My brother and I joined the U.S. Marine Corps right out of high school
and went away to World War II. Our mother, a True Believer, wrapped us
in Psalm 91 and claimed God’s promises over us. He went to the Paramarine/Raiders
and the 5th MarDiv and I to the OSS and the 2nd MarDiv. We both went through
combat and returned home safely after the war.
In 1950, with the outbreak of the Korean War, we were both
recalled to active duty with the 1st Marine
Division. Our mother again wrapped us in
Psalm 91, gave each of us a small New Testament,
and again sent us off to war with the Lord’s blessing.
As a 12-year-old, I had accepted the Lord
but had never been well-disciplined or obedient. I wanted to
play patty-cake in the sand piles of the world. At 25, when I
went to Korea, I started reading the little Testament my mother
had given me.
At the Inchon landing, and for the next two weeks of
heavy combat as a rifle-squad leader, I read a
few Bible verses every day. I loved my brother Marines who suffered
and died alongside me. As the death and destruction
grew more intense – and as I stood on the brink of eternity – I did
not like what I saw.
As my outfit, Fox Company [F-2-1], attacked up
the streets of Seoul, I was hit with a machine-gun bullet. I made
it behind a burning police sub-station in the middle of the
street. My corpsman, Chico, dressed my wounds and as
sniper bullets crashed into the street beside us, he laid on top
of me – covering me with his own body – and yelled in my ear, “You’ve
had enough!” Other riflemen nailed the snipers and as
Chico left me to help other Marines lying wounded in the street,
he was hit by two bullets that blew the shin-bone out of his leg.
I never saw Chico again.
Several Marines threw a wooden door on
the ground, rolled me on it and ran me down the street under heavy fire.
It was a fearsome ride.
I was placed on a DUKW, given a shot of morphine, and dreamed
a beautiful restful sleep to Kimpo airfield and the flight
At Yokosuka Naval Hospital for three
months, I proclaimed my loyalty to Chico, my corpsman. One night,
the Lord came to me. I saw the blood running down His forehead, into
His eyes, and down over His cheeks. I looked into His blood-filled
eyes. He spread out His bloody hands and said, “I did
this for you.”
I was willing to be loyal to Chico – but, had not been willing
to be loyal to the Lord. The Lord said, “Come and follow me.
I will make you a man. Put away childish things.” I knew what he meant.
I said, “Yes Sir.”
With the Lord as the Lord of my life, I re-joined
my outfit and went back into front-line combat for another five months
before returning home.
My brother came home with frost-bitten feet and I came home with a tender
rear-end. Our mother cried with joy unspeakable. We were both baptized
and have been His loyal Marines ever since. Everyday we say, “Yes Sir,”
to the Lord Jesus – our CHAMPION and HERO. My Lord
and my God.
I still pray for and bless Chico Carsonaro.
* * * *
Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is the most important virtue because
it makes all other virtues possible.” As a senior in high school ready
to join the Marine Corps, I thought his statement was good. The sequence
As a 26-year old veteran of front-line combat in two wars, I came to
understand that Churchill was not accurate. Courage is not the prime virtue.
It is faithfulness/ loyalty/commitment that is the prime virtue. It is
being faithful that makes all other virtues, including courage, possible.
The Corps has it right: semper fidelis. Always faithful.
“Moreover, it is required of stewards, that a man be found faithful.”