Psalm23:1 Yahweh is my shepherd: I shall lack nothing. The first verse of the Twenty-third Psalm has been my life verse from the first time I heard Brother Richard Clark Preach it! The above quote is from the WEB that I oft use. And when verse 1 is coupled with verse 4: 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. There is such a very strong statement of trust spelled out. You see, the LORD, Yahweh, is He that I live for and because I live for Him, it is He that guides my 'every' step and it is He that protects me and covers my back! One morning in Vietnam, just as the dawn of the day a VC fired a round through the roof of our tent and it proceeded to put holes in several further down the line. This, rather pesky, young man had been doing this for some time before this last day and a few of the lower ranking men and I were tired of it. We had gotten up early and we were in position, waiting for his single round to be fired. When our man poked his head up and fired the round all five of us laid down suppression fire. As I slithered across the ground to get in Grenade range the four fixed positions behind me continued to attract his attention until I could Frag him. The four young men were, at that moment in time, what God is to me. Those eighteen and nineteen year olds had my back. Just as my LORD is covering me as I do my best to perform the tasks He assigns me, those young men were busy keeping that VC shooting at them so that I could get close enough to that bomb crater to toss the Fragmentation Grenade in with him. Now fear is a good subject to understand because when we understand it, we deal better with it. Recently, on the Military History Channel, I heard a Staff Sargent give a very good explanation of fear and what to do with it. The statement is simple and very clear, “This difference between a hero and a coward is the manor in which they deal with fear!” Was I scared that day? Only a fool or a mentally ill man would not have been. But if I did nothing to stop him, then I and the men in the other tents needed to continue keeping our steel helmets ready to catch the rain as it poured through the holes until we could repair the damage and we were already tired of that. When this incident happened I was a Killer Spade and the Black Bandits, Killer Spades and Tiger Birds had a reputation that needed a good heart to stand up to it. The Bandits and the Spades were Slicks and the Tigers were our Gun-Ships and no matter what we decided to do the Tigers were there to cover us. Slicks are a great ship to fly in because the pilot and copilot do not haveto land in the middle of a firefight. So the story goes like this: The Med-Evac (slick) refuses to land because of the firefight on the ground... the pilot and copilot see no chance of landing, picking up the injured and dying Grunt and flying out of there. About three in the morning someone from S-3 wakes me and my Gunner up with, “You have a mission ad the pilots want to lift off in 10 minutes. The last thing my Gunner did before he left the flight-line was to clean and check the guns and make sure there was at least six thousand rounds for each gun and a spare barrel on each side. The last thing I did was to pull my Preflight Inspection with either my Pilot or my Copilot. All we did was put on our shirts and the gunner mounted the Machine Guns as I lit the Turbine Engine and did the run-up. By this time my Gunner was in his seat and I crawled down from the Pilots Seat just as they arrived and they would climb in at the same time I was getting behind my gun. The pilot that was not flying would get his Harness fastened and take the sticks for the other to fasten in, and we were off. The gunner and I wore no seat belts to give us more freedom behind the guns. Most often the Tiger was on site first, they flew faster than we did, and were advising us on our approach and what his or their actions were mapped out to be. Often, on the way there a Fifty or a truck mounted quad-fifty would give us a Good Morning spray in their attempt to keep us from our mission. As we arrived on site the pilots all discussed the final plan, shortly, and we landed in the midst of W-III to pick up the wounded. We ate a lot of C-Rations in Nam and the grunts did not get to the PX a lot. We put all our cigarettes from the C-Rations into a Sand-Bag and along with 5 Gallons of hot Coffee we kicked them off the ship when we landed. Those guys needed a cup of mud after a fight like that and back then, cigarettes didn't kill you yet! Now, Fear! I'm sure you can conjure up a reasonable idea of how scared I was when a quad-fifty began spitting what looked to be green footballs at us. And then there was the time the Air-Controller flew us into the Fire-Path of the USS New Jersey. I will admit that this was the only time I saw a 16 inch round, and in the air coming at me too? And then there were the SAMs. We usually flew, what was known as Contour Flight to keep the Surface to Air Missiles from acquiring us as a target but when we were required to use the Air Controller they enjoyed flying us at three to five thousand feet and we would have our FMs set on an empty freq. To listen for the Buuup sound of the SAMs Radar trying to acquire us for a target. There was a great many things to fear in South Vietnam and flying in a Helicopter with the cargo doors open and no seat belts on was not a save thing to do. The men that called me Pop and Old Man made me very proud of them. Every one of them took me to challenge and they were the bravest men I've ever known. Everyone of them flew without a seat belt and just like me, did not hesitate to crawl out on that skid at five thousand feet wen the pilot needed a damage report. We, yes, that's every one of us, were scared to death as we took off with the 105s and the 155s firing just a few feet from our take-off pattern. The enemy Flame Throwers frightened us immensely when we need to get that man, with his leg blown off, to the Doctors as did many, many other dangers. The thing is that in spite of the fear, we moved forward because people, young men, were going to die without us. It has been told to me by people that worry over such matters that the Spades, Bandits and Tigers lost more men from our companies than any Infantry Company did, per week. I know a lot of men disappeared each week but I told myself and the men in my tent that they had gone home and we dropped it right there! Now, it can be said, “Nice War Story! If that is what comes to your mind, you have missed the entire point! In this same manner the follower of Jesus, the Christ, is to move forward never allowing the enemy a foot-hold in his or her life. When you boil it all down, if you are saved by His Grace, the only thing a man can kill is the Earthly Body that, short of the Rapture, will perish anyway! The body you are in right now is perishable but your soul will live forever. What every one of us must think about is what will Jesus tell us when we go Home? Will He say, “Well done, good and faithful servant?