Soldier's Story" Page
I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that
faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."
Note From Annie:
This email and testimony was
such a blessing to me that I thought I should share it
with you. Hope it blesses and encourages you as much as
it did me! God is so good and faithful and His timing is
perfect! He cares about ever detail of our lives even if
we don't understand why things happen the way that they
do at the time.
My name is Specialist Charles Seelaus and My Army Reserve
unit, the 2/228th Aviation Regiment is currently in Iraq.
This was made possible when the 3rd Infantry Division,
using lighting speed, overran the airfield located here
in Central Iraq. As a direct result of their brave
actions, my unit was now able to operate deep out of
Iraqi Territory. As we set up our operations in the
months of June and July, I began to realize that some of
the finest and bravest men and women America had to offer
were serving right beside me.
These months, June, July, August, seemed surreal because
like a lot of us here, we are not just soldiers, rather,
we are Citizen/Soldiers. One weekend a month we would
drill. We have a completely different life apart from
Drilling. Just a few short months earlier, I was in my
classroom, teaching 31 second grade students at Gideon
Elementary School or Chatting with the Principle or
fellow teachers. Having supper with my family, grading
homework, having tea with my beautiful wife and snuggling
our 4 children into their beds for a bedtime story and
bedtime prayers was our life. We were raising our family
with all the challenges and Joys that brings.
Then The War Began. Our Unit was Mobilized for war.
Why was I leaving all this behind? I though about this
and was reminded of my son who had just earned his
Tenderfoot in Boy Scouts. He has a dream of being an
Eagle Scout someday. Something his father is. He and I
both know the Ten Commandments by heart but we also know
the Boy Scout Oath. The Oath begins with, "On my
Honor, I will do my Best, to do my Duty to God and my
Country." To God and My Country. Was I here for me,
was it for my Family, was it my duty to God and Country?
Our Advance team arrived in June, the rest were here in
Iraq shortly after. The first night I arrived I was
greeted by a brilliant beautiful sunset. The sky was
dancing with colors. The night gave me the most beautiful
array of stars I have seen in such a long time. That same
night our Camp was attacked by mortar fire and soldiers
were injured. One of countless mortar attacks to follow.
I realized the war was not over. We had much work ahead
of us. As this small band of men and women in my unit
began to build up our camp, so too was the building of
relationships among each other, trusting others, a new
family began to form. While we built up fortifications
around our camp, One of the very first jobs our Chaplain
(Major John Hunter) did was get a Chapel Tent
established. Once completed, we would have our Bible
studies and services there. These Bible studies were
lively in their discussions and I marveled that we were
actually in God's Holy lands. The lands spoken of in the
bible. I never dreamed I would ever be in Iraq, Homeland
of Abraham. Abraham and his
descendants traveled all through this area. Here is where
the Biblical Garden of Eden was. The city of Ur was not far off.
The Ancient city of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar. Tower of Babel. The Old Testament
was everywhere I turned. It is one thing to be reading
about it, Another to see, feel and touch history. Despite
being in a war, God was blessing me every day. I could
feel those at home who keep me lifted on High with their
prayers, and I told them so. Something I stay humbly
Prayers took on a whole new meaning in War. My commander
told me that no one prays more than the soldier who is
targeted for death. They are thrust into a situation
where their lives may at any moment be extinguished. And
he was correct. We do say a lot of prayers. Something
happens on the inside when soldiers see and hear of their
comrades being sent home in body bags. Life is so
precious and so fragile.
But I soon realized that there was more to prayer then
just me praying. I knew at times when My mind was racing,
thinking of what I must do at a critical moment, It was
often, the prayers of loved ones and my brothers and
sisters of Calvary at home that were lifting me up with
Our Camp continued to developed. We would not see those
attacking us each day and night but we were reminded by
the explosions all around us.
About a mile from our camp was the mighty Tigris river. So named because
that is what she would become once the rains fell, a
ferocious tiger. Her banks would over flow and flood the
lands around us. Our camp was rich in the silt and mud
carried by these floods. This was a very fertile land.
