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View Full Version : Please Help The Armed Forces - why did you join/ stay?



ServantofTruth
Sep 2nd 2008, 01:39 AM
Some of you may know that i have struggled to understand my brothers and sisters who have joined the armed forces. I am not looking to argue on this topic - please consider me humbly asking you to help me understand and learn from each of you. Please be patient if i ask the most basic or obvious questions.

Without it being too long - What honestly led to you joining the armed forces and what made you stay? Was faith a factor at the begining or did it enter in later?

In advance i thank each of you for your replies and patience. God bless you. SofTy.

Clavicula_Nox
Sep 2nd 2008, 01:59 AM
My answer is complicated.

The simple version is that I was affected by the events of 9/11 and wanted to fight back. I also "needed to find myself."

I left as a protest against the military's drive towards "Net Centric Warfare," but am trying to get back because I feel like I abandoned my brothers over petty nonsense.


I will never fight for my country, or countrymen again, but I hope to return to fight with my fellow soldiers.

Slug1
Sep 2nd 2008, 02:21 AM
Some of you may know that i have struggled to understand my brothers and sisters who have joined the armed forces. I am not looking to argue on this topic - please consider me humbly asking you to help me understand and learn from each of you. Please be patient if i ask the most basic or obvious questions.

Without it being too long - What honestly led to you joining the armed forces and what made you stay? Was faith a factor at the beginning or did it enter in later?

In advance i thank each of you for your replies and patience. God bless you. SofTy.God Bless you Paul :hug:

We have had some really great and at times heated discussions and to talk in the presence of our Lord as He watches over us is a blessing.

When I joined I believed in God but really did not have a relationship with God. I didn't really understand salvation or what serving God was and I was of the mindset that if I believed and prayed cause I needed something, that was all I needed. A fellow soldier led me to understanding and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and not just my "needs".

This began a relationship with Jesus that took me through the final 15 or so years of my career. These years I grew in my faith as God developed me for what He had planned for me once I retired and then I could be used to minister to Soldiers.

This "plan" that God had for me is to help Soldiers that are right now asking all the same questions I asked. That right now are in doubt because of being pulled one way by fellow Christians or people in general who are against service to country and being pulled the other way because God has called them to be a soldier for their country. It is a terrible battle to be in because through our freewill we can be led away from the purpose God has for us.

Anyway, you know me by now so I figure you didn't expect me to say anything much different then what just flowed out as I typed ;)

Thank you, and thanks for this thread so we can all learn.

ServantofTruth
Sep 2nd 2008, 08:34 AM
My answer is complicated.

The simple version is that I was affected by the events of 9/11 and wanted to fight back. I also "needed to find myself."

I left as a protest against the military's drive towards "Net Centric Warfare," but am trying to get back because I feel like I abandoned my brothers over petty nonsense.


I will never fight for my country, or countrymen again, but I hope to return to fight with my fellow soldiers.

Thank you for replying and so quickly.

I'm sorry, but i have no idea what 'Net Centric Warfare' means.

Your original reasons for joining make a lot of sense and i'd guess will be echoed by many who reply.

May i ask - Does your faith affect why you want to return? Do you have a family and friends you want to protect? God bless SofTy.

ServantofTruth
Sep 2nd 2008, 08:46 AM
God Bless you Paul :hug:

We have had some really great and at times heated discussions and to talk in the presence of our Lord as He watches over us is a blessing.

When I joined I believed in God but really did not have a relationship with God. I didn't really understand salvation or what serving God was and I was of the mindset that if I believed and prayed cause I needed something, that was all I needed. A fellow soldier led me to understanding and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ and not just my "needs".

This began a relationship with Jesus that took me through the final 15 or so years of my career. These years I grew in my faith as God developed me for what He had planned for me once I retired and then I could be used to minister to Soldiers.

This "plan" that God had for me is to help Soldiers that are right now asking all the same questions I asked. That right now are in doubt because of being pulled one way by fellow Christians or people in general who are against service to country and being pulled the other way because God has called them to be a soldier for their country. It is a terrible battle to be in because through our freewill we can be led away from the purpose God has for us.

Anyway, you know me by now so I figure you didn't expect me to say anything much different then what just flowed out as I typed ;)

Thank you, and thanks for this thread so we can all learn.

You are one of the reasons i feel the need to learn in this area. Like a few people on these boards you faith is obvious, your passion for God's Word/ Will and your need to reach out and help others mature/ grow.

It seems strange to me, that when i read some people's posts and i know that passion, similar to my own, is there - then we hold such differing views in one particular area.

