The Morning Star Rising on the First Day

In December 1965, I experienced what I believe to be a Divine Intervention that altered the life path that I had been on up to that point.

I was in Fort Ord California, near the end of the last week of Advanced Infantry Training (AIT). The sun was going down when I had returned to my billet with a package of clean laundry. After talking to my neighbor, I was placing the laundry into my footlocker when I noticed a faint light in the darkness through a nearby window. I watched as it slowly illuminated the entire street scene and, eventually, the inside of our poorly lit billet as well.

There were now several soldiers in the street looking up into the sky and pointing to something. Curious to see what it was, I walked back toward the billet door. I could see the number of GI’s in the street rapidly growing as I passed the long line of windows on the wall.

When I got to the doorway, I encountered a group of about ten soldiers that were blocking my path to the exit. They were engaged in banter, laughing and joking and seemingly having a good time. For some reason, they did not notice my presence.

So, I asked them to make room for me, but it was like they did not hear me. So, I asked again in a louder voice but still did not get any response from these soldiers. Determined to see what was going on outside, I started to work my way through them, gently pushing on them when necessary. When I lowered my shoulder into the first man I encountered, I found that he was not responding to the light force I was applying. So, I pushed gradually harder until even my maximum effort would not budge this man one inch. It was then that I stepped back to look at this immovable man.

I was startled when I saw that his face was not moving; there was no eye movement or detectable breathing. Then, I noticed the quiet. The typical noise of a billet full of active soldiers had instantly turned to pure silence. I focused on the beads of sweat on the man’s face; they just stuck there, not trickling downward.

My gaze panned across to the other soldiers in the doorway. They were standing there like manakins in a store window, seemingly flash-frozen in an instant.

I slowly panned my gaze across the billet. It looked as if someone had pressed the stop button on their video. There was no sound and no movement.

I then focused on the light streaming through the windows. I saw the dust suspended in the air and observed that even these particles were motionless as well, not being moved by the currents of circulating air.

I turned back to the doorway and looked at the soldiers standing there. I wondered why I could move and look around while they could not. Then suddenly, everything returned to normal. The men in the doorway continued in their banter, precisely from where they left off. The sounds of the billet returned as before. I turned back toward my bunk and could see everyone moving around as if nothing had happened.

I looked through the windows and could see that the light was fading. So I worked my way through to the door, open it, and I looked up into the sky. I saw a ball of light ascending into the heavens, gradually disappearing as it rose until it left only darkness.

I returned to my bunk, sat down, and looked around. There was no one discussing what had just happened. The men were doing what they did every night as if nothing had happened. Then it dawned on me, they were not a part of the experience and therefore had nothing to remember. But then, why would I be the only one to know?

My answer came early the next morning when the Company Clerk came to escort me to the Company Commander office. Once we were inside the HQ, he told me to go right in. So I marched right in, did a left face on the center of his desk, I came to Attention, and saluted him. Then in a firm voice, I shouted, “Sir, Private Gordon reporting as ordered, Sir.” The Captain responds, “At ease, Private,” and I move to Parade Rest.

The Commander then spoke to me in an agitated, authoritarian voice, “Gordon, did you know that you have a type 2 profile on your eyes?” I snapped a reply back, “Sir, Private Gordon does not know what a type 2 profile on my eyes is, Sir.” The Commander sighed deeply and sat back a bit in his chair while continuously looking me in the eye. “Son, it means that you can not be in an Infantry Unit. I will make arrangements for someone to get you reassigned. That is all.” I came back to Attention, saluted the Captain, did a left face, marched out of his office. I walked down the street to my billets, wondering why I had to suffer these eight weeks of misery before anyone noticed my ineligibility.

It was not till much later in my life that I realized what a tremendous gift I had received that day. I escaped being assigned to an Infantry Unit in 1965, in the hight of the ramp-up of the Viet Nam War, this was an extraordinary blessing!

It was then that I started to put all the pieces together. I had thought about all the other times that God had directly intervened in my life. I reviewed in my mind all the experiences that defied scientific explanation, and yet protected me from harm or warned me of danger. All of the things that I never told anyone.

Some may say that there is not a direct cause and effect relationship between what happened that night and my reassignment. If this is the case, then my response to you is that if this were a once in a lifetime experience, then I would agree. But this is not the case here; I have documented many other similar experiences to this one. How many like experiences would make it mathematically improbable to come to any different conclusion that they all add up to God’s directing and protecting one’s life? It is clear to me that it can only be God who can do the things that have described here. What is clear is that the direction of my life changed course in that short, 12-hour span.

Oh, I did eventually go to Viet Nam, but not as a part of an Infantry unit. In 1966, I was with the 618th Maintenance Company in the Central Highlands. Years later, when I was doing my research, I came to the belief that all the men in my training unit became apart of the Fourth Infantry Division. I remember watching their convoy stretching out for miles as they moved past us and on to their westward targets.

It was only a few days later that we heard the sounds of their battles. We felt the ground shaking as the bombs and shells exploded miles away. The sounds of the explosions rumbled through the air like rolling thunder through the nights afterward. I remember lying in my bunk on one of those nights, thinking, I’m glad I am not where those boys are today. As it turns out, this Division took more casualties than any other unit in the Vietnam War. Thant you, Lord.

One more thing. The reason I was the only one to experience what happened that night at Fort Ord was that God was delivering a message that was for me and me alone. He wanted me to understand that what happened was for me and not anyone else. He wanted me to know that He was working in my life. He was redirecting me onto a path of his choosing, in this case, a pathway of safety.

Praise God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!