Welcome to Seeker's Jar! Unashamedly Pro-American, Pro-Christian, and Opposed to Dhimmitude and Socialism.
As far as work goes, I have the very fortunate blessing to be in the civilian employ of an institution that has a two-fold character - the United States Military Academy.
This institution is both an elite university on a par with the Ivy Leagues and the engineering schools of great reputation (such as RPI, CalTech, and MIT) and it is a military post, with the all of the trappings and regimentation that come with it. And of course, it gives great opportunity for many people to meet and hear from men not only of great intelligence or skill, but also men of character.
I had the distinct honor of meeting a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient by the name of Gary Beikirch (however fleetingly, as I and a co-worker met him on his way in, as we were leaving one of the food concessions and heading back to grind out some more code).
He seemed a very cordial man, of curious appearance not only on account of his medal, but also for his handlebar moustache, which with his demeanor gave him a sort of a kind, grandfatherly air. Perhaps it was also the outward working of the Holy Spirit shining through this man as well, as we shall learn that he is became a Christian not long after his wartime experience.
I had opportunity to confirm that the decoration he wore on his neck was in fact, a Congressional Medal of Honor.
Sadly, I did not have much time with which to ask him in detail about his CMOH which he was wearing today, so I had to do some googling to get the details.
Mr. Beikerch received his CMOH as a result of duty in Viet Nam (quoted from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society web site) :
BEIKIRCH, GARY B.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces.
Place and date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 1 April 1970.
Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y.
Born: 29 August 1947, Rochester, N.Y.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Beikirch, medical aidman, Detachment B-24, Company B, distinguished himself during the defense of Camp Dak Seang. The allied defenders suffered a number of casualties as a result of an intense, devastating attack launched by the enemy from well-concealed positions surrounding the camp. Sgt. Beikirch, with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved unhesitatingly through the withering enemy fire to his fallen comrades, applied first aid to their wounds and assisted them to the medical aid station. When informed that a seriously injured American officer was lying in an exposed position, Sgt. Beikirch ran immediately through the hail of fire. Although he was wounded seriously by fragments from an exploding enemy mortar shell, Sgt. Beikirch carried the officer to a medical aid station. Ignoring his own serious injuries, Sgt. Beikirch left the relative safety of the medical bunker to search for and evacuate other men who had been injured. He was again wounded as he dragged a critically injured Vietnamese soldier to the medical bunker while simultaneously applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to sustain his life. Sgt. Beikirch again refused treatment and continued his search for other casualties until he collapsed. Only then did he permit himself to be treated. Sgt. Beikirch’s complete devotion to the welfare of his comrades, at the risk of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Some further looking around turned up this entry on him, from (what I believed to be the book he was carrying - my photographic memory occasionally isn’t as good as I’d like) from the book, “Valor: A Gathering of Eagles” (ISBN 1581691114; Published in 2003 by Evergreen Press) by Jimmie Dean Coy.
It seems that Mr. Beikirch’s experience following his heroic actions in Viet Nam give testimony of a greater hero, who gave His life for our sins - Jesus Christ (from page 22 of Valor: A Gathering of Eagles, )
“I would like to share with you two of the most significant experiences in my life. My experiences in Vietnam taught me many life-changing lessons: How precious life is…how frightening death is…and how important God is to both life and death. After being med-evaced from Vietnam, wounded three times, and spending almost a year in the hospital, I was left with questions that I could not answer, an anger that I could not control, and a guilt that almost destroyed me. What I needed was a second experience.
“Two years after leaving Vietnam, a friend shared with me a simple but powerful message: God loved me… He had forgiven me because His Son, Jesus Christ, died for me, and He wanted His Spirit to become the center of my life. God’s allowing me to wear the Medal of Honor was only to open doors so I could share His love (Jer. 9:23-24; Ps. 49:20). Although this is not Scripture, the following quote had an immediate impact on me as soon as I read it. I first saw it in a Mike Force team house in Pleiku. ‘To really live you must almost die. To those who fight for it… life has a meaning…the protected will never know!’”
To see the rest of Mr. Beikirch’s inspiring testimony, refer to pages 22-27 of the book, or preview at Google Books (click here)