"Be proud and brave" said the guy’s father to him, and to all within earshot, as we waited in the pissing rain for the trucks that were to bus us on the first leg of what would prove to be a long journey to the Florida training area. Our buddy’s father was indeed a "father" for not only was he our buddies father he was also by profession a preacher, and full to overflowing with ecclesiastical bullshit.
He was a kind of throwback to the days of African and Pacific Island Missionaries, who enthusiastically revelled in spreading the Lords word amongst those classed as the devil worshiping heathen. He had relieved a man whom we had all deeply respected because of his quiet way of getting things done for any who requested his help. Believer or non-believer he assisted all regardless of faith, or lack of it. He also never thumped the good book nor grated on our nerves with pious claptrap the way this new guy did.
Yep, our old Preacher was truly a father to all, a perfect example of what a spiritual leader should be. Even better, he had survived two tours in Vietnam.Therefore, he was one of us
Our new Preacher turned to address all gathered there, raised his arms and spread them wide. Face lifted skyward as the rain thundered down in a heavenly torrent. He cried out in prayer "Lord, bless these young Crusaders who go forth and do your work, to smite thine enemies, let them be a credit to you and their families as they fight the good fight, the lords fight, crushing the heathen before them!"
With a smile on his lips, face turned to the heavens and arms still held wide, he slowly lowered his gazed over us. Expectantly waiting for shouts of joy, for a great outpouring of crusading cheering, of helmets being thrown into the air and weapons fired off in one great rolling volley. A mass fit of glorious biblical and patriotic fervour.
However, what he actually received in return for the prayer was silence, as we stood there like sheep in a field, staring in disbelief. Being now completely soaked through to our very skin a joyous cry to heaven and firing off weapons, which we had very carefully cleaned, oiled, then placed snugly into their waterproof carriers was without doubt the last thing...