Sam Rudd Story

July, 1944 our outfit waded ashore on Omaha Beach, France. We could hear the big guns roaring, and learned that our forces had pushed only fifteen to eighteen miles inland.

Although we had spent many months under exceptionally strenuous training in the States with the 89th Infantry Division, maneuvered with armored divisions in Louisiana and California, marched twenty to thirty miles a day, rehearsed in simulated combat. This was different. This was for real! The old 89th had been broken up and the combat-ready soldiers sent to various sections of the country for immediate transfer overseas. Ours was a light infantry experimental division, and we had felt so proud to have been declared combat ready.

All of a sudden we realized we had yet to meet the greatest test of all¬ face to face with the enemy. This was no simulated warfare. The boom of the big guns very effectively conveyed to us the fact that death waited just over the next ridge.

I didn't want to die. I wanted very much to be a good soldier and fight for all the things my heart held dear; but I knew immediately that unless God undertook in my behalf, in all probability my future life would be very short- perhaps not long enough to actually reach the front.

When about thirteen years of age, I had found Christ as my personal Savior. For approximately three years I enjoyed a wonderfully close walk with Him.  It was during that joyous period the Lord had visited me three times in visions. How I could ever have forgotten  those  blessed  years, I do not know. When I was seventeen I began to keep the wrong company, and gradually my Christian experience faded.  Now I realized God was my only source of help.  I knew  my  mother back  home was  praying for  me, but also  realized  that  I personally  must approach the Throne of Grace for salvation,  and  rededicate  my  heart  and life.

By late evening we had marched within hearing distance of the rattle of machine guns as they flung swift death at the enemy. My platoon was ordered to dig in along the top of a 15 foot embankment through which a road had been cut. Settling down into my foxhole that night, I wondered if God would remember me and give me another chance.

The military road lay just below us. We heard an army jeep approaching. Suddenly there was a tremendous explosion as a  land  mine blew the jeep upside  down  and thrust the  two  soldiers  in  it  out  into  eternity.  One of them landed next to my foxhole.

Needless to say, I was scared. Apparently death was nearer even than I had thought. As I looked at that soldier's lifeless body, tears stung my eyelids. He would never see home again on this earth. For him, it was over. He was young. His life had been snatched from him so quickly.  Was he ready to meet his God?

A thousand questions raced through my mind as I fought back the tears. Would I ever see home again? If I did, would it be with a whole body, or would part of it be left on the battlefield?

Huddled  there   in   my  foxhole   I buried  my  head  in  my  arms  and prayed: "O God, in Jesus' name, please help me! Have mercy upon my soul and save it. I do love you, Jesus, and I come to you as my only source of help." As I continued to pour out my heart to God, a great peace and serenity, unknown to me since I had departed a daily walk with Him, came again to my heart. Though the night was full of the sounds of battle, I knew within my heart the peace that passes understanding. In His tender mercy God had reclaimed this backslider ; and  I had found that  He will keep our hearts in perfect peace even in  the  midst  of  war.

Early the next morning a one and a half ton army truck came up the same road that passed below us. It, too, struck a mine. Terribly shattered bodies were thrown about like matchsticks.

We were ordered forward and in a matter of hours we were relieving what was left of the 29th Infantry Division. Some of the dead still lay out there because our men were so pinned down by enemy fire it was impossible as yet to reach them. The sight didn't add to our morale.  Life seemed too cheap, too fleeting. There was no shelter– no "city of refuge" away out here where the shrapnel whined and the heavy guns belched death. Jesus was my only refuge at that moment. No need to leave my post to find His everlasting arms. They were invisibly surrounding me.

For ten days the holocaust continued, almost without surcease. Thinking of it now, I wonder how the human body  could  withstand  the  force  of  a million bursting shells– how the eardrums  could  endure  it– how  the brain  could  continue to  function  and not blank out under the ceaseless, pitiless beating. It was ten days of hell on earth, but somehow God sustained me.  At last St. Lo fell to the allies; but by then the enemy was well dug in on the other side.  Both sides lived in constant fear of the other attacking. The  situation  was  so  tense  and dangerous  we  dared  not  move  from our foxholes, even to bury our  dead.

Finally we were given orders to attack. "God, go with me!" I whispered as we all obeyed the command to move out. After several days of hard fighting and tremendous air support, we finally captured St. Lo, and I thanked God for having brought me thus far by faith.

My battalion was immediately assigned to General Patton's famous 4th Armored Division. Our job was to ride the tanks into battle, jump off and wipe out the opposition. This was Patton's way of keeping the enemy on the run. It was very effective, but we were also "sitting ducks" for German machine guns. During the next four months much of my company was replaced several times.

There were many days when our personnel were down to 60 or 70 remaining out of 210.  Replacements poured into our group. One day that I recall vividly there were only 27 of us left by evening.  All the time we were going about the grim business of war, my heart was crying out to the Lord to cover me with the precious blood and shield me with His protecting power.

God was so precious during those days, when life hung by a thread.  I gained much help and strength from reading the Psalms whenever time permitted. God dealt with my heart. His angels walked with me and protected me. He shielded me with His power. On four specific occasions He spoke to me in a voice that was audible to my heart, which when I obeyed instantly, my life was spared. Once the lives of ten of my men were spared because they moved quickly with me when I heard the voice of God and obeyed. Our Lord does protect and guide His children!

Make no mistake; we were in the thick of the battle! I was awarded five battle stars and the Purple Heart for the combat action in which I took part. Practically all of my original buddies lie buried beneath the soil of France. To God be all the glory for sparing my life.

Today I am in business in Denver, Colorado. By His grace I am here to give this testimony today serving Him and encouraging others to put Him first in their lives. Perhaps God looked down through the years ahead and knew that my life was irrevocably dedicated to Him and to His service and to His work on this earth.

Neighbor, wherever you are and whoever you are– listen to me quickly!

Jesus Christ is your total answer. Ask Him to forgive you your sins, to save your soul right now. Put Him first in your life from this moment onward.
Right now in Christ's name, will you pray with me the prayer that changed my life, years ago: "O God, in Jesus' name, please help me? I realize I am a lost sinner in need of a Savior. Have mercy upon my soul and save it. I do need you, Jesus, and I come to you as my only source of help. Amen. "

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