Friday, October 8, 2021

Part 4 - The Rest Of The Story

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;” – Luke 4:18

Our family believes that Chaplain Austin planted an eternal seed in our dad’s heart on that summer day in Korea. The seed that took nearly 20 years to germinate.  The Bible our dad received from Chaplain Austin has held a place of prominence in our family’s home from the day our parents received Christ until today.  Some time after our dad went to be with the Lord, my mom asked if I could find some information about the Chaplain who had signed the Bible. She wanted to thank him for his ministry and to tell him about our family.  Unfortunately our attempts to contact Chaplain Austin or his family have been unsuccessful.  My wife’s uncle, retired Navy, was able to get an excerpt from Chaplain Austin’s service record and two citations Chaplain Austin received for heroism during WWII and Korea. Chaplain Austin received the Navy Commendation Medal with combat “V” for actions on Iwo Jima.  He received the Bronze Star with combat “V” for actions in Korea.  The “V” is for valor or exceptional bravery in battle.  This is an excerpt from his medal citation for service on Iwo Jima.

Navy Commendation Medal w/ Combat (V), Iwo Jima Chaplain with Marine Amphibious corps landing force Iwo Jima 19 Feb thru 23 March, 1945.Unceasing endeavor to help and comfort wounded and dying men regardless of creed or color.  Constant source of inspiration.  Visited men at their duty stations day and night regardless of the hazards.  Actions in keeping with the highest standards.”

He also received the Bronze Star with combat “V” for actions in Korea. This is an excerpt from his medal citation.

Bronze Star with Combat (V), 1st MAR Div, Korea. For meritorious achievement with Marine Infantry Battalion in Korea From 10 March 1951 to 4 April 1951 displayed outstanding courage and devotion to duty ministering to the spiritual needs of the men.  Frequently exposing himself to intense mortar, artillery, automatic weapons and small arms fire without regard for his personal safety.  Moved fearlessly. Gave aid and comfort to the wounded and dying.”

His Navy records indicate that he conducted the first Protestant service on Mt Suribachi at Iwo Jima the day the flag was raised, 23 Feb 1945.  Hank Austin was what I call a “warrior priest” willing to put himself, un-armed, in harms’ way in obedience to God’s call on his life and the pursuit of ministry to lay his life down for his calling.   

He served in the Navy for 26 years and retired as a Navy Captain or Full Colonel (Air Force, Army, Marines) As an ordained Baptist minister he had an incredible opportunity to bring comfort and encouragement to men and women who look death in the face every day.

No greater love has one man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13 

The calling you and I have received from God may not find us on a battlefield but we are in no less of a conflict. We are in a spiritual battle – every day.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” – Ephesians 6:12

As such – we are to “walk the line of life’s foxholes” encouraging the saints and sharing the Gospel with the lost – planting and watering knowing that it is God who will bring the increase.

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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