Miracle in Afghanistan

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Military Prayer, Stories | Comments Off on Miracle in Afghanistan

By Chaplain, Captain, Rod Gilliam, US Army
The Military Chaplain Magazine

ChaplainOn the night of Christmas Eve 2012, we had a near tragedy hit our ranks. Four of our Soldiers were shot by an insurgent who disguised himself as an Afghan Soldier. Three of the Soldiers wounds were superficial. One of them was quite severe. This young Soldier was shot in the carotid artery, his right lung, his stomach and his femoral artery. By all appearances when he was brought to the aid station he would not live past the operating table. I stood in awe of the combat surgeon, (a young female doctor who just completed her resident training). She went into motion helping this Soldier in a way that I have never witnessed before and I doubt I will ever witness again. She instantly removed his clavicle bone and repaired the bleeding artery in his neck; she then bypassed his thoracic nerve and removed his lung that had been shot. She then quickly repaired the damage done to the Soldier’s stomach and finally, as she worked on the Soldier’s femoral artery there was a line of Soldiers outside the aide station that were of this Soldiers blood type – donating blood to keep the Soldier alive on the operating table. By the time this Soldier was airlifted out and sent to a location that he could receive higher care – he had gone through 43 pints of blood. A senior medic told me that “typically if an individual goes through more than 10 pints of blood his chances for survival are greatly diminished.” It was nothing short of a miracle that this Soldier lived.

When it was over the surgeon quietly and deliberately walked over to me and asked if “she could spend some time with me alone at the chapel,” I quickly agreed. As we arrived and the surgeon could see that no one else was watching she broke down and became very emotional. What she told me next shocked me. “Chaplain, as you know, I am a brand new surgeon just out of residency. My experience on the operating table is very limited. I saw all of the Soldiers, many of them his close friends and buddies – anxiously waiting outside to see what the outcome would be for their friend. I wanted to show my staff and all the Soldiers around that everything was under control. But I felt out of control on the inside. I cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, please God, don’t let this young man die on my table! Direct my hands so that he will live!”


“Chaplain,” she said, “what happened next was incredible. I felt this instant surge of peace in my spirit and clarity of thought in my mind. And then it was if God just started guiding my hands through the wounds of that young man’s body. I can’t explain it but I know that it was real.” She was a Christian believer so we both took time out to pray, thank God, and give Him the glory for that young man’s survival. In the weeks to come I learned that several high medical specialists like senior thoracic and lung surgeons who had worked their crafts for 30 plus years had called her in to their medical review boards to see how a young surgeon out of residency could have performed such high level procedures so flawlessly. All of those professionals conceded that if she had not treated with the speed and proficiency that she had had – this young man would be dead today. But they remained puzzled at the level she performed these procedures – it was only a level that a specialist worked who had been in those respective specialties for many years. She has since gone on and written about her procedures in many medical journals.


Gilliam Family Reunited

When I returned home to Fort Carson I was able to meet this young Soldier and his parents who had flown from Walter Reed Medical Center for a special Veterans Day celebration on the post of Fort Carson. I was able to share with this Soldier and his family – the incredible things that happened that night in the combat operating room. None of them were aware of the entire story. I was able to further say to this wounded warrior, “I hope that you realize that God has given you the very precious gift of an extended life. Never squander that gift, but use every day that you are breathing on this earth to give God the glory, to share your life as a gift to share with others. It is now your calling.” The wounded Soldier and his parents were so overcome with emotion that they could barely speak; but they agreed with what I was saying and they were very happy (and grateful) to close our meeting with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of his (their son’s) life.” If every day God sends a least one Soldier or military spouse my way that I can, in His name, make their day a little brighter – then I have had a good day. May God richly bless all who call upon His name In the United States of America.

Share Button