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Chaplain recounts ‘deathly silence’ as ship sends missiles at Y

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–An initial report from a Southern Baptist chaplain who witnessed the launch of his ship’s first Tomahawk missiles against Yugoslavia has been received by Bob Vickers, director of chaplaincy evangelism for the North American Mission Board.
The chaplain said that as the first launches were made a “deathly silence” fell over the ship, and the men started realizing they were truly in a combat situation, and that some may die, Vickers said March 25. “There will not be any cheering tonight,” the chaplain wrote in an e-mail to Vickers.
Before the campaign began, the chaplain said he gave this prayer over the ship’s public address system to the troops: “Lord, we come to you this evening wondering what it may hold. We ask that you watch over us. Amen.”
Navy chaplains are probably the ones primarily affected at this point in the operation, Vickers said. Aircraft carriers normally have two or three chaplains on board, while other ships in the carrier group usually have one.
The beginning of any combat operation is “a point in time when people are just really receptive to talking about their religious faith, talking about Christ, talking about family, talking about personal needs,” Vickers said. “And they are wide open to that, probably more than at any other time.”

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  • James Dotson