The Brave Airman

“The Brave Airman,” Ensign, July 2020

Latter-day Saint Voices

The Brave Airman

No one dared answer the drill instructor, but surprisingly, one young man raised his hand.


Illustration by David Malan

Many years ago, I joined the United States Air Force to serve my country. Soon I found myself at boot camp in Texas, USA. The weeks passed slowly as I endured the many things one typically experiences at boot camp.

One day I attended a large meeting of over 200 airmen, all in training just like me. The meeting began with one of our drill instructors—who regularly shouted loud and vulgar things—yelling out, “Does anyone object to the way I’m running things around here?”

Of course, no one dared answer, but surprisingly, one young man raised his hand.

“Airman, stand up!” the instructor shouted. “What do you object to?”

We all listened intently as the young man loudly declared, “I object to you taking my Savior’s name in vain. It hurts my soul. I would ask that you stop.”

The room fell completely silent. The instructor stared at him and then asked him what religion he belonged to. The brave airman proudly said, “I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!”

The instructor thanked the airman for his courage to speak out, and the meeting continued. This act had a tremendous effect on me. I often thought that I would like to have the kind of courage that airman had.

After boot camp and medical training, I was assigned to an air force base in Colorado, USA. One day, I received a letter from my oldest brother stationed in the Philippines. He had joined the air force about a year before I did. He told me that he had become a member of the Church, and he wanted me to meet with the missionaries. I immediately recalled the experience in boot camp with the brave airman. My wife and I met with the missionaries, and we were soon baptized.

A few months later, I had the missionaries visit my younger brother. He and his wife were also baptized. My brothers and I now have large families with grandchildren. We all love the Lord and His Church.

I don’t know the brave airman’s name. I never saw him again, but I will be eternally grateful for his courage to stand up for what he believed.