[Marxism] Field Immersion Baptismal Liner Instructions

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 29 10:16:08 MDT 2004


You couldn't make this stuff up as fiction, because it would be too 
unbelievable.  All that is lacking is a visit from Billy Graham to bless 
this Christian Crusade onsite.

Marines Find Faith Amid the Fire
Thu Apr 29
By Tony Perry Times Staff Writer

FALLOUJA, Iraq (news - web sites) — On Monday, Echo Company battled 
insurgents for two hours. One Marine was killed and 15 were wounded in the 
latest and bloodiest of numerous skirmishes.
Then four Marines — from the battle-hardened company, part of the 2nd 
Battalion, 1st Regiment of the 1st Marine Division — asked a Protestant 
chaplain to arrange a battlefield baptism.

"I've been talking to God a lot during the last two firefights," said Lance 
Cpl. Chris Hankins, 19, of Kansas City, Mo. "I decided to start my life over 
and make it better."

To give the occasion even greater significance, the Marines chose to have 
Wednesday's baptism in the courtyard of a bullet-riddled school that they 
used in their fight with insurgents. Two Marines died and several were 
injured in the same courtyard when a mortar round landed among their group 
April 12. A small memorial has been erected in the courtyard to the two: 
Lance Cpl. Robert Zurheide, 20, of Tucson and Lance Cpl. Brad Shuder, 21, of 
El Dorado Hills, Calif.  After Monday's battle, a memorial was added in the 
courtyard for the Marine killed in that fight: Lance Cpl. Aaron Cole Austin, 
21, of Amarillo, Texas.

Battlefield baptisms are not unusual among front-line troops, said Navy Lt. 
Scott Radetski, the battalion's Protestant chaplain. So many service 
personnel on deployment request to be baptized that the military even has a 
two-page sheet on how to create a battlefield baptismal font, called the 
Field Immersion Baptismal Liner Instructions.  Radetski said he performed 
one ceremony in Kuwait when Marines were waiting to move into Iraq. Three 
Marines at another encampment in Fallouja also have asked to be baptized.

"When chaos shows its head," Radetski said, "we need an anchor for our 
faith. You need that rock that God promises to be. I consider it an honor to 
fulfill their request."

For Wednesday's ceremony, Radetski had boxes containing MREs, or meals ready 
to eat, arranged to simulate a smallish bathtub. A large piece of plastic 
was placed inside, and water from 14 five-gallon Marine Corps cans was 
poured.

Sgt. Andrew Jones, 25, of Sullivan, Ind., said he had been considering 
getting baptized before he left for Iraq. His combat experiences convinced 
him that the time was right.

"With everything that has happened here, all the good friends I've lost, I 
thought it was a good place to be reborn," Jones said.

The fight Monday, in which insurgents hurled grenades and fired rockets and 
machine guns at the Marines, left many of the young men of Echo Company 
shaken and emotionally drained. Protestant and Roman Catholic services held 
in the Marine encampment hours after the battle drew heavy attendance. On 
Wednesday, little of the initial pain was evident.

Capt. Douglas Zembiec, commander of Echo Company, said he had tried to 
console his Marines while reminding them that they have to continue to do 
their jobs, including launching a possible assault on insurgent strongholds 
in the center of Fallouja.

"There's no room for self-pity out here," he said. "It will get you killed 
faster than the enemy."

The four Marines — Hankins; Jones; Lance Cpl. Kenneth Hayes, 22, of Redding; 
and Lance Cpl. Michael Fuller, 20, of Spring, Texas — stripped to their 
skivvies and removed their combat boots before being dunked individually by 
Radetski. Two dozen Marines stood quietly. Radetski, honoring the four 
Marines' request, said the baptism was also being performed to show respect 
for the fallen and wounded Marines.

The elementary school shows the ravages of three weeks of fighting. Its 
windows are broken, debris is strewn about, furniture is broken and books 
thrown to the dusty floor. Bullet holes cover all surfaces. Windows are 
boarded or sandbagged to hinder snipers. Insurgents are holed up in houses a 
few hundred yards away, their weapons aimed at the school, hoping to kill 
Marines with a well-timed shot.  Still, the four Marines thought that the 
courtyard was the ideal spot to make a public profession of their religious 
belief.

"What better place to do this than here, in the middle of hell," Fuller 
said.

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