Special Forces Association
Chapter XXIII - 23
Oldies But Goodies


A recent TV ad portrays an older gentleman saying, “DOC, I’m on a MISSION.” He has cancer and wants to share something special with his grandson.

Many of us have been on a MISSION or a JOURNEY together for many years. HUMPIN’ RUCKS – JUMPING out of perfectly good aircraft while in FRIGHT, BLOWING UP dead OAK trees> and other interesting stuff, And SNEAKING around the WOODS learning to be the best soldier we could be.

BUT – time has gone by. Each passing year has been followed by another and another.

For us as SOLDIERS – 9/11 was a wake up call to the passing of those years.

How many of you were CALLED BACK TO ACTIVE DUTY SF after 9/11?

S.F. is so strapped for personnel that they’ve instituted STOP – LOSS and are Recruiting guys right off the street.

YET – in spite of the fact that thousands VOLUTEERED after 9/11 the WORD put out by the PENTAGON was: “If you’re 35 years old or older don’t bother us.”

In spite of YOUR EXPERIENCE, TRAINING, EXPERTIZE, ETC. – WE DON’T WANT YOU! We want the YOUNG – the REAL YOUNG. We can’t or We won’t use you. YOU’RE TOO OLD! We want WHAT YOU WERE - NOT WHAT YOU ARE.

LOOK AT US!
Can you see yourself humpin A MONSTER RUCK weighing 120 + lbs. up an Afghan mountain at 9 or 10,000 foot elevation hunting a guy wisely carrying only an AK – 47 or RG and a loaf of Afghani bread stuffed into his BALLOONING PANTS or trudging through the HEAT & HUMIDITY of the PHILIPPINE jungle looking more like a PACKHORSE than a soldier? Any DONKEY with HALF A BRAIN would BALK at the loads of young Special Ops people are carrying today. Obviously someone needs to REINVENT the “TRAVEL LIGHT – FREEZE AT NIGHT” concept or a better system of RESUPPLY or the troops we’re seeing on TV and in the press will be old or dead before their time.

Even MORE OBVIOUS is the fact that they are WHAT WE USED TO BE YEARS and that WE’RE GETTING OLDER and lacking the STRENGTH and STAMINA – though NOT the WISDOM we once possessed.

Every issue of the DROP seems to devote more and more space to the OBITUARY COLUMN. Guys I served with in SF from 1952-54 are dropping like flies. I can’t help but wonder if their LAST PCS is HEAVEN OR HELL.

Have you ever thought about the fact that ehn someone says to you, “HAPPY NEW YEAR” that the HIDDEN MESSAGE is in reality, “CELEBRATE the fact that you’ve AGED another year and are ONE YEAR CLOSER to having your WORTHLESS CARCASS stuffed into an expensive WOOD or metal box and COVERED with 6’ of DIRT.”

Now that’s not a HAPPY THOUGHT – even though it’s true. We are all GETTING OLDER and no amount of WORKOUTS or DIET or PLASTIC SURGERY or BOTOX INJECTIONS can change that. We can only DELAY the AGING or SLOW IT DOWN or IMPROVE the QUALITY OF OUR LIVES.

So, how do we look at GROWING OLDER today? “OLD” to a large extent, is a MATTER OF THE MIND even with the recognition that the BODY is Aging. The SONG ‘The old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be” probably describes aging pretty well, WE AIN’T WHAT WE USED TO BE.

I recently spoke at an “OVER 80’s” banquet celebrating folks between 80 & 95 and shared with them HOW THE WORLD LOOKS AT THOSE OF US who see ourselves as MATURE, WISE or EXPERIENCE and HOW GOD SEES US – TWO very contrasting views.

When the WORLD looks at our SMALL AGING PLANET today they see Through NEGATIVE EYES

  1. A POPULATION EXPLOSION with CHINA & INDIA topping a BILLION SOULS each.
  2. They see the resulting DEVASTATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT As we try to FEED the GROWING # OF HUNGARY MOUTHS. (Naturally only those with FULL BELLIES and DIET PLANS worry about this).
  3. They see people LIVING LONGER with all that that implies-
    1. the NEED FOR MORE FOOD
    2. MORE LOGS TO BUILD HOMES
    3. MORE FUEL TO drive people to their HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS, etc.

The ONLY CONCLUSION that one can draw from all of this is that WE NEED TO GET RID OF ALL YOU OLD PEOPLE! We need a MANDATORY LIFE SPAN – like the movie “SOLVENT GREEN” Portrayed. Old folks were ground up and used for FOOD and FERTILIZER.