The Tigris was also one of the two rivers that flowed
through the biblical Garden of Eden. Her sister was many
miles away. She was the Euphrates.
As our camp began to take form, so did my heart. As we
continued to work hard, I began to pray hard. I thought
about everything that I took for granted and I could
still hear my wife saying to me, "War changes
people". She was correct, but more importantly, Our
God is behind change. As the days and nights ran into
each other, I longed for my family, For the Land I Love,
For Home. Then one evening as the beautiful sun was
setting, I thought about being Baptized here. We were in
Holy lands. This was a place I will probably not get a
chance to see again. Was It possible? For me it was
questionable, for God there was nothing that was not
possible. I prayed asking for this blessing but my mind
thought How? Inside and Outside our fences soldiers were
dying. Outside our fences the enemy was Firing mortars,
hiding improvised explosive devices and firing rocket
propelled grenades and weapons at us. By day our soldiers
would rebuild schools, but by night the explosions could
The Tigris was less than a mile away, the river was so
close yet so far. While I held these fears I could do
very little. But I cast them away. I could never possibly
over come them but I could freely give them away. I could
gave them to Him. And so I did. As the days continued, it
was to Him I would humbly lay my fears. I never prayed
more than at a time like this. Then I remembered what I
had heard at Calvary. God's children get two answers when
we humble ask him!!! YES or Better. My heart was glad at
this truth. And again I prayed to be baptized in the
Birthplace of Abraham. To be Baptized in the Tigris.
Then one night, while in Bible study and between some
mortar explosions, the Chaplain said he needed some one
to drive him to the helicopter pad on Saturday. He was
taking a trip to Babylon. My Hand could not have reached
any higher. I know God was talking. I'd better listen.
After the Bible study, I spoke with the chaplain about
joining him. I revealed to him what I had secretly been
praying for the past few months. He said if there was
room on the flight I was more than welcomed and then I
asked if I could be Baptized. That stayed in question and
would until I arrived, if I arrived.
I was so excited that night that I raced back to my tent
where my heart was flying. I opened my locker and there
saw my military uniforms hanging. They hung, one after
another, 4 sets of desert camouflaged uniforms. I looked
at all the uniforms and saw the one I held way in the
back. It was brand new, never used, and covered in
plastic to protect it from the dust. Should I use this
for my Baptism in Babylon. This Baptism, should it
happen, was a chance in a life time. It certainly
warranted a new uniform. Not many folks get the
opportunity to be Baptized in Babylon.
No I could not use that uniform. That was out of the
question. I set this uniform aside when I arrived. I was
prepared to use this brand new set for two very special
occasions. I would wear it when I came home to greet my
beautiful wife and our four beautiful children or if that
was not meant to be, I was saving it for the time I would
be called to Heaven.
I would not wear that uniform yet. That story was still
waiting for an ending.
As the Saturday Morning arrived I awoke early. I had very
few details about the trip but I was ready. Dressed in
Full Battle Rattle I greeted my Chaplain. We drove to the
helicopters in silence. We arrived at the Black-Hawk unit
and I dropped him off. He said "Wait here Seelaus
and I will check to see if there is room on this flight
for you." I prayed. He returned a few minutes later
and the answer was yes, there was room. We would be
flying to Babylon and flying with many of the base
chaplains. This was a tour of the ancient city of Babylon
and King Nebuchadnezzar's palace.
While we waited to board the helicopters that morning, I
met our Brigade Commander For the first Time. He would be
flying us to Babylon. The Colonel had such a air of
confidence about him that I instinctively felt safe with
him. It's the quality every great leader has. Instilling
As we prepared to lift off, I had many questions on my
mind. What was it like to fly in a Black-Hawk? How soon
would we arrive? What were we going to see? Would I be
Soon we were in the air and flying at a low altitude! We
were flying to the ancient city of Babylon. I was seeing
Iraq now from A view that made it beautiful. Homes and
villages were in clear sight. Irrigation canals and crops
were everywhere. As we flew over head we would startle
the herds of cattle and sheep and goats that roamed the
country side. I would watch as great flocks of white
birds would take to flight. I took as many pictures as I
dared knowing that I must save some for Babylon and
possibly my Baptism.