Your patience and love, when i wanted to prove i was right, rather than listen - has brought me here today. I can't just throw away where i am, from my upbringing and study of God's Word. But i am begining to notice more and more scriptures in my daily study that suggest i have been too hasty and too firm in creating a position for myself in this area, that speaks more of going looking to support a position i already held - rather than seeking God's Word, the bible, for his Will and submitting to it.

If people feel the need to pray for me to recieve understanding i'd appreciate it. Also if you have scriptures that have helped and comforted you, i'd love to hear them. Your friend and brother, SofTy/ Paul.

mcgyver
Sep 2nd 2008, 12:37 PM
Good morning SOfTy!

Hmmm...Well, for me...

My family have been soldiers and Marines going back to the revolutionary war, and I actually thought that I'd be the "exception to the rule" :lol:

I graduated High School the year that Saigon fell, so I went to college with the intent of going to law school afterwards.

Anyway, I didn't have the money for law school, and at that time the US Army was offering what was called VEAP (veteran's educational assistance program) which would give me the money for school. Sooooo.....

I joined with the intent of doing 4 years and getting out.

I decided that if I was going to go in, I wanted to really do something, so I volunteered for Jump School and a follow-on assignment to a rifle battalion in the 82d Airborne Division.

I guess the family "genes" kicked in, because I took to it like a duck to water :P....found my "niche" as it were, so I stayed. :)

If you were to open the dictionary to "Paratrooper" you'd have found my picture there :lol:

My military service and accomplishments were the very things that God used to bring me to faith in Jesus Christ 10 years later!

So there's the short version ;)

Clavicula_Nox
Sep 2nd 2008, 12:46 PM
Thank you for replying and so quickly.

I'm sorry, but i have no idea what 'Net Centric Warfare' means.

Your original reasons for joining make a lot of sense and i'd guess will be echoed by many who reply.

May i ask - Does your faith affect why you want to return? Do you have a family and friends you want to protect? God bless SofTy.

Net Centric Warfare is a doctrine that tries to hide the realities of war from politican-generals who find themselves under fire from weak professional politicians and ignorant civilians because a soldier is killed in battle. NCW focuses on technology dependent assets and seeks to remove the human element from warfare.

I don't think my faith has anything to do with wanting to go back, and like I said, I wouldn't be fighting for friends, family, or country, just for the soldiers I feel that I've abandoned.

mcgyver
Sep 2nd 2008, 12:56 PM
Net Centric Warfare is a doctrine that tries to hide the realities of war from politican-generals who find themselves under fire from weak professional politicians and ignorant civilians because a soldier is killed in battle. NCW focuses on technology dependent assets and seeks to remove the human element from warfare.

I don't think my faith has anything to do with wanting to go back, and like I said, I wouldn't be fighting for friends, family, or country, just for the soldiers I feel that I've abandoned.

Yeah...I remember when the phrase "service the target" was all the rage :rolleyes:

(You don't "service the target", you kill the enemy...an early example of NCW terminology)

Clavicula_Nox
Sep 2nd 2008, 01:14 PM
Yeah, it's really depressing. The way to win a war is to control strategic assets (centers of gravity) and break the will of the enemy. How can you break the enemy's will when your worried about making the entire operation as sterile and impersonal as possible? Psychologically it doesn't work, and strategically it doesn't work, either.

ServantofTruth
Sep 2nd 2008, 02:11 PM
Good morning SOfTy!

Hmmm...Well, for me...

My family have been soldiers and Marines going back to the revolutionary war, and I actually thought that I'd be the "exception to the rule" :lol:

I graduated High School the year that Saigon fell, so I went to college with the intent of going to law school afterwards.

Anyway, I didn't have the money for law school, and at that time the US Army was offering what was called VEAP (veteran's educational assistance program) which would give me the money for school. Sooooo.....

I joined with the intent of doing 4 years and getting out.

I decided that if I was going to go in, I wanted to really do something, so I volunteered for Jump School and a follow-on assignment to a rifle battalion in the 82d Airborne Division.

I guess the family "genes" kicked in, because I took to it like a duck to water :P....found my "niche" as it were, so I stayed. :)

If you were to open the dictionary to "Paratrooper" you'd have found my picture there :lol:

My military service and accomplishments were the very things that God used to bring me to faith in Jesus Christ 10 years later!

So there's the short version ;)

Can you help me with jump school and the relevence of 82d Airbourne Division. Are there 81 other airbourne divisions? before this one?

