One Lucky Marine
Even though it's officially June, we had so many wonderful military submissions from last month that we're doing an encore. Today's experience was submitted by Brother Kerry Carlini.
For the Branch No. 2 saints, Sunday evening, December 7, 1941, had started as any other M.B.A. service, although the aim that evening was to rehearse for their upcoming Christmas program. Suddenly, like the rest of the world, their evening activities came to a deadening halt when the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor was relayed to the branch (in person, for a phone had yet to be installed).
For Emil and Anna Carlini, this would begin an exercise in faith. Their 19-year-old son Joseph, who had enlisted in the Marines, was stationed at Pearl Harbor. The saints that evening turned the meeting over to prayer. Their prayer vigils would last for four years, at times petitioning the assistance of Sister Marietta Ruzzi. "My testimony is to illustrate the power of prayer," Joe would later write, "Because of the constant and never ceasing prayers of my mother...in my behalf, my life was saved not once but twice one night during World War II." He tells of that night, late in the summer of 1945 on the Island of Okinawa assigned as a combat engineer:
Another marine and I had to stay with some of our equipment, which we were watching in a clearing. This night Japanese patrols were very active so the Marine infantry set up a defense line on some high ground behind us, about 100 feet. The moon was full and almost like daylight.
A 30-caliber machine gun nest on the line above and behind us saw a squad of Japanese soldiers run across the clearing to the tent we were in and squat down behind it. So the machine gunner shot a burst of fire next to the front tent flap, which was open, and shouted to us to get out.
The other marine was gone in a flash, but I couldn't find my boots. By the time I headed out of the tent, rifle and cartridge belt in my right hand and boots in my left hand, some time had passed. The crew on the machine gun nest could see and hear someone approaching our lines, and the order was anything that moves, shoot it.
Well, I made it to the lines. The gunner called me over and said, "I could see a silhouette moving toward us. The lookouts could see something coming up the hill and we thought you were a Jap. I put the sights on you and squeezed the trigger. My hand had no strength. I could not squeeze that burst off. My hand had nothing. It hung limp. This is the craziest thing that ever happened to me. You are one lucky marine."
The Japanese squad hadn't moved as yet, and a marine lieutenant assigned me to a position on the line as a rifleman to the right of the machine gun nest to help protect the right flank. Every eye in that sector was on my tent waiting for that squad to move.
Some time later, some pressure on my face began to push me backwards. I was in a sitting position, with my knees near my chest, and this force flattened me on my back. The pressure on my face closed my eyes, and I could not move. A Japanese automatic rifle opened up on my right. I opened my eyes, and the tracer bullets were clearing my chest by about one inch. Seemed like they fired a whole clip of ammo. Every fourth round is a red tracer for the gunner to keep his sight on. The enemy fire hit the machine gun nest and killed two marines including the gunner. For a reason I did not understand I was spared.
Years later, it was explained to me about the prayer vigil of the mothers and the experiences that God would watch and protect the sons of the saints.
By unhappy mistake, last week's Miracle Monday was cut short. We want to close the loop by sharing that Brother Frank DiDonato did ask for his baptism on April 28, 1973. He was later ordained a deacon and was very dedicated to his calling, laboring for the Lord with all his heart.
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
1 Nephi 19-20