  1. The WORLD says that the old are BANKRUPTING SOCIAL SECURITY by LIVING SO MUCH LONGER
  2. They’re BLOATING MEDICARE payments and TRI-CARE FOR LIFE Because their OLD BODIES are breaking down with the resultant SKYROCKETING MEDICAL BILLS
  3. They’re DRIVING UP AUTO INSURANCE RATES because of increased Accidents due to diminished vision, hearing and reaction time.
  4. WORST OF ALL, they’re SPENDING THEIR CHILDREN’S INHERITANCE by taking frivolous trips to Arizona each winter in their LUXURIOUS MOTOR HOMES or 5th. WHEELERS or taking crusies to The CARIBBEAN. (HOW DARE THEY SPEND THE MONEY THEY WORKED SO HARD FOR (ON THEMSELVES!)

HOLLAND & OREGON have provided 1 solution to old age – EUTHANASIA! It’s called “MERCY KILLING” (get to sick and you get a ride to the cemetery) – so you might want to warn your travel agent not to route any of your vacation trips thru either place – ESPECAILLY IF YOU’RE feeling a little under the weather.

NOT A VERY BRIGHT PICTURE IS IT? Well folks, it presents a vivid picture painted by much of the world regarding those of us moving up in years.

Fortunately – FORTUNATELY for all of us GOD, GOD our CREATOR AND REDEEMER looks at AGING differently than many of us do.

So – let’s look at what God does with old folks. LET’S LOOK AT HOW GOD LIKES AND USES old folks the WORLD DISMISSES as of no further value or USE.

ADAM, THE FATHER OF MANKIND, lived 930 years – God enjoyed His daily walks with him so he kept him around a long time.

METHUSALEH (Gen. 5:27) lived for 987 years. Can you imagine what guys like Him would do to the Social Security or military retirement systems – retire at 60 or 65 and draw benefits till you’re 987!

ENOCH (Gen.5:23) walked with God for 365 years. God evidently didn’t want to end their conversations so he took Enoch home to live with Him rather than let him die and be buried.

JOSEPH (Gen50:22) The POLITICIAN lived 110 yrs. – serving in political office even longer than our beloved Sen. Strom Thurman.

ELI the Priest (I Sam. 4:15-18) Eli was 98 yrs. old - an old man and heavy – having judged Israel for 40 yrs. when he DIED on the job.

THE APOSTLE JOHN was at least in his 90’s when he wrote the BOOK OF REVELATIONS

JOSHUA, Moses’ aide-de-camp, spy, professional soldier had to have been between 70 & 90 when he stepped into Moses’ shoes to lead Israel into it’s Military campaign against the inhabitants of the land promised to them by God and he stayed on the job until he was 110. There was NO EARLY RETIREMENT.

CALEB, Joshua’s fellow spy, was 95 when he led his clan in driving out the occupants of the land he was given in Israel. And MOSES made a CAREER CHANGE at 80 and didn’t throw in the towel till he was 120.

SO….The picture we see in the Bible is that though the world may write off old folks in favor of the young – God sees their potential and keeps them under contract with full benefits until the day they meet Him face to face.

The Bible talks about the ELDERS AT THE GATE dispensing wisdom and settling disputes. I’ve never heard of going to the YOUNG AT THE GATE for wisdom. When Solomon’s son decided to ignore the wisdom of the elders, for the advice of his young peers it cost him his kingdom.

We speak today of “Elder Statesman’s” – men like CHURCHILL, MAO, RONALD REGAN, OR Billy Graham. I’ve never heard the term “YOUTHFUL STATESMAN”.

While the world today is looking for YOUTH, as we see in the media daily. Whether it’s in our CLOTHES, SHAPE, SKIN w/o wrinkles, HAIR COLOR – no gray - or just having hair – GOD is looking for OBEDIENCE, LOVE OF OTHERS, SERVICE, and COMMITMENT.

THERE IS NO SPIRITUAL RETIREMENT PLAN!

DON’T GIVE UP ON YOURSELF – GOD HASN’T! GOD LOVES YOU and has prepared a job for you HERE and a PLACE for you in the future – and the TICKET FOR ADMISSION IS SIMPLY “TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.”

JOSHUA, as he neared the end of his life and his role as leader of the Israelites campaign to claim the “Promised Land” as their own assembled the people together. Then in a McArthur-like end of career address to Congress, challenged the people with these words: “Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the (false) gods your gathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the (people) in whose land you dwell: BUT – AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD”.

WHO WILL YOU SERVE?

When you look back at your life what will you have accomplished of lasting value? For whom?

The RANK or BADGES you’ve earned – what will they mean as you stand before your MAKER?

Has your life been focused on yourself or, like Jesus Christ, have you been a servant of others?

Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but God himself, our Savior, BUT, the MODEL FOR LIFE – and He said, “I CAME TO SERVE”.

When your final OER or EER is written and you stand before God, will he say to You – “WELL DONE THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT (or SOLDIER)” or will God sadly say, “I NEVER KNEW YOU”?

The choice is yours and the time is NOW! You’re not getting any younger – just OLDER AND BETTER.


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