Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Faith in the Military: I Switched to the Army, and Believed in my Tank




By re-enlisting in the Army, I was running away from God, or at least running away from the people who said they knew Jesus loved them.

I volunteered for Armor and became the platoon guide (student leader) at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  From the first day at Fort Knox, I liked the Army so much better than the Air
Force.  I was finally in the military.  We marched, we ran the obstacle course, and we had classes in tanks in the sun in July and August. 

Since I came to faith in America, not in a Muslim or Communist country, I did not know that suffering is one of the definite promises of Scripture. The Lord and the Apostles said suffering is a mark of faith.  And their example is one of intense suffering. 

It would be another year before I would find out there was a “health and wealth Gospel” and a few more years before I understood this was a perverse twist on real faith.  But the Army and leadership in the Army were teaching me the lessons I missed by not playing sports in high school. 

I never stopped believing during the year that followed, but I stopped learning about the faith.  I started learning about tanks.  The first year I believed, in 1974, I read through the King James Bible.  My first year as a tank commander I read through entire operators manual for the M60A1 main battle tank.  As far as I know, I was the only tank commander in the battalion who read the entire 800-page manual.  It worked out well for me.  At annual gunnery my first year as a tank commander we fired in the top 10% of the battalion.  It’s like shooting Expert with a rifle or a pistol.


In September of 1976, then entire 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division relocated from Fort Carson, Colorado, to Wiesbaden, West Germany.  In Germany, my tank became my job and my faith became vivid again.

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