Time did fly so quickly and the City of Babylon appeared
to us. To one side I saw a mound of earth and bricks. Was
that the tower of Babel. Then the Palaces of Babylon
appeared. It was breath taking. There before me where two
palaces, one old and ancient another new and modern. We
had arrived in Babylon. Ancient city of the Bible. Before
us were King Nebuchadnezzar's palace and
Sadaam Hussien's former Palace which was overlooking the
All our helicopters came in for a safe landing. We safely
touched ground and the pilots began their power down.
While we waited I saw smoke coming from our helicopter. I
looked at the faces of the crews in the other helicopters
as they watched us and I again watched the smoke. I
wondered. Smoke and aircraft are usually not a good mix.
I stayed hopeful. Soon though the smoke stopped and we
As we unloaded, we all gathered for a quick brief on what
we would be doing. As that was happening there was a
little commotion coming from the front of our helicopter.
I soon discovered that our Helicopter was hit. The
Helicopter pilot had blood splattered all over him but he
was not hurt. Thank God no one was hurt. In
flight we had been hit by a bird. As the briefing
continued, I learned that Chaplain Robert A. Miller was
speaking and that he had made this trip before. While I
listened closely, my unit chaplain whispered in my ear.
"Captain Miller was Baptizing another soldier and we
could ask him to include me." I was thrilled. My
heart was filled with Joy. As we walked to the entrance
of King Nebuchadnezzar's palace, I
watched the man that soon would be Baptizing me. Robert
A. Miller. Miller, a common name. But this was no common
man. He would be granting me one of the greatest blessing
I could think of. This man would be Baptizing me in
Babylon, in the Holy Euphrates river, as it would turned
out to be. He would hand me over to God in the sacred
rite of Baptism. A few months earlier I did not think
this was possible.
As the tour guide began to take us around the walls of
Babylon. The chaplain and I approached Him.
"Chaplain Miller" I asked, "Will you
please include me in your Baptism today?" It seemed
my life was hanging on what he would say. But for a
moment he did not speak a word. His eyes and smile told
me what no words could ever say, It felt as if God was
saying, welcome home my lost son. Then his words
came" Of course!" "Of course!", I
repeated. "Of course!"
I was baptized in Babylon. In the waters of the Holy
Euphrates River. The date was August 23, 2003.
A trip, or time or event is so much better when your
heart is filled with Joy and happiness. Here I was, one
of the first Americans in decades to tour the ancient
city of Babylon and now to be Baptized here. A prayer
The next few hours went quickly, I was enthralled by the
history our guide gave us as we toured the Palace of King
Nebuchadnezzar. Everything here
was new to me. The words from the Old Testament often
spoke of this town and place and of her peoples, I had
read it many times. But for the first time I was placing
the words with the place. Here is where so much history
happened. I was touching seeing and experiencing where
once before I was only reading. As we walked down ancient
roads, along fortress walls and through courtyards and
kingly rooms I listen intently to our guide speak. Here
is where Daniel was thrown in the lions den she would say
and here is where King Nebuchadnezzar defended his
palace and here is where Alexander the Great was. As we
walked my camera constantly clicked. I kept a careful
count though. I must save some for the moment of My
As a tour came to an end we came to a carved statue of a
mighty lion and it was standing upon a man. I ran my
hands across to fully take it in. I had seen this on a
postcard once. A postcard.
We thanked our tour guide and walked to an open market.
There were merchants selling their wears and as we walked
through, there was variety everywhere. I filled my
pockets with gifts for my family but the greatest gift
was from God, a gift He gave to me. A new heart.
I was ushered out as the group had finished and now was
waiting for the group to all get together. It was time.
ALL of us walked from the Bazaar to a dirt path that the
Chaplain had seen from the air. This led to the water. We
started walking. I felt a tremendous feeling as we walked
because I was not alone. Thought I had only just meet
most of these people, it was as if we were family.
