Early in 1951, I found myself in Korea in command of a field artillery battalion with the immediate prospects of taking these men into battle against the Communists. Many of them were relatives of personal friends, and practically all of them were from my hometown or nearby communities. With this to face, I knew I must have help. I was taught from childhood to seek help from God through prayer. I had always believed in God as a supreme being and believed in the power of prayer. But the events that happened early in my battalion’s participation in the Korean War did much to strengthen this belief.
Not long after arriving at the front, and during my battalion’s first engagement with the enemy, we found ourselves separated from all friendly forces. The Republic of Korea forces we were supporting at that time fell back without warning us, making it possible for the Communist forces to practically surround us without being detected. When my liaison officer, who had been sent out to establish contact with the Korean forces, returned with the information that all friendly forces had fallen back and we were alone, the extreme seriousness of our situation was immediately apparent to me. I was responsible for the safety of 600 men entrusted to me. For moments, I suppose, I was almost dazed. Then instinctively, my thoughts turned to God and I knew that our safety was in the hands of our maker. I humbly asked for help, as I know and felt that many of the others did who were near me. The change that took place in my feelings and the events that took place almost immediately are hard to explain.
They made a lasting impression on me, for I feel sure that I was guided by a supreme being. It became clear to me the course that we must follow, and all the men calmly responded to a rapid series of instructions. In almost superhuman time, the battalion was assembled and headed for the temporary safety of friendly lines. Over twelve to fifteen miles of rough, steep canyon road and for about nine grueling hours, a prayer remained in my heart. Although the situation was precarious, yet not once was the outcome doubtful to me. I feel positive that we were guided to safety.
Through the war in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945, and again in Korea, I viewed the untold human suffering with horror as I realized that each individual, regardless of race, color, or creed, was a creature created by God to occupy an equal place on Earth. The thought that each underprivileged person was an individual loved by parents had a deep impression on me. In the battle zone one day, I found two small Korean children huddled together beside what remained of the only home their family had. They were disease-ridden and almost famished from hunger. The father and mother had been killed and were lying in the ruin of their hut. The picture of these two children returns to me often, and at this scene I vowed that I would do whatever I could in my small way to relieve human suffering, wherever I can. This is my belief.