The Blackhawks have Flown!

by Army Chaplain Erik Gramling

On his second deployment, Chaplain Gramling accompanied his unit from Germany to Kuwait for 15 months, returning to his family in Germany in summer 2009.  

blackhawksI arrived at Sabre Army Airfield (at Fort Campbell) and walked to the front of the line where 30 Blackhawk crews were doing their final checks and readying themselves for take off. Fort Campbell is home to the 101st Airborne Division. On this day the Blackhawks were being sent to the port in Jacksonville, Florida, to be disassembled and placed on a sailing vessel for deployment in Kuwait.

I went from bird to bird, chatting, laughing, praying, and reading from Psalm 62. The Blackhawks took off by company every 45 minutes. This gave me close to 30 minutes with each company before it got too loud to hear.

While some crews were revving up, I could do little more than pat the pilots on their shoulders and fold my hands together pointing to the sky to tell them that I was praying for them. But before all the companies took flight, I was able talk with almost everyone.

As they took off, it was a site to see . . . truly awesome. These are the days that I think, “Wow, I’m being paid to do this!”

But that doesn’t mean it was easy.

During the drive in, I was praying for courage and boldness. It’s so easy to feel insignificant and out of place at times. But, the key for me is remembering that I’m to be a godly encouragement to the soldiers. Some will reject me (Christ), but many others will be happy to see me and be prayed for. It is this thought that I held on to and went in His name.

After the deployment, I was able to spend another hour talking to a few sergeants and I was thankful for the extended time with the troops.

Please pray for a soldier named Adam (not his real name). He is a good solider who has made bad decisions and is reaping the fruits of sin. Two days prior to the Blackhawk deployment, he told me that he turned back to God and had given everything over to Him. It gave us a good chance to talk about sin and repentance . . . and the need to be in fellowship with other believers. He has suffered in his relationship with his sergeants and I encouraged him to win back their trust. Pray for Adam to make it and for him to truly seek Jesus!


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