On a cool, quiet January morning, Corporal Rick Garrett was shaving in the shower trailer at Camp Victory, Iraq. Wrapped in a towel and enjoying the energy he felt from a good night’s sleep, he began thinking about the months he had left overseas. Many questions filled his mind: Would the war get even bloodier? Would any of his buddies be killed? Would he do his duty well? In fact, would he even survive?
Then another question – it was a prayer, really – formed itself in his mind: “God, are you able to protect me over here?”
The words had just become a conscious thought when Corporal Garrett heard a deafening crash. It was the sound of the trailer door shattering. An RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) had pierced the door and was now flying through the middle of the trailer. In an instant, the projectile flew past Corporal Garrett, lightly creasing his stomach en route, and embedded itself in the trailer wall opposite the door.
For a moment, Garrett was frozen in shock, expecting the RPG to explode. But it did not. Realizing he might have a moment to escape, the Corporal ran to the gaping hole where the door had been and hurled himself through it to the ground several feet below. Jumping up as quickly as he could, he sprinted from the trailer while shouting a warning to those in the nearby trailers. Dozens of soldiers braced themselves for an explosion.
Yet nothing happened. The RPG never exploded. It was a dud. Garrett picked himself up from the ground and began laughing with relief. As a crowd gathered and began congratulating him for his luck, he remembered the question he had been asking God: “Can you protect me over here?” It seemed that God had answered.
In case the message hadn’t been clear enough, though, there was something more. When the ordinance specialists examined the unexploded RPG, they found a message had been scratched onto it. This was not uncommon. Insurgents often painted or scratched some message on the missiles they fired as an added insult to their American enemy. But the message on this particular missile had a special meaning to Corporal Garrett.
It read simply, “From the God of the American Soldiers.”
Apparently, an insurgent had intended the message as a cruel insult. Corporal Garrett knew better. Whatever the insurgents meant to say, he knew that his God was saying in dramatic terms, “Yes, I can protect you over here. For I am indeed, ‘the God of the American Soldiers.’”
Taken from ‘American Heroes’ by Stephen Mansfield.