In Part Five of this "epic" testimony, I mentioned that a Marine Colonel talked me into withdrawing my application for conscientious objector. He had convinced me to complete my six year hitch and then go to Bible College if I felt it was the Lord's will. Well, I forgot to tell you why I reenlisted to finish my twenty instead of leaving at the end of my commitment. When the time came to act, I was not certain what the Lord wanted me to do. If I served the last six years, the Navy would provide us with a pension for the rest of our lives, and we would have free medical care for the whole family until our girls were eighteen. Still, I knew from "day one" that I was to go to Bible College and seminary to prepare for the ministry. I always prayed for God's direction, but on this particular decision, I got very specific as to how I wanted God to show me His will. Since the Navy required me to be promoted to E-6 in order to stay for my full twenty, I asked God to show me His will by "giving me the promotion."
You must understand that this was not something as simple as Him working on my supervisors. I was required to take a test in competition with more than one hundred Draftsman Second Class candidates for the one spot open each year. Not only had I never studied for the exam because I had planned to get out, I had not actually worked as a draftsman during my time in the service. Our field was "closed" (there were four of us for each assignment). The Navy assigned me to Naval Intelligence Commands where I did little drafting and a whole lot of secret stuff. So when it came time for taking the test, I didn't really stand a chance of having the top grade and thereby being promoted. On top of those slim odds, I had only one medal to apply to my score. I had received a Navy Unit Commendation for work on the Cuban Missile Crisis early in my career. That medal counted one full point toward my final score on the test. When I got ready to take it, the monitor asked if our records were up to date. I told him mine was missing the N.U.C. and he made a note of it. After the test, which I was sure I blew, he called my office to double check on the omission. Months passed, and I waited to learn if God wanted me to finish my twenty.
When the results came out, the good news was that the Navy was going to promote two in my field! The bad news was that I had come in third! I missed advancement by thirteen one hundredths of a point! A co-worker insisted I go to personnel and check on my earned points. I told him I only had one and that the Chief had taken care of it. He would not quit bugging me until I agreed to let him drive me to check. When they opened my records, believe it or not, the Chief had failed to report the discrepancy! That meant that my score was above the cut-off. I became a First Class Draftsman Illustrator! I had my answer. God made it very clear that I was to stay in. Had I not made it, I would always have wondered if He had chosen not to answer me according to my "fleece." Had I been number one or two, I would have always wondered if I had just been lucky. But this way, I knew. I retired in 1978, and went home to wait for the college semester to begin. But something happened that would delay my Christian education for six more years. Stay tuned.