck in the middle of the barrel. It was lodged there, blockading any round trying to leave the chamber.
As fast as I could, I pulled out my cleaning rod, rammed it down the barrel to dislodge the swab, retrieved it from the back of the barrel, re-loaded my magazine, and placed a bullet in the chamber. Once I had done that, I pulled the trigger and, amazingly, it fired the round downrange.
All of this happened within a minute of finding the problem. In Advanced Infantry Training, we had been timed while disassembling and reassembling our rifles as fast as we could. That was one lesson we each learned with precision. It turned out to be a lifesaver.
What logical reason could explain this?
Again, without a doubt in my mind, my faith in God had saved me! If my rifle had fired the first time I pulled the trigger, it would have exploded in my face and may have even killed me. The same held true for the second time I tried to fire it.
On either of those occasions, there was no sane reason I can think of that would have stopped the rifle from firing, other than God's saving intervention. Thank you, Lord Jesus!
Over the last fifty-three years, I have tried to disprove my own theory that God's Hand intervened for me. I have thought to myself: "Am I making this up?" I know I am not because my C.O., Capt. Baugh, was there beside me, urging me to hurry up.
He and I talked about it after the battle had finished. We were in mop-up mode when we spoke to one another. I asked him, "Can you believe that just happened?" His reply was simple: "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
This is part 2 of a trilogy of happenings to me. Stay tuned for the third and final episode.
Thanks for reading this!