No Time to Sleep

I have heard so many stories from so many people who heard a voice or felt a sense of urgency to do something right now that appeared to make no sense. Yet obeying that inner command turned out to be life-saving. This story by A.C. Brackett, Attalla, Alabama, appeared in Guideposts. Click here for another such Guideposts story.

What would ever compel this US Army sergeant to leave his warm bed when he wasn’t needed?

It was August 1969, a hot, humid night in Ban Me Thuot, Vietnam. I was stationed with the US Army as Communications Chief in charge of all radio communications, located inside the Command Post, a four-room reinforced concrete bunker, surrounded by sandbags.

I got undressed and into my bunk, hoping to get a few hours of sleep before I was on duty again. I rolled over and looked at the clock: 11:30 p.m. Seconds later I heard a voice say, “Get up out of bed now and get fully dressed, steel pot, weapon, everything, and go down to the Command Post.” The voice was so insistent that I got up, got dressed and headed out.

On the way to the bunker I passed the supply room, where the supply sergeant and other personnel were talking. “Sergeant Brackett, where in the world are you going this time of night in your combat gear?” the supply sergeant asked.

“To the Command Post,” I said.

“But why?” he asked.

These guys will think I’m nuts, I thought. “A voice told me to get fully dressed and get down there,” I said.

The sergeant gave me a puzzled look.

I hurried on to the bunker. “Hello, Sergeant, what are you doing here this time of night?” the radio operator asked.

“I don’t really know,” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “A voice told me to get down here now.”

Shortly after midnight the quiet night was split by incoming rounds of enemy attack. We were busy receiving and sending radio communications. AK-47s opened up and we were surrounded by mortar rounds and the sound of rockets falling all around us. After several minutes it got quiet again. I stepped outside the bunker entrance. Right then another mortar hit the mess hall and supply room. Shrapnel bounced off the bunker, hitting me on the wrist. I quickly headed back inside. About an hour later the attack was over.

As soon as it was light my men and I headed out to assess the damage. Our operations building had been hit and the radios there had been destroyed. Even my three-quarter-ton truck was hit on the hood, right in the center of the star. Not a building was spared.

Finally I was able to check on my sleeping quarters. That’s when I saw it. A mortar round had exploded the outside corner of my room, spraying the inside with shrapnel. Right where I would have been sleeping had I not heard that mysterious voice.

Click here to view all the Guideposts stories on this blog.

Click here to see all my posts related to the military.


Phil is the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, a comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life. Who will benefit from reading it?

Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to start one
Anyone who loves life, or wants to learn how to
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Phil’s eBook, The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason, is now available for 99 cents on Amazon.

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In this eBook, you’ll find answers to questions like:
• What is the cornerstone of a spiritual life, and why?
• What is the secret to liberating yourself from other people’s judgments and expectations?
• Why is there an exception to “Everything happens for a reason”?

Those who worship logic instead of God are only half right. Not only is it logical to believe in God and to live a faith-based life, the existence of a loving, benevolent God that governs all creation is perhaps the only systematic worldview that explains every aspect of life.

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SiSe_fullcover_final.inddPhil is also the author of Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything, a collection of 45 inspiring, life-changing stories from prominent people he interviewed, including Joan Borysenko, Deepak Chopra, geneticist Dr. Francis Collins, acclaimed sportswriter Frank Deford, Dr. Larry Dossey, Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman, Caroline Myss, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, Dr. Bernie Siegel, James Van Praagh, singer Billy Vera, Doreen Virtue, Neale Donald Walsch, and bassist Victor Wooten.

Here is a three-minute video that introduces you to Phil and his book. Click here to order Sixty Seconds. Click here to ask Phil to add you to his e-mail list for updates on his blog and books.

Reading this book is like spending a few minutes face to face with each of the contributors and listening to their personal stories. Click here to read unsolicited testimonials from readers. Learn more by visiting the official Sixty Seconds website.

Sixty Seconds was one of three finalists in the General Interest/How-To category at the 12th annual Visionary Awards presented by COVR (Coalition of Visionary Resources) in Denver on June 27, 2009.

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