We arrived at a road that went to the water and Captain
Miller noticed there was one person missing. The other
soldier who came here to be baptized. We must have left
him back at the Bazaar. He went back to get him at the
Market. At last Capt. Miller returned with him and we
walked to the waters. I would be Baptized in my DCU's and
my new friend in his flight suit. As we approached the
holy waters of the Euphrates, Capt. Miller asked the
Soldiers living there if he had permission to perform a
Baptism. Those waters are not clean they said, but
permission was granted. About 13 of us walked down to the
edge of the water. I emptied my pockets of all my
belongings and I took my shirt off. I then gave my weapon
and camera to my unit chaplain. Please take a picture I
asked. He smiled and would.
That is when Chaplain Miller asked everyone else to walk
along the edge of the water about 70 feet away from the
point we were standing. Something struck me at that time
but I could not understand it. But God's grace would. I
would realize later why this moment was important. I
could only fully comprehend the significance from a view
Chaplain Robert A. Miller began to walk in the waters and
we watched. He instructed us to watch him and when he had
gone out far enough and was ready, he would call us out
to him. He was ready and he waved us on. We began to walk
and I was first to reach the Chaplain. As I walked a fear
of mine was destroyed. Baby fish were swimming all
around. Every step I took, I would watch them scatter. I
was happy to see life in these waters. The echoes of
unclean water faded from my mind.
I was now in the water of the Euphrates river. The Holy
waters. As we reached the minister, I was never
more confident in my life. Then in a way I had not heard
before, the minister spoke to all the witnesses on shore.
The Lord was using this man and I watched and listened to
him. God indeed was great. I was asked to kneel and it
began. The minister was at once speaking to me, speaking
to the witnesses, speaking to himself and speaking to
There was no speech writer in history that could have
spoken more eloquently or more courageously. God had
given me the best, no doubt in my mind. I will never
forget. This was God at work and as the words rained upon
me like flakes of gold, it came time for me to speak. In
all the confidence that a soldier could muster I
proclaimed "Before God, I DO!"
I was Baptized. Baptized in Babylon, Baptized in the Holy
Euphrates river. I stood up a different man, it was my
prayer to be a humble and faithful servant. I watched the
next Baptism. Upon his Baptism we all shook hands and
proceeded to the shore. We were Greeted by friendly
faces, smiles and handshakes. Soldiers who were serving
their country, who served God. As we arrived on shore, I
thought, God did it!! I wondered about Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. Had they too been Baptized in the Holy Euphrates
River. As we walked backed to the helicopter, Chaplain
Miller gave me a set of Dog tags. One he said to wear,
the other to give to another. It read " I will be
strong and courageous, I will not be terrified, or
discouraged, for the Lord my God is with me wherever I
go. Joshua 1:9 (I carry it around my neck). Indeed, I
gave the other away.
As we walked back to the Black-Hawk, Chaplain Miller told
me that within 10 minutes in the helicopter, my clothes
would be completely dry. He was right. We boarded the
Black-Hawks and lifted up. As Colonel Palumbo left he
gave a fly over of where we were baptized giving us all a
birds eye view. That's when I saw the waters. Where we
were baptized there was a perfect triangle in the water.
From the point where we walked from shore to the
chaplain, and then, with the chaplain back to shore. I
saw what the chaplain had done when he asked our group to
walk a little further up from where we entered these
waters. His directions created a perfect triangle in the
water. One that now could be viewed on High!!! Where we
had walked was clearly seen from above. It could be seen
from the heavens too.
I write this as testimony to our great God. Even as I
write this, I can hear mortars close by us. But I also
hear this voice, "With God as my helper, I will not
be afraid. What can man do to me?"
The three pictures attached show before, during and
after. I hope this account will show that God is always
at work. War is Hell but God blesses us with peace in the
midst of it.
Whether at home or thousands of miles away, whether in
peace or in war. Our Lord God is One, our Lord God is
Sovereign, Our God is with us. I turn to him my redeemer.
This story has only begun, I still have a new uniform
waiting for me to wear.
I will wear it in celebration.
Hope and Pray that This Testimony will show how great Our
If you believe this will inspire others please share
In His Name,
Spc. Charles Seelaus
2/228th AVN REGT
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