In these words of 2 Timothy 2:3 Paul exhorts Timothy to bear up under suffering for Christ the way that soldiers stand in battle. A beautiful picture of a soldier standing in battle is given today in the Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal essay by Daniel Henninger, “The Real American Idol.” Henninger describes the Medal of Honor given to Major Bruce Crandall for his valorous action 42 years ago during the Vietnam War. Henninger describes what Crandall did as follows:
Mr. Crandall, then a major, commanded a company with the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, carrying soldiers to a landing zone, called X-ray, in the la Drang Valley. An assault from the North Vietnamese army erupted, as described at the White House ceremony Monday. Three soldiers on Maj. Crandall’s helicopter were killed. He kept it on the ground while four wounded were taken aboard. Back at base, he asked for a volunteer to return with him to X-ray. Capt. Ed Freeman came forward. Through smoke and bullets, they flew in and out 14 times, spent 14 hours in the air and used three helicopters. They evacuated 70 wounded. The battalion survived.
A Medal of Honor requires eyewitness accounts, and an officer there attested, “Maj. Crandall’s actions were without question the most valorous I’ve observed of any helicopter pilot in Vietnam.”
Henninger then quotes General Peter Schoomaker, the Army Chief of Staff, who said,
“The words of the warrior ethos that we have today–I will always place the mission first; I will never accept defeat; I will never quit; and I will never leave a fallen comrade–were made real that day in the la Drang Valley.”
This should inspire those of us who seek to join with the Apostle Paul and his “fellow soldiers” (Phil 2:25; Philem 1:2), avoiding entanglements in civilian pursuits (2 Tim 2:4), as we fight the good fight (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7).
In the words of one of my favorite songs, the King will come “on a white horse wearing a crown.” Let us be warriors for the Gospel by the power of the Spirit.