Twice Saved By The Blood
By: Roger Cook
The burden of the events of this story had been borne in the heart of one of our Armed Force veterans for more than four decades. In telling me, and others, about the specifics of this story, Michael Driggers has allowed us to know some Vietnam War details that very few people know. They are terrible memories that have haunted his mind and affected his life and health, since they occurred in 1970.
Mike’s life story begins when he was born into the family of a pastor in Alton, Illinois. As he grew up, he found he had a gift for music, and in fact he later became a very accomplished pianist, playing for church groups and solo performers. Even now, at the age of seventy years old, he is still quite capable of lighting up the keyboard.
At the age of 16 years Mike made the great decision to ask Jesus Christ to forgive his sins and he became a born again Christian. He had heard many times that Jesus was the Son of God who shed his blood to cover the sins of all who would believe but this was the time that he made his choice personal.
As time went on he graduated from high school and enrolled in college, but it wasn’t too long before he decided that it just wasn’t for him. Since the United States was involved in the Vietnam War at the time, his status changed and he became eligible for the military draft. Within a short period of time he found himself enlisted as a soldier in the U S. Army. After several intense months of training, he received orders sending him to join the combat forces in the Vietnam War.
While out on one of their patrols looking for the enemy, Mike was carrying a M60 machine gun when they were suddenly attacked by the enemy. The soldier that was carrying his ammunition was struck by enemy fire causing him to go down immediately. The bullet that hit him split open his stomach from one side to the other. As he lay there his organs began pushing out of his body through the gaping wound in his abdomen. Mike dropped down beside him and tried to push his insides back into his body and hold the wound closed in an effort to stop the bleeding.
In the few minutes it took for the medics to arrive, Mike had to listen to a 19 year old soldier in horrific pain, call out for his mother. The medics took over only to pronounce the soldier dead a few minutes later. The soldier’s haunting cries and the experience of holding his entrails inside his body would echo in Mikes’ dreams and in his mind for many years.
As the war continued, Mike would face the most difficult experience of his time in Vietnam. While once again out on patrol, his unit was ambushed this time by North Vietnamese soldiers. When his unit was pinned down, and experiencing injuries from enemy fire the decision was made to pull them back and evacuation helicopters were sent in to save as many as possible. As they landed the soldiers scrambled to get on board while trying to dodge enemy fire and live to fight another day.
As he ran for the rescue flight with his big gun in hand, he lost his footing and fell hard into a hole. Almost knocked out, he was unable to immediately get back up. Under heavy fire, the copters took the men they had on board out of harm’s way. When Mike fell, and didn’t immediately rise up they may have thought he had been shot and killed.
One enemy soldier came up to the place where he was laying and then was immediately hit and fell, mortally wounded, on top of Mike. When the battlefield grew silent, he knew that he was on his own with the dead soldier bleeding all over him. Covered in blood, Mike knew his only hope was to play dead, until reinforcements came back for him. As the enemy took over the area, he could hear them speaking in perfect English asking wounded soldiers to call out to get medical help. Mike remembered the warning they had been given during his training about this type of enemy tactic. Unfortunately, at least one wounded soldier called out for help, and when he was located he was immediately executed.
The enemy continued to check the battlefield for survivors, and when they came to where Mike laid, they found a bloody mess of an American soldier with a Vietnamese soldier on top of him. They were suspicious about whether Mike was dead. He was praying that God would help him stay alive and help him lie perfectly still. This situation reminded me of Psalm 46:10A Be still and know I am God, and Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
One enemy soldier used his rifle to poke Mike in the forehead twice, and fired a shot right next to his head to see if he would flinch. God answered his prayer as he was able to remain perfectly still. He laid there under the dead soldier for about twenty-five minutes before the American troops came back to the area and captured the North Vietnamese soldiers. They rescued Mike and some other survivors.
In writing about this incident, I found it disturbing to think about the mental and physical trauma so many of our troops went through as they fought in foreign wars. I pondered about how I might have responded if I experienced that situation, and how Mike actually did respond. It is no wonder that many of our veterans of war refuse to relate some of their stories, even to their families and dearest friends.
The thought struck my mind that Mike had been saved by blood twice. The first time was when his heart and soul had been covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ at Calvary. By faith he had asked to be forgiven and became a part of the family of God. Then several years later in a country thousands of miles away, his physical life was saved by a different covering of blood. His life was covered by God’s amazing grace.
God continued to bless Mike when the army shipped him home and designated him 100% disabled with PTSD and other physical difficulties due to encounters with the defoliant chemical called Agent Orange. Through counseling and huge doses of God’s grace, Mike has opened up about the details of his war journey.
Oh, by the way, did I tell you that a short time after he came home he was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia? It was there that he met a godly young woman who just happened to be the prettiest girl in town. (She actually had won some Beauty pageants.) He is the father of a son and daughter, several grandchildren and a great-grandchild. Mike loves the fact that God had plans for him that have lasted long after the hole he was in on the far side of the world.
Michael and Shirley: The Results
Isn’t God’s grace a wonderful thing?
– Roger Allen Cook
Roger Allen Cook is the Pastor to seniors at Southside Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga. He was formerly the administrator of a Christian school in Michigan for 42 years. He has four children and 15 grandchildren. Roger has written two books, Into Deeper Grace and Sailing by Grace – A Journey of the Heart. He also loves to write about stories of faith and God’s grace. If you would like read more of these stories you will find them here.
Article and Personal Photos are the property of Roger Allen Cook and Published With Permission