Gliding Away from Danger

Written by Brother Otto Henderson on Monday, May 05, 2014. Posted in Miracles

Gliding Away from Danger

Today's Miracle Monday is an oft-shared experience by Brother Otto Henderson. We're happy to share this with you to kick off our month of military-related miracles. If you haven't sent yours in, there's still time! Click here to share your story.

When I was in the army during World War II, I was stationed overseas in England, and the military needed to transport us over to Holland and Germany. I remember all the men were all gathered in ranks in a big field, and an officer was speaking to us. I remember I was in the third row on the left side, and just a few yards away from were a row of military gliders. The officer told us that pretty soon, we'd all be flying on those gliders.

Military gliders looked like shabby airplanes, but they did not have an actual engine to keep them in the air. That's why they were nicknamed "silent wings." Gliders were attached to a "real" plane by a 300-foot nylon rope and towed into the air at speeds of up to 130 to 150 mph. Gliders were cheaply constructed of wood and steel fastenings and covered with fabric. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force describes them as "flimsy, noisy, unarmed." They often crash landed in less than ideal landing zones.

"I've never been on a glider before," someone called out from the crowd.

"The man who is flying it has never been on one either," replied the officer. "He's been trained in a classroom. And you just hope he gets you down."

At that point, a soldier on a bicycle rode up to the officer and handed him a note. The officer read it quickly and then barked, "Henderson! You're wanted in the orderly room."

I had no idea why I was wanted there, but I went. As it turns out, I was put on another assignment — a desk job — that required me to stay in England a little longer. My entire group boarded the gliders without me. Later, I was sent to Germany via Belgium on a landing ship tank (LST), a much safer mode of transportation.

What I didn't know at the time was that gliders had a 40 percent casualty rate for some missions. In fact, some military historians now refer to them as "flying coffins" or "tow targets." Had I boarded the glider, only the Lord knows if I would've survived.

After arriving in Belgium, I saw one of my old buddies. His leg was wrapped in a big cast and he had bruises up and down one side of his body.

"What happened to you?" I asked.

"I got on the glider," he said. Thankfully, he wasn't seriously hurt, and the leg injury was his ticket home. But I knew there were others who weren't so fortunate.

I know that God spared me from the gliders because of the prayers of those at home, and I'm forever thankful.

Check out the fact sheet below to learn more about the D-Day gliders.

WWII-Glider

Theme for June

Next month, our theme is angels. Please share any testimonies or experiences that have to do with angels in any way. Perhaps the Lord sent you an angel in disguise or revealed an angel to you in a vision. Please click here to share your story!

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Comments (1)

  • Teri-Lyn Tunno

    Teri-Lyn Tunno

    07 May 2014 at 18:25 |
    I really loved your experience!! Not only was it a blessing to read but I also learned about some history that I did not know about. Thank God He spared you the experience of flying in one of those Gliders. How scary that had to have been. Thank God He spared you through the war!! May God continue to bless you much!!

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