Left for dead

On May 17, 1951 following a brief fire-fight with a small enemy patrol the night before, Marvin Schmidt’s company received word that unfriendly forces were advancing.

In danger of being surrounded they were told to get out. Walking down a ridge-line they stopped to decide their next move. That’s when a single shot found Schmidt’s leg, just above the ankle, dropping him to the ground.

“My brave comrades took one look at me and with horrified faces took off without me.” For seven long, perilous days Schmidt languished in the northern region of South Korea.

“What am I going to do? How am I going to get out of here?” he asked himself.

Several enemy patrols passed by stopping only to strip him of his possessions. But one enemy soldier — a medic, by the symbol on his helmet — and his helper stopped to help. They moved him to a nearby path before leaving him a poncho, a canteen and some food. Wrapped in the poncho Schmidt drifted off to sleep.

When he awoke the next morning, he was 10-feet off the path and paralyzed. An artillery shell had landed close enough to blow him from the walkway, and a piece of shrapnel had imbedded itself into his neck lodging against his jaw. Unable to feel his legs or look around he passed out.

Waking up the next day, he had regained movement but found himself at the mercy of another enemy patrol. They took everything he had left – leaving him with just two grenades and a Bible.

Gripped by hopelessness and despair Schmidt recalls, “I did pick up one of the grenades and I tried to pull the pin, but I couldn’t. Then I picked up the Bible. A lot of GI’s carried them, but very few read them. I found the 23rd Psalm. I kept trying to… memorize it, but I couldn’t. But when I read it, it was a great comfort. I couldn’t get out… but the psalm was a tremendous strength.”

On day seven, just before sundown, Schmidt was found by an American patrol. He was moved by stretcher and helicopter to a MASH unit before spending the next two years under medical care in Army hospitals.

“I believe very strongly the Lord God was there with me. I am sure that it was because of Him and his angels that I was able to survive. I have tried to count up the number of ways that my life could have ended during that week. Every time they searched me, I could have been shot. I could have bled to death when I was first shot. There were so many different ways; I just have never been able to count them all.”

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my Shepherd…” – kept Marvin Schmidt going in his darkest hours!


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Filed under Encouragement, Hope, Inspiration, Scripture

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