A Victory at Sea - through Prayer

In this comment I would like to show the "power of prayer," through an event I experienced while in the U. S. Navy.

Back in the early 1950's I served four years in the Navy (I'm really giving away my age in this one). I was an Aviation Electronic Technician in Fighter Squadron VF-172. Our squadron of F2H2 "Banshee" jets served aboard three aircraft carriers during my enlistment. I don't remember if we were aboard the U.S.S. Roosevelt (CVB-42), or the U.S.S. Wasp (CVA-18) at the time, but we were on maneuvers in the Atlantic.

About 15 or 20 of our aircraft were shot off the catapults, and most likely aircraft from the other squadrons were also flying that day. I worked on the flight deck as a last-minute troubleshooter to any of the electronic equipment that might fail while the jets were getting ready for takeoff. I also pulled the safety screen off the starboard jet engine, just before takeoff.

Our planes were on maneuvers for quite some time - when it seemed that out of nowhere - a thick fog settled around the ship. Thick like pea soup. This fog lasted a while, making it impossible for the pilots to land on - what looks like - a tossing postage stamp in the ocean. We knew the jets were running out of fuel, and things were desperate to say the least. Somebody made an announcement over the speaker system (I believe it was the Captain) that the pilots were in danger of ditching their planes in the ocean, if the fog did not lift soon, and he called for prayer from all hands.

I don't know how many prayed. There were at least 3,000 sailors stationed on any of the large carriers in those days - but as they prayed - the fog lifted in minutes. It was called a miracle. Our ship came into full view of the pilots, and they all landed safely, one by one.

I'll never forget this: As the landing gear of one of our jets hit the deck, the plane experienced a "flame-out" - which meant it was completely out of fuel. If the pilot had arrived even 10 seconds later - I don't know - he might have crashed into the fantail, or the ocean.

But each of them got back safely, and each of them were just about out of fuel, in that miracle day.

A few years after my discharge, I was at home watching a TV show called "Navy Log". It was a weekly series in the mid to late 50's based on true Naval stories. To my surprise one night the show was about that fog incident - telling of the miracle of the lifting fog, while the crew on board the carrier prayed for the safety of the pilots.

As I said before - prayer is the only sure way for an answer to a situation - especially mass prayer. There is power in numbers. When people pray en mass, good things happen. The ship's crew that day could have stood around and did nothing, drank coffee, played cards. They could have marched around the flight deck carrying placards, protesting and demonstrating against the fog.

But instead they bowed their heads and prayed to God, the only One who could rectify the situation - who could lift a fog in a moment's notice - and He did.

By George Konig
August 14, 2005

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