Can you expand the last sentence please. What did you 'accomplish' in the army and how did those things bring you to faith? Was your conversion in the field? Slug1 was kind enough to recommend 2 books by military chaplains that i read a few months back.

Even i had to agree, that services and prayer and study, while in action, were really awesome to hear. And people being baptised, finding faith.

Can you all explain this 'pain' of people at home (the citizens of your country) and politians and yes i admit me, struggling to support you being in the army and fighting all over the world. You are my brothers & sisters and i hate there being misunderstanding between us, a barrier. SofTy.

mcgyver
Sep 2nd 2008, 02:54 PM
Can you help me with jump school and the relevence of 82d Airbourne Division. Are there 81 other airbourne divisions? before this one?

I'll try brother! :)

When I enlisted in 1980, the Army was a (relatively) small force that was undergoing a transition from a draftee Army to an all volunteer Army. There had been a rapid draw-down from the Viet Nam war; and a real push to rebuild a small but professional Army (Viet Nam had damaged the psyche of both the American people and the military...it was a period of recovery).

At that time, there were only 3 units on jump status (actually jumping out of airplanes): 82d Abn Div, Ranger Battalions (only 2 then) and Special Forces (Only 4 small SF Groups at the time). Although the 101st Abn Div. kept the designation of "Airborne", they were in fact "Air Assault" (helicopter-borne troops).

Of these, there was only 1 Divisional sized Airborne (Paratroop) force in the world...the 82d. The mission of the 82d was "Deploy anywhere in the world without prior notification within 18 hours and fight immediately upon arrival"...a no-notice worldwide deployment mission. At that time we were the "baddest", most highly trained and motivated "conventional" force in the Army.

Because it was such a small force, jump school (Basic Airborne Course) was rough!!! Just about half of my class didn't graduate...there was no push to get bodies jump qualified...so it was a real accomplishment to get through!

Now as far as Paratroopers...it is (and always has been) an all volunteer force. You have to "want it"...


Can you expand the last sentence please. What did you 'accomplish' in the army and how did those things bring you to faith? Was your conversion in the field? Slug1 was kind enough to recommend 2 books by military chaplains that i read a few months back.

I'd recommend going to my profile and clicking on my testimony. :hug:


Even i had to agree, that services and prayer and study, while in action, were really awesome to hear. And people being baptised, finding faith.

Can you all explain this 'pain' of people at home (the citizens of your country) and politians and yes i admit me, struggling to support you being in the army and fighting all over the world. You are my brothers & sisters and i hate there being misunderstanding between us, a barrier. SofTy.

I'm going to have to think about how to explain this one...But I will come back to it :hug:

EaglesWINGS911
Sep 3rd 2008, 04:53 AM
Does someone who had planned on joining for almost three years and didn't count? Yes I was pretty much dead set on joining the Navy after high school. My reason? I wanted to become a nurse and work at a Veterans Hospital, I've wanted to help our troops for a long time. I had planned on going in the Navy in the Medical field. I specifically wanted to go to Iraq...yeah I know that sounds crazy but I felt like if I was going to work with Wounded Warriors, I would need to understand what they had been through. Well plans changed, I wound up falling for a corpsman and while I decided not to join, I still hope to work with the vets one day as a counselor.
-My apologies if my post was off subject and didn't pertain to the OP's question.:blush:

Jurell
Sep 3rd 2008, 08:34 PM
I joined the Marines when I was 19 because I wanted to do something special with my life. When I'm old and grey, I wanted to be able to have a grand kid on my knee and tell him that I did something special, I made a difference.

Unfortunately, I got stupid and let my recruiter con me into the reserves instead of going active duty... THAT honestly is my only regret on joining.

ServantofTruth
Sep 3rd 2008, 09:09 PM
Does someone who had planned on joining for almost three years and didn't count? Yes I was pretty much dead set on joining the Navy after high school. My reason? I wanted to become a nurse and work at a Veterans Hospital, I've wanted to help our troops for a long time. I had planned on going in the Navy in the Medical field. I specifically wanted to go to Iraq...yeah I know that sounds crazy but I felt like if I was going to work with Wounded Warriors, I would need to understand what they had been through. Well plans changed, I wound up falling for a corpsman and while I decided not to join, I still hope to work with the vets one day as a counselor.
-My apologies if my post was off subject and didn't pertain to the OP's question.:blush:

It sounds like you had a plan and our Lord had a different plan. I believe he will use what your hopes and dreams are, but turn them to his purpose. Thank you for sharing, SofTy.

ServantofTruth
Sep 3rd 2008, 09:22 PM
I joined the Marines when I was 19 because I wanted to do something special with my life. When I'm old and grey, I wanted to be able to have a grand kid on my knee and tell him that I did something special, I made a difference.

