Recruit Meets D.I.

“My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the one who saves me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:3 NLT).


My soldier tells of his very first “near-death” experience during his time of service. It occurred while he was still in boot camp. It happened when his group was on a training drill in a wooded area. His Drill Instructor ordered him to run into his office, probably about a half mile away, retrieve a certain item, and to hustle right back with it.

Being a gung-ho recruit wanting to impress his D.I., the soldier took off at full run. As he approached the officer’s quarters, it never occurred to him that he should walk once inside of the building, so down the long hallway he sprinted.

Just then a Drill Instructor stepped around a corner. He was an enormous man, with thick arms and skin black as midnight. He never expected a silly young recruit to be running in his hallway. The over-eager soldier ran smack into the unsuspecting man, knocking him completely off of his feet and sending his hat rolling down the hall.

The recruit immediately offered a hand to assist the instructor up and began stammering a profuse apology, but the D.I was quicker and stronger than anyone or anything this recruit had ever known. In less than an instant, the enraged instructor punched the boy’s hand away, leapt to his feet, and grabbed the recruit by the neck. The scrawny six-foot tall recruit was now pinned up against the wall like a rag-doll, feet completely off of the floor, unable to breathe or speak as he looked into the fuming eyes of the Drill Instructor.

He was certain in that moment that he was about to meet his Savior face to face.

Hearing the commotion, a second instructor stepped into the hallway. Handing the first D.I. his cover, he snapped angrily, “He’s one of mine, I’ll handle him!”

After what seemed like forever, but was probably only moments, the recruit felt the iron grip around his neck loosen and he dropped in heap to the floor gasping for breath. The still furious, massive instructor stormed away like an angry bull, spitting, snorting, cursing and hurling threatening insults over his shoulder.

The second instructor grabbed my son by his collar and roughly pulled him to his feet. He half pushed, half dragged the boy down the hallway, loudly berating him as they went. He dragged him out of the building and around the corner, placed the recruit up against the wall and let go of him. Again, the boy braced himself for the worst.

Then he realized that the instructor had a strange smirk on his face. Shaking his head, the D.I. brushed his hands across the boy’s shoulders, straightening his uniform, and, apparently trying not to laugh, gruffed, “NEVER run inside!”

With that, he gave my boy a shove and sent him on his way. After catching his breath and mustering some courage, the soldier tiptoed into the building to snatch the item he had been sent for. Carefully checking the hallway, he then crept back outside, a little more of a man, a bit closer to the leader he would eventually become, and extremely glad to “have dodged his first bullet!”

“Lord, in re-telling this account, I am so thankful that I had been on my knees in prayer for my soldier from the very start of his enlistment. I thank You for keeping him in the protecting palm of Your hand and for teaching him many valuable lessons during those years, lessons that he will appreciate and use for the remainder of his life.”


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