… another unlikely conversion
In the middle of the Vietnam War,
a certain ‘hot shot’ pilot, had recently graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and he got his jet pilot wings and a top assignment as an F4 Phantom fighter pilot on his way to the war. Though married to a very beautiful girl, he started spending evenings at the Officer’s Club drinking with the combat veteran Instructors and the other students. It was exciting for a young pilot fitting into such a crowd. One particular night after an exciting fighter training mission, and while at the Officer’s Club, the pilot saw a Marine pilot that he knew from the Air Force Academy who was on his way back to the war. After many drinks – too many, the young student fighter pilot couldn’t even drive home, and he walked (or stumbled) home to the apartment. The next morning, and over the next few weeks he started to examine his life, and his own upbringing. That very Sunday he took his bride to the Base Chapel and they met a recently retired AF couple named Dave & Eunice Crompton.
Of course that pilot was me, and I still tell the story that Eunice told me later about answered prayer. Dave & Eunice had just retired to Tampa and they started a Christian Serviceman’s Center in a newly purchased house near MacDill AFB to minister to Air Force people. One day they were working on the roof and the outside of their house that was right under the flight path of the landing jets. Instead of complaining, Eunice suggested to Dave that since those F4’s were so loud and they couldn’t talk that they would
“Pray For The Pilots”!!!
Well, the Holy Spirit started working in my life, and pretty soon Sandy & I connected with them on a Sunday at the Base Chapel – and we started coming to the Center. Their love of the Lord, and their sound teaching about Jesus (such as that famous WWII Japanese fighter pilot Mitsuo Fuchida heard), set us on solid ground and first Ike then Sandy trusted the Savior for the forgiveness of their sins. They began discipling us in the Word of God as Jesus commanded. Many other Christians “watered” through the years, and we’ve never wavered despite the many trials in our Christian walk that all Christians experience. I completed an exciting fighter pilot career including two wars, and Sandy & I thank the Lord for Christian Serviceman’s Centers, and especially for David Crompton & Eunice Crompton,
“the prayers of the saints”!
Ike Sweesy & Sandy Sweesy
US Air Force, Retired