Man Your Post

 

As a new soldier, marine, airman or sailor to the ranks, it’s most likely you’ll have a steady rotation of guard duty. Yes, of course, that is in addition to your normal duties. In fact, there are three general orders (they vary slightly depending on the branch of service) that everyone must obey when pulling guard duty. 

  1. I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
  2. I will obey my special orders and perform all my duties in a military manner.
  3. I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions to the Commander of the Relief.

When a member of the military is called to “man your post” they know, without any doubt, they are to guard, obey, perform and report.  They also know that they never leave their post unless properly relieved by a person of authority. There are absolutely no exceptions. In fact, I learned a lesson concerning guard duty as a young airman. In 1981, our base was under inspection by higher headquarters. We were given the scenario that the base would be attacked (simulated) and we had to continue to launch airplanes regardless.  This meant, for one thing, we had to put out manned perimeter security. I was promptly issued an M-16 automatic rifle, chemical warfare gear, 4 banana clips of ammunition, handcuffs, canteen and a radio. Subsequently, I was dropped off early in the morning along the outer perimeter of the base, on the far side of the flight line, and told “man your post.”

I was so far out on the perimeter that I could see airplanes taking off but nothing else. I had one visit on my post after 1 hour along with a radio check from the security forces desk. After the second hour my radio went dead.  I knew my orders so I just kept walking back and forth on my post.  After a few hours I thought for sure that someone would wonder why I wasn’t responding to radio checks and would come check on me. And then about noon on a hot summer day, as I was running out of water, I thought someone would bring me some food and water. And then I thought someone would relieve me of duty later in the afternoon or at least bring me some food and water. By early evening I hadn’t had any food since about 5 am and I was not only very hungry but thirsty, hot and tired. I was also angry that I was on post for so long without food and water and someone checking on me. 

The day came and went, the sun was going down, and then I heard a vehicle coming in the distance.  To say that I was relieved was an understatement. A seasoned sergeant and a young captain stopped short of my post and came running over to me.  They asked, “how long have you been out here?”  I replied, “about 15 hours or so.”  They were shocked and asked why I didn’t radio in.  I replied, “my radio quit working about 2 hours after manning my post.” They promptly took me back to the armory and offloaded my equipment and debriefed me.  Needless to say a number of people in my chain of command were in a lot of trouble.  But for me, I was praised for obeying my three general orders without any compromise. Some of my contemporaries were amazed that I didn’t walk off my post.

My time in the military was beneficial in many areas to include what it means to “man your post.” At a minimum, I certainly learned to follow orders and respect authority. The respect I learned has impacted my relationship with Christ as well. I figure if I could follow orders in the military and salute a young captain that didn’t look old enough to shave, then Jesus demanded my utmost attention and respect. After all, He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Since Jesus said that the Greatest Commandment is to “love God with all of my heart, all of my soul and all of my mind” (Mt 22:36-40), then I should pursue loving God with all of my being. Since Jesus said in His Great Commission that his disciples should “go and makes disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:18-20), then my life’s mission is to make disciples of all people groups. Since the Holy Spirit gave me at least one spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11-12), I figure I should be devoted to using my gifts to build up the church. Since God called me to pastor in 2004, I’m manning my post according to His orders. With that said, I think it’s high time for everyone to respect the authority of Jesus and “man your post.’

Manning My Post,

Pastor Gene

Gene Stockton