Unfortunately, I got stupid and let my recruiter con me into the reserves instead of going active duty... THAT honestly is my only regret on joining.

I admit i'm not very knowledgeable - but aren't there 1,000's of reserve troops in Iraq & Afganistan? I thought i'd heard this on the news.

Like i said in the post above - all our life experience is used by our Lord in his service. Like in the church, we are fools if we believe only the Pastor is important. He couldn't do his job without all the (misnamed) 'little' people. In the same way not only front line active troops are important.

In Slug1's books, it talked of the soldiers knowing of the prayer support all over America. The letters and parcels sent, not just by family and friends - but people who didn't even know any troops personally.

I am not qualified to say how you could be more involved - perhaps Slug1 is? But i'm sure he and others will tell you, they need your support - whether it is prayer every day, a letter of support (pen pal) for a service person, a parcel of goodies? Those troops need not just to know they are loved, understood, supported - but backed in practical ways.

While i find the fighting side differcult - the human, loving Christian side is much easier. I can see these are men and women, like me, put in situations that physically, mentally and spiritually most of us may never face. May God love and protect, strengthen and heal those in foreign lands tonight. SofTy. :pray:

Clavicula_Nox
Sep 3rd 2008, 10:28 PM
I joined the Marines when I was 19 because I wanted to do something special with my life. When I'm old and grey, I wanted to be able to have a grand kid on my knee and tell him that I did something special, I made a difference.

Unfortunately, I got stupid and let my recruiter con me into the reserves instead of going active duty... THAT honestly is my only regret on joining.

That should be a real easy fix, actually. I don't know how the Marines do it, but for the Army it's a real simple form to fill out and commander's approval.

ServantofTruth
Sep 4th 2008, 01:45 PM
So i really want to get back to how faith affects military service. Slug1, i am right that you are a minister/ chaplain? to soldiers? Do you or anyone have personal experience of services or bible study in the field? In your book, the Purpose Driven Life was given free by the publishers to soldiers.

Has anyone actually gone into war zones as a pastor? Or a lay preacher - not the correct title? If this is allowed to be spoke of on a public forum? Or does anyone minister to troops before or after a term of duty in action, or on leave?

I admit i'd like to learn generally and get to know the guys & girls behind the uniforms - but i'd like if we may keep close to the spiritual side.

What about God's Wisdom/ Will in the Word of God and led by the Holy Spirit within each of you - makes being in military service so important?

I'd like to thank everyone individually who has replied so far. I already feel just a little closer to you. Less them and us. I wonder if the military should get into the community more - yes i know you're overstretched already from what i hear with cutbacks.

Today again, i lift all those of my brothers and sisters in the military to you Lord. And their families and friends at home waiting for their safe return. Be with them in all their needs.

To anyone reading this who is either in service, about to go into action or just returned - i admit i find this a differcult area of my faith, but i hope you will help me, and i do appreciate what you are doing for me and my loved ones. SofTy.

Slug1
Sep 5th 2008, 04:43 PM
So i really want to get back to how faith affects military service. Slug1, i am right that you are a minister/ chaplain? to soldiers? Do you or anyone have personal experience of services or bible study in the field? I was just another soldier that God used in both garrison and on the battlefields I've been on. I do not have any formal worldly training, all I have is what God has placed in my heart as He uses me to reach out to fellow soldiers.

In Iraq, their were a few missions where we only had the Bradelys with us to live out of during downtime and their were a few times a number of troops would link up behind one and we'd talk about God, read the Bible if scripture was related to questions being asked. Very informal and the Holy Spirit was there as questions were answered and soldiers were ministered to.

ServantofTruth
Sep 5th 2008, 09:52 PM
'Bradelys' means? Rations? A troop carrier? Thank's for replying.

Lord as i sit safely in my warm house, i remember to you, my brothers and sisters in your family who make it possible. Please be in their hearts and minds and make it possible for them to fellowship to praise your name and worship your greatness. Also allow them time to study your Word together. God bless all Christ' servants in the armed forces. SofTy. :pray:

Clavicula_Nox
Sep 6th 2008, 02:20 AM
A Bradley is an Infantry Fighting Vehicle, basically, an armored vehicle that houses a weapon system, while having the ability to carry troops internally with the purpose of transporting them to the engagement area.

They're pretty small inside.


*edit*

this is a picture of the back of one with some soldiers near it to give an idea of it's size:

http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm260/clavicula_nox/bradleyifv.jpg