6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: Using the story of two marines who gave their lives in the War on Terror, Pastor John preaches on the type of attitude believers will need as the end times approaches and persecution ramps up against Christians.

Leaning In

CCCAG April 7th, 2019

Scripture- Ezekiel 22:30

Intro: Today’s message is inspired by a story I read several months ago about a speech Marine Lt General John Kelly gave at a Gold Star gathering

Speech from Lt General John Kelly

From Kelly's speech in 2010, 4 days after his own son died:

Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces. On the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, were switching out in Ramadi- called the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.

Two Marines, 22 year old Corporal Jonathan Yale and 20 year old Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi police.

Corporal Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Lance Corporal Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.

The mission orders they received from their sergeant I am sure went something like: "Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass." "You clear?" I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: "Yes Sergeant,"

A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. (explain)

The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck's engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.

Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn't have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.

I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, "We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing." The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, the Iraqi’s ran for safety just prior to the explosion.

All of them survived. A few were injured … some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, "We ran like any normal man would to save his life."

Choking past the emotion he said, "General Kelly, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did."

"No sane man."

"They saved us all."

One of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.

You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over or call the sergeant to ask what they should do.

Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what their orders said: " … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass."

The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open fire. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.

For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines' weapons firing non-stop…the truck's windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the suicide bomber who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers.

The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated.

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