Ministering to Wounded Soldiers
by David T Myers
It is a joy to this author to be able to post an article in This Day in Presbyterian History to his father, the Rev. Dr. David K. Myers. Dr. Myers was a Princeton Seminary graduate in 1929, studying there just before the liberals took control of that historic theological seminary. He went on to minister in the PCUSA churches in the Far West, eventually planting a Bible Presbyterian church in Lemmon. South Dakota, where I was born in 1940. It today continues to minister as a PCA congregation.
Of his many and varied ministries in South Dakota, he also served his country as an Army chaplain in World War Two through the Korean War Conflict. The following is taken from his autobiography “Preaching on the Plains” and tells of his ministry to wounded soldiers at the 156th Army General Hospital in England in 1944 – 1945.
“When I was a lad in Austin High School in Chicago in the waning days of and after WWI, I had been a High School R.O.T.C. Cadet for three years, a Cadet Lieutenant, my last year. When a student at the outset of my Army training at Harvard Army Chaplain’s School, things were not exactly strange.
“Then I was assigned to an Army hospital unit training school . On June 10, 1944, my birthday, our unit left Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and sailed with the 156th General Hospital Unit to England. We were situated near another General Hospital south of Hereford on a manorial estate in southwest England, not far from the Welsh Border.
“Soon we began taking the wounded in increasing numbers from the fighting in France just after the landings in Normandy. I found myself visiting wounded soldiers morning, noon, and night. Many were there. It was hard to get from one end of the 1500 bed hospital to the other, because some of the less seriously wounded would be discharged and on their way either to America, or back to the front line. During the Battle of the Bulge, we were crowded to capacity.
“I felt a great opportunity for bedside visitation. There they would be, an entire ward, and ward after ward. They would all be lying (waiting for) a visiting chaplain, and my endeavor was to visit them all personally. I cannot remember a one who refused my visit.
“Unsaved were given a challenge to receive Christ. An unusual number indicated their conviction that conversion to Christ came to them when they were at the front lines. I sought to conserve this by pointing out their duty to become true witnesses, and to be related to their home church, if it was a Bible-believing one. I also sought to point out the difference between those (churches) which were Bible-believing and those which were not.
“Our nightly prayer meetings were fruitful. Walking wounded would come, and men of the hospital medical service.”
Rev. Myers came home after WW2, served briefly in his civilian church in South Dakota, then re-entered the Army chaplaincy where he was to serve his Lord and Savior through the Korean War as a chaplain. Two of his sons became ministers of the gospel, eventually serving congregations of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Words to Live By:
My father is now in heaven, but his spirit lives on through the faithful military chaplains seeking the spiritually lost in our nation’s military. Pray for chaplains today ministering the Word of God faithfully. Their calling is getting harder and harder to fulfill biblically. And if your congregation has not “adopted” a military chaplain, contact the Presbyterian and Reformed Chaplain’s Ministry in Atlanta Georgia, to support such a one in prayer and encouragement. They will appreciate it. And you as an individual and congregation will be ministering through them to our men and women in the Armed Services of our nation.