“Call me Barrett, just Barrett,” he said.
A member of Victory Mountain Grace Brethren Chapel in Hyden, Ky. (Sam Baer, pastor), Barrett served seven years in the Marine Corps during some of the most volatile years in recent history. He asked that the names and places of his account not be divulged, but his story is validated by several medals.
Seven years in the Marines will leave anyone with plenty of stories.
“Something like that you can’t hardly forget,” he said of his time in combat. “You wake up in cold sweats. Sometimes you’re in tears.”
One story, though, stands out.
It was October of 2002. “We were in a remote area where they had a big bunch of terrorist training grounds,” he explained.
“It was 11:45 at night. And I was the point man calling the formation with a seven-man team. We were about a half mile from the cave where we were after this man. I don’t have to say his name. All of the sudden I hear a pop. So I look up. I see…a trail of fire coming at us real slow. It was an RPG [Rocket Powered Grenade].
“By the time I tell my men to get down, it [the RPG] lands 3 feet in front of me. All I could do was throw my right hand in front of my face.”
A bright light flashed.
“When the light flashed … it was like a wing that had no blemish — not one feather was bent or crooked or anything. It was the prettiest white that I have ever seen in my life and when it flashed across my face in the 115-degree night…I felt cool, peace, and safety. It was an angel.”
His best friend, who had come to Christ only a few days before, was the first to fall, then the guy behind him.
Barrett was the only member of his seven-man squadron who had not yet committed his life to Jesus. He was also the only one to survive the blast.
“The surgeon who did my surgery…told me that in his 31 years of serving in our U.S. Navy and serving through four major wars, that he had never seen anyone in his whole career take an RPG that close and not lose one limb.
“And if people don’t know that God is real after something like that…tell them to call me.”
Barrett has attended Victory Mountain Grace Brethren Chapel for the past three years, where he helps teach Sunday school classes and junior church.
“My role at this church is to show that God can do anything with anybody because I’m living proof,” he said.
“Some people would call me highly decorated,” he said of his medals of honor, “But the Lord earned them. I’m just a holder of them. I’m just somebody who dwells in the Lord’s mercy. I’m one of the luckiest men in the world.”
This story first appeared in GraceConnect eNews. To subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter that includes news and information from congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, click here.