BLOG #2 – TALK TO SAM ON 032316

Talk for Students for the American Military on 032316

I am 76 and stand at the far end of what you face. I understand that some of you are planning a career in the military and others are not. In 15 minutes I want to tell you what I know from these 76 years that may be helpful to you as you make hundreds of decision about your life and career.

First, I recognize this is not a “faith-based” meeting. But let me say that nothing is as important as your aligning your world-view with your faith.

Second, I have four college degrees, taught at 2 major universities and spent 25 years with the Florida Department of Health, but one of the single most important episodes of my life was the U.S. Army. Even if you are not planning a career in the military, don’t miss out on at least 2 years of active duty. It will buy you credibility with a large part of American society as well as teach you discipline, team work and leadership.  Don’t miss it!

When I left college in 1963 I was eager to get into graduate school but the University of Tennessee School of Social work said I needed to work a year because I was too idealistic about people. In order to be free to work I needed to deal with the draft so I joined the Naval reserve. They promised me 12 months free active duty. I went to monthly meeting and two weeks at Great Lakes Naval Training Center while I worked as an AFDC case worker in Birmingham. When my active duty date came up I began to apply to officer programs. The Army called on a Monday in August of 1964 and said if I wanted to go to Officer Candidate School I would have to leave the next Monday. My life as I knew it came to an end.

Prior to my class of OCS, new candidates had been in the Army only 8 weeks for basic training. The attrition was high so they added 8 weeks of Advanced Infantry Training. The same guys were put together in one company for AIT and then all went together to Ft Benning for OCS in January of 1965. Early on they asked for assignment preferences. I wanted to go over seas. Vietnam was not on the radar so I requested the 1st Calvary in Korea.  Following OCS 30 of us went to airborne school and then to Ranger School.

250 men signed into Ranger School on July 8, 1965. 150 were told that their orders had been changed and they were to report immediately to their units. They were in Vietnam in 3 months. That left us with about 100 men in Ranger class 1-66, one of the smallest Ranger classes ever.

By the time I got to Korea, the First Cavalry swapped colors with the 2nd Infantry Division at Fort Benning. They all became the 1st Calvary Airmobile and I became apart of the 2nd ID.

In Korea, we had some contact with North Koreans up in the DMZ. The introduction to my book tells of my being involved in an ambush party in the DMZ just 3 weeks after a North Korean patrol killed 6 GIs.  We got the same issue of Stars and Stripes as they were getting in Vietnam. About a third of my OCS class were killed in Vietnam. 2 received the Medal of Honor. I began to feel a little guilty and tried to transfer to Vietnam twice but it did not work out. I have often wished that my 13 months in Korea had been in Vietnam and I had survived.

I joined the 20ths Special Forces, Alabama National Guard when I left active duty.

When I graduated from Ranger School in October 1965 we were told that the goal was to have a Ranger qualified soldier in every Infantry company in the Army. That changed in 1974 when the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions were established. The 3rd Battalion and the 75th Regimental Headquarters were established in 1984. The Ranger Tab is respected through out the military. To get some idea of what Range School is about go to my website, and click on the tab Ranger Websites. Class 10 of 2010 was video taped. It was edited down to 9 five minutes of video. 243 men began the course and 43 completed the class.

Advice for your future: It is not who you are but what you know and can do that will make for a successful career.  Find ways to set yourself apart. You have begun by going to college and getting that degree.

Seriously consider the military. I would have never left Birmingham if it had not been for the Army because I would not have occurred to me to leave Birmingham. I learned that there were good places and good people everywhere.  You just have to find them. The Army helped me find them.

In the military, you set yourself apart by training and certification.

If you go on active duty, you want to be with the units that are doing important things.  Right now in the Army that is Delta Force. To seriously be considered for Delta Force you need to first have a couple of years with the Ranger Regiment or Special Forces.

When you are on active duty, get all of the command experience you can get. I was a platoon leader and company commander and then the Battalion Adjutant. If the army was to be my career, I should have avoided staff positions like adjutant.

I had 11 years of active duty and national guard service when I resigned my commission as a Captain. I did that because I thought the monthly meetings and 2 weeks of training in the summer were to much for my schedule in Graduate School. That was the dumbest thing I ever did. 9 more years and that would be another retirement.  Start thinking about retirement on the front end of your career.

I challenge you to seriously consider the military as a career or at least a 2 year enlistment. It will serve you well.





Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8 NIV).

So, the devil likes to eat Christians.  Why is that? Is it because they taste like chicken? No, it is because they taste good to him and it is nutritious for his growth.  He is not interested in the weak and sickly Christians, in part because they are no threat to him or his kind.

The stronger and healthier the Christian the more that Christian will be attacked by the “dark forces” of Ephesians 6:12.

The armor of God alone will not give you success in this battle. Do you really believe and accept the Bible? Then look closely. After Paul says that we need to put on the full armor of God including the belt of truth (v14), the breastplate of righteousness (v14), feet fitted with the gospel of peace (v15), the shield of faith (v16), the helmet of salvation (v17), and the sword of the Spirit (v17), he says BE AERT! (v18).

Ephesians 6:18 and I Peter 5:8 are not the only passages in the New Testament that admonishes Christians to BE AERT!

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).

My pastor has preached, “Christianity is like playing water polo in the deep end of the pool without any timeouts.”  Putting on the protective armor of Ephesians 6 is essential but does not eliminate the need to do battle.  The Christian in the real world is always in the deep end of the pool.

Being alert is critical for victorious Christian living.  But when we are confronted by a spiritual challenge the question becomes, “Now What?”  Christian’s must be prepared for this question by having a plan to deal with the challenge before the confrontation. Beth Moore in her study of Daniel states that to deal with “self exaltation” the Christian must have a predetermined plan of action.

A “predetermined plan of action” is a way of life for the U.S. Army Ranger in a hostile jungle.  When danger areas are encountered, Rangers have a predetermined plan to deal with them that they have rehearsed over and over.  Using this Ranger training as a metaphor, The Spiritual Ambush presents actions a Christian may use when confronted by spiritual challenges in the workplace.  Interviews with Christians identified eight spiritual danger areas that were observed in their workplace. One danger area with alert triggers and actions is given as an example identified by those interviewed. That danger area is “inappropriate sexual behavior”, labeled “Something More.” Pastor James Garlow stated: “Sex is God’s idea, and second to salvation; it’s the best idea He ever had.” It is a powerful force in every person’s life and therefore the Christian needs to be prepared for “Something More.”

Danger areas: flirting, a person of the opposite sex, business trips, a place or location

Alert Trigger: You feel the chemistry, a person “turns you on”, you feel a need to hide a relationship, or men and women on a business trip together.

Protocol for Victorious Action: divert the discussion away from the personal to business, have pictures and other family memorabilia in your office that shout I am not available for “something more”, and/or avoid that specific person to whom you are attracted. When all else fails, run. That is what Joseph did when confronted by Potiphar’s wife

In summary: being successful in these encounters with the dark forces Ephesians 6 requires a plan before the encounter. Then overcoming the challenge is not dependent on inspiration. It is dependent on discipline.

This blog is from The Spiritual Ambush , published in 2016. It also discusses Spiritual Warfare (Chp. 1), What is a Spiritual Warrior (Chp. 2), What is the Spiritual Warrior’s Global Positioning System (a history of the Bible) (Chp. 3), What is the Spiritual Warrior’s Jungle (Chp.4), How can the Spiritual Warrior Counter the Spiritual Ambush (Chp 5), and What Can the Church do to Help the Spiritual Warrior (Chp.6).






We need to honor our military involved in special operations. A large number of those are Ranger qualified. One way to honor them is to use a “Ranger Stamp” on your mail.

The U.S. Postal Service does not create stamps for public purchase dedicated to U.S. Military Units because there are so many such units. The decision on the subjects of stamps comes from the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.

Stamp Subject Selection Criteria #14 states “Due to the large number of individual units within the military services, stamps will not be issued to honor individual groups or units.”

However, the Postal Service has an excellent easy to use site of creating your own personalized stamp. You may create a $.44 stamp honoring Rangers. The Postal Service will charge you $21.98 for a sheet of 20 stamps, that is $1.01 per stamp. That includes mailing and taxes. That is high but I think it is worth it to get a stamp that honors Rangers.

Here are easy to follow instructions for you to create your stamp. You will need a credit card.

Step #1 Copy this photo to your computer desktop. Note the file name on your computer. You will be asked for that file name in the creation process.


Step #2 Go to the U.S. Postal Service web site

Click on the “Create PhotoStamps” button and follow the instructions. The process will allow you to “size” the photo to fit the stamp. You will receive your sheet of stamps in about a week.