All Hell Busting Loose

It felt like all hell was busting loose. The morning had started quietly enough in worship and praise of God at the chapel. Following my last morning service, I joined an Army Chaplain assistant and walked over to one of the main gym complexes for a memorial service remembering the soldier whose ramp ceremony I had attended earlier in the week. We had not even stepped into the gym when the dark thunderous blast and rumbling concussion of a large blast shook our bodies and buildings. One young Army Captain looked at me and said �thunder� but I knew better. I flipped my radio to scan the Security Forces Net and sure enough, a large VBIED (Vehicle Born Improvised Explosive Device) in the city had gone off. Thirty minutes later, in the midst of solemn ceremony, another. Shaking the building so hard that we were not sure if that one had been a rocket attack on the base, I could see the concern in the faces of the young army troops around me. I flipped my radio on to its lowest volume and raised it to see what was happening. Another VBIED. It was followed shortly by another. The radio was filled with chatter from different sectors on the perimeter as bad guys were moving, observing, and firing into the city from rooftops just outside our perimeter. Our dogs alerted to suspicious objects in a couple of places. (False alarms). The service was wrapping up, so I quietly excused myself on the heels of the Group Commander, figuring we would be having work to do shortly. There were more VBIEDS in the city in the afternoon. These were big ones throwing up white mushroom clouds of smoke crawling upward into the sky and sending shock waves through the buildings and our people. But our people were standing strong and standing together. There was a fire fight in the city within easy observation of our SFS folks on the perimeter and they could see people with weapons and binoculars looking in our direction. But these insurgents were not foolish enough to try attacking our heavily armed perimeter manned by some of the best trained security people in the world. One of our fast movers, I think an F-16, screamed in and the fire fight ceased. I learned of incoming wounded when contacted to cover a service for one of the Army Chaplains. I made my way to EMEDS as soon as I was free. My chaplain friend was quiet distraught because he knew the casualties well. I visited with him and with the soldiers who had been the victims of an attack.

I cannot say enough about the incredible professionalism, competency, and heart of the folks manning our EMEDS facility. All from Lakenheath, they are at testimony to their profession. I have seen them work wonders, not with an inhuman strength, but with a very human touch. They were exhausted. They had worked several traumas of local people and yet they more with certainty and deliberation to take care of our American casualties. But I could see the fatigue and concern in them as things wrapped up. It is a true honor to be working with people like this.

As the news broke we learned they had targeted a school and young girls had been killed. This especially touched our chapel staff as we had in recent weeks provided marterials to Army forces and others for the rebuilding and reopening of local schools. I don�t know if this was one of them or not. Later we learned that there was a death in the various bombings of the day. This valiant American began his final journey home shortly after midnight here with another ramp ceremony.

I observed a lot of resolve in folks yesterday. Our security folks as they came off shift, running by the chapel to make use of our cappuccino machine, determined that tomorrow nothing comes through our wire. Our medical folks working without sleep as long as there was need. The army troops I spoke with, determined they would continue with their mission. The insurgents can reach out and touch our humanity and raise within us profound questions of how can people do this to one another but they cannot shake our resolve. Evil will not win. We spoke of this in our morning and evening services � that good will triumph for God has promised it. The God who created us in the very beginning and who has redeemed us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ, has promised that in the end there will be a new heaven and a new earth and evil will be eliminated. It can be hard to fathom how misguided people in the name of a god they credit with creation can reach out to wreck mayhem and destruction on innocent people, even children. But I praise the one true God that He has revealed to us that evil cannot win, for He has already won with the cross and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.