Special Forces Association
Chapter XXIII - 23
Light to Fight

If there has been anything that has really stood out in my mind about the war in Afghanistan it’s the sight of Special Forces or Marines or the troops of the 101st. or 10th. Mountain Division caught in a firefight or moving across open terrain loaded down with rucksacks and assorted gear that even the most cooperative donkey would balk at carrying. Yet they’re fighting an enemy seen moving about with just his AK-47 or RPG and probably a few slabs of Afghani bread stuffed in the folds of his ballooning pants.

One can only wonder what the kazellions of dollars we’ve spent on defense over the last 50 yrs. have done to improve the lot of the foot soldier other than weigh him down with more and more light weight gear rather than finding a creative solution that would make it possible for him to really be “light to fight without freezing at night” in the harsh winter of the Afghan Mountains or in ferreting out the enemy in the hot and humid jungles of the Philippines, or the maze of streets in another Mogadishu or Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

So what’s the solution? How do we lighten the load? When I was a young trooper in the 508th. ABN:RCT our Battalion Commander (who later redesigned the army’s divisions) had four of us bring out everything we were issued, lay it out, then have the group of combat vets throw out everything they got rid of in combat. The result was truly a “light fighter.”

We too are in combat in our daily lives - it’s a war for our bodies and souls. To win we need to lighten our loads – to get rid of those “nice to haves” but not necessarily the “must haves” to carry the fight to the enemy with the expectation of victory.

What a vivid picture all this is of so many of our own lives. We are loaded down with so many of the cares of the world that we cease to be effective fighting machines. We worry about our health, or our 401K, or our varied investments, or whether or not our job will be eliminated in a downsizing or a hostile take over, or how our kids or grandkids will turn out – and the list goes on and on.

The PROBLEM is that we try to carry the load ourselves, in our own finicky strength – strength that too often fails us especially as the vigor of youth fads with age. The solution lies in trusting in and joining forces (teaming up) with Jesus Christ – letting Him help us shoulder the loads of life we stuff into our rucksacks. He wants us to truly be “light to fight” – to fight against godlessness, and the evils and the injustices of our world. We may not be able to be the world’s policemen but as soldiers of Jesus Christ we can be the world’s physicians or healers.

Jesus said, (Mt. 11:28-30) “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, (i.e., let’s pull together or carry the load together, not alone but by combining my inexhaustible Godly strength with your human strength) for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Again he said, “Cast all your cares on me” – let me handle them for you. Empty your rucksack of all but the bare necessities and lean on the strength of Jesus Christ and you will truly be – LIGHT TO FIGHT - and ultimate victory will be assured.

Chaplain Col. Vahan Sipantzi
26972 Lower Pleasant Ridge Rd.
Wilder, ID  83676
(208) 482-7495