Friday, October 29, 2010



Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

This past week Brenda and I took a mini vacation. It began with a visit to our Daughter’s so we could babysit four of our grandchildren while she and her husband worked a booth at Ft Hood’s October Fest celebration. Our son-in-law is one of the commanders over law and order on Ft Hood. One of the areas under his command is K-9 – the patrol and special use dog programs for both Ft Hood and it’s deployments to other theaters of operation including Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and such.

Since my initial military career was in the Law Enforcement, I identify somewhat with the job he is doing. Many people don’t realize that a military installation is in many ways like a big city. Whatever you find in a large city anywhere in the world, you find on post.

Does Houston have waste management – so does each post. Does NYC have banks, hotels and places to eat – so do military bases. Does the city of London have shopping centers and residential areas – so do military installations. Does Tokyo have airports, apartment complexes, public transport, schools, parks, convenience stores and hospitals – so does the military.

They have fire departments, water departments, landfills, libraries, street workers and street walkers, drug stores and drug dealers, liquor stores and people who are all liquored up, banks and bank robberies, doctors, lawyers, ditch diggers, sports complexes and car dealerships, fast food chains and hardware stores where you buy your own chains. And on top of all of that, they have a whole lot of people living on many posts who are completely dependent and self sufficient on that post.

The last military installation I was assigned to and lived and worked on was Kirkland Air Force Base south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It covered 52,500 square acres and employed 20,000 people, plus another 5000 military personnel assigned to the base with their families and then added to the daily grind were all the visitors coming on and off the base attending meetings, working as contractors, going to the movies, visiting museums, friends, family, eating lunch, attending university and concerts and air shows and so on and so forth.

To compare a city the size of approximately 53,000 acres: Nederland covers 5.7 square miles which is about 3600 acres. The City of Beaumont has a total area of 85.9 square miles, which is equivalent to almost 54,000 acres, or about the size of KAFB. So, as you can imagine, a lot goes on from day to day on a military base of that size.

I remember the night and early morning of March 6th and 7th, in 1979. My son, Ashley, was born on the morning of March 6 and that evening at 11pm I was scheduled to go to work. I was the supervisor in charge of the night shift patrol for the base police force on KAFB. I had been working outside of my career field for the few years prior and had only been back in law enforcement for about 3 months, ever since returning from a special assignment in Europe. Brenda had just delivered our son and she was going to sleep most of the night anyway; all was well with our new baby boy and April was with already asleep at our neighbors. There was no reason for me to just sit around the house alone so, I stuck to my schedule and went to work.

At about 1:30 in the morning I heard my dispatcher send a patrol car to an address in response to an emergency phone call. It seems that a neighbor was hearing screams but she didn’t know from exactly which house the screams were coming. The officer who was dispatched was a new guy fresh from Hickham AFB, Hawaii. Since I was his supervisor I thought I’d better drive on over to the area and observe how he handled the situation and be on scene if needed.

When I pulled onto the street, he was driving through the neighborhood looking for the house of the caller, which I found first. I got out of my car with my radio in hand and I radioed him the address. He circled, pulled up and got out. I told him to go ahead and check with the caller while I looked around. There were porch lights on at several of the houses on the block but nothing seemed out of the ordinary for that time of morning. I walked down in front of a few houses and crossed the street and started up the other side when suddenly I heard a loud, terrifying scream coming from a house I had just passed.

I radioed the address and asked for backup without acknowledgment, turned the radio down to silence, and pulled my gun while running to position myself just out of light by the front door. Just as I got there I heard the scream again – it was a woman and she screamed like someone being tortured. I decided not to wait for backup but to go on in. I reached around and put my hand on the storm door’s handle - the main door was wide open but the storm door was locked. I would have to position myself in front of the door, under the porch light to get the grip I needed to try and force the door open. It was not the safest move, but what else could I do.

Just as I moved in front of the door, under the illumination of the porch light, wondering where my backup was, a giant German Shepherd dog jumped up from inside the house and hit the storm door and started barking like he was going to tear me apart. It startled me and scared me so bad. But, that seemed to be just what I needed to make my adrenaline sufficient for me to twist that handle and break the lock on the door. But now, instead of trying to get in the door, I found myself trying to keep the dog from getting out.

With that huge dog jumping every two seconds and hitting the door I was instinctively pushing against the door, holding it shut to keep that barking, growling, snarling dog from getting to me. Then … the screams came again. I had to go in and I didn’t know but one thing to do … nope, I didn’t shoot the dog … I prayed.

I asked God to not let that dog bite me and while I was quickly mouthing that prayer, I made the mistake of looking up and I looked right into that porch light … it blinded me at the very second I had psyched myself up to open the door, bust in, face the dog, and rescue the screamer.

As a result of being blinded by the light, I kind of stumbled in the door into what I found later to be the living room. The lights were off in the whole house and I couldn’t see anything. To top it off, the dog was now jumping on me and barking in my ear. I could feel his wet nose and slobbery lips on my neck, face, ears and even in my hair as he butted my legs and frantically jumped up all around me trying to knock me down and bite me.
I know it was only a few seconds but it seemed much longer until I got focused on the darkness and felt my way to a hallway leading to the back of the house. Unfortunately I left my flashlight in the car when I got out with my radio in hand. Except for the dog barking incessantly, the house was stone quiet. I felt my way down the hall and into a bedroom with my gun in one hand and my radio in the other. I was listening intently trying to discern anything. Did the intruders have guns or knives or ball bats … I was blindly ready for anything – or so I thought.

I hadn’t found a light switch and was about three steps into the bedroom when all of the sudden someone in the dark, right in front of me threw their arms around me and penned my arms to my side and squeezed me with all their might. All in a nanosecond I felt long hair brush against my face and a deep inhale from the skinny squeezer, and then the most blood curdling scream I have ever heard went piercing through me from lips that were so close they were touching my ear. Believe me, it was scary … perhaps the most scared I have ever been in my life – and I’ve run with the bulls in Pamplona.

Then just as suddenly, the arms released and she fell on the floor as if someone had shot her. I pulled my revolver up and steadied and readied myself to shoot anything that moved. Then slowly, still trying to see and half scared out of my wits, I squatted down, put my radio on the floor and started feeling around to see if she was still breathing and if I could find any wound or blood.

I wondered who else was in the house as I found this girl still breathing but completely unclothed. I shook her and spoke to her and tried to get her to respond but she appeared to be unconscious. With the dog still barking and trying to bite me, I got my radio and slipped both hands under the girl’s body and picked her up. I started back down the hallway and into the living room.

As I was walking the dog hit me in the back with his feet about the time both of my legs hit a coffee table just below my knees. With gun and radio in hand and an unconscious, unclad, skinny 17 year old girl in my arms, I fell across that coffee table like a plank. The girl landed on the couch with my arms penned underneath her, my face in her stomach, and my knees on a slightly elevated coffee table. I was helplessly trapped as if cemented in that position.

At that very instant she came to life and with one swift sweeping move she got me in a headlock with both arms and tightened her grip so that in a flash her mouth was right back on my ear where once again she let out the most frightening scream a person can imagine. It went on and on and on until she fell unconscious again.

While I was trying to wiggle myself out of that situation, the dog ran from where he was jumping back and forth over the couch, to the front door. The other patrolman was at the door and found that he too was motivated to hold the door shut in fear of being eaten alive by the dog. I called out to him to radio for more backup and an ambulance and come in and help me. I heard him radio my request and I heard the response from the dispatcher.

Have you ever met someone who wanted to know everything before they would do anything? Well, the dispatcher that night was one of those kinds of people. He wanted information, more questions than we had time for. I finally wiggled loose while the two were arguing about whether or not an ambulance and more backup was necessary.

I was positioned on my knees between the coffee table and the couch when I turned my radio back up and demanded the dispatcher obey my orders – he responded with a question as to what the nature of the emergency was. At that time she came alive once more and grabbed for me, I was ready this time and put the radio in her face, pushed the transmit button, and just let her long blood curdling scream go out over the radio until she stopped and started whimpering and gasping. I followed up by telling the dispatcher, “That’s why I need an ambulance and more backup!”

The other patrolman had still not gotten up the courage to come inside and we still had to sweep the house for intruders or other victims. I got up, got the dog by the collar while I found a light. I put the dog into a closet and grabbed a coat and covered the girl. By then she was awake but not fully alert. Backup arrived before the ambulance and they checked the house while I stayed with the girl. They found the house empty and nothing else out of the ordinary. One of the patrolmen had training as a dog handler and I gave him the responsibility of the dog. I don’t know what he did but that was no longer my problem.

When the ambulance arrived the girl would not let go of me. All while they checked her out she clung to me and would almost loose it and begin to hyper ventilate and I would talk to her and calm her down. It was spooky … she would look into my eyes as if she was looking right through me.

They finally pulled her away, loaded her up and took her to the hospital. As they were putting her into the ambulance she lost it again and really freaked the ambulance guys out. That was the first time they heard her really cut loose – it was a good thing they had her strapped.

I went by the hospital to get more information for my report. Then I went up to see Brenda and check on our new son. A couple of weeks later Brenda and I were out and about, doing some shopping on base, when we ran into this young girl. I had told Brenda about the incident that night and was glad to see that this girl seemed to be doing much better now. Much to my surprise the girl recognized me and thanked me for helping her.

I told her that I had checked with the investigation but there was nothing in the report that told what caused her to behave like she did. She told me that she had taken a part time job at a local mental hospital in Albuquerque that specialized in training psychologist. She said her job entailed reading the case history of a mental patient and then acting out that patient’s problems so that others might attempt to diagnose the mental condition.

She went on to tell me that she had noticed that the more she got into the character of another person and acted out their mental illness, the more she found herself being drawn into that very same condition without her will. And, that particular night she had lost herself in the case history she was reading about a woman who had gone crazy and had killed her parents and siblings with a knife while they slept.

While I listened to her story I knew that it was not just a coincidence that I had been the one who responded that night and neither was it a coincidence that Brenda and I just happened to run into her while shopping. I felt destiny at work in my life to save this girl from certain disaster.

You see Brenda and I had been attending a discipleship course at our church and one of the subjects I had been studying with my pastor was the power of the mind. I knew that God had prepared me to speak to this situation with all boldness and all authority. I had the answer. Remember:
Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Well, it works in reverse too:

Romans 6
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

I told that young girl that she had opened her mind and her life up to the devil and mental illness and that whatever you open your mind to, you are open to. I told her that the devil was real and that she had yielded herself to him and his power over her mind and body. I commanded her, according to Acts 17:30, to repent, which she did.

Acts 17
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:

The Lord gave me several more opportunities to meet with her over the following couple of months wherein I took the time to teach her what I had been learning about the power of God’s Word to renew the mind. I was honorably discharged in June of that year and Brenda and I, along with our two children, moved back home to Texas.

I have often thought of that experience as an important point in my personal discipleship in Christ. There are three significant life lessons I learned as a result of that encounter.

1. If you yield, you will serve. (Yield only to God’s will for your life.)

2. Prayer works. (Even quick ones and quiet ones are heard by God.)

3. The dark is a more dangerous place for those who have seen the light. (Don’t go stumbling in the dark. If you must venture there to rescue some poor soul … don’t forget your flashlight